Infinite Idealizations

In my talk at the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Vienna Circle Institute, I sketched results of recent work on approximation and idealization (Norton, forthcoming). A goal of that work was to clarify the widespread use of infinite limits in statistical physics to introduce what are informally described as idealizations. This literature examines the behavior of systems composed of very many—but always finitely many—components. Certain properties of these systems settle down to stable values if the number of components is very large, as is the case with ordinary thermal systems. These stable values can be approximated quite closely by taking a limit of the property. Each of these properties is a function of the number of components and one merely takes the limit of these functions. The key point is that the limit of these functions can be taken without considering a system that consists of an actual infinity of components
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,095
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Robert Batterman (2005). Critical Phenomena and Breaking Drops: Infinite Idealizations in Physics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 36 (2):225-244.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

13 ( #127,403 of 1,102,039 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #306,606 of 1,102,039 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.