David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (1):83-119 (2002)
Since the late nineteenth century, physics has been puzzled by the time-asymmetry of thermodynamic phenomena in the light of the apparent T-symmetry of the underlying laws of mechanics. However, a compelling solution to this puzzle has proved elusive. In part, I argue, this can be attributed to a failure to distinguish two conceptions of the problem. According to one, the main focus of our attention is a time-asymmetric lawlike generalisation. According to the other, it is a particular fact about the early universe. This paper aims (i) to distinguish these two different conceptions of the time-asymmetric explanandum in thermodynamics; (ii) to argue in favour of the latter; and (iii) to show that whichever we choose, our rational expectations about the thermodynamic behaviour of the future must depend on what we know about the past: contrary to the common view, statistical arguments alone do not give us good reason to expect that entropy will always continue to increase.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
John Earman (2006). The “Past Hypothesis”: Not Even False. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 37 (3):399-430.
Guido Bacciagaluppi (2007). Probability, Arrow of Time and Decoherence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 38 (2):439-456.
Jill North (2010). An Empirical Approach to Symmetry and Probability. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 41 (1):27-40.
Roberto Torretti (2007). The Problem of Time's Arrow Historico-Critically Reexamined. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 38 (4):732-756.
Similar books and articles
Mario Castagnino, Manuel Gadella & Olimpia Lombardi (2005). Time's Arrow and Irreversibility in Time-Asymmetric Quantum Mechanics. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (3):223 – 243.
Milan Cirkovic (2003). The Thermodynamical Arrow of Time: Reinterpreting the Boltzmann–Schuetz Argument. [REVIEW] Foundations of Physics 33 (3):467-490.
Bernard G. Prusak (2007). The Ticking Time Bomb Case for Torture. Social Philosophy Today 23:201-209.
Huw Price (1997). Time Symmetry in Microphysics. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):244.
Étienne Klein (2007). About the Confusion Between the Course of Time and the Arrow of Time. Foundations of Science 12 (3):203-221.
Jill North (2002). What is the Problem About the Time-Asymmetry of Thermodynamics?--A Reply to Price. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (1):121-136.
Jill North (2011). Time in Thermodynamics. In Criag Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oxford 312--350.
Craig Callender, Thermodynamic Asymmetry in Time. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads32 ( #85,358 of 1,699,833 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #77,273 of 1,699,833 )
How can I increase my downloads?