Theory reduction: The case of the kinetic theory of gases
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
It is often said that the kinetic theory of gases is one of the best examples of the reduction of one theory into another; that is, the classical theory of thermodynamics [or to be more exact, a significant portion of it] is alleged to be reduced to the kinetic theory, which is based on the Newtonian mechanics and the atomistic view of the matter. But what is the nature of this alleged "reduction"? If you want to know the right answer to this, the best way is to examine the historical development of the kinetic theory. The kinetic theory is a theoretical attempt to explain the nature of gases and heat processes, in general, in terms of the movements of numerous molecules constituting a gas. Its major advocates were James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79) and Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1906); in the course of their work on the kinetic theory, they had to struggle with several conceptual problems, as well as with many empirical problems, and these conceptual problems have something to do with our question of theory reduction. And you will see that these problems center on the concept of probability. Drawing on Dr. Shin'ichiro Tomonaga's examination, I will argue that their case was not a reduction to, but an extension of, the Newtonian mechanics.
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Kenneth F. Schaffner (1967). Approaches to Reduction. Philosophy of Science 34 (2):137-147.
Sang Wook Yi (2003). Reduction of Thermodynamics: A Few Problems. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1028-1038.
Peter Achinstein (1987). Scientific Discovery and Maxwell's Kinetic Theory. Philosophy of Science 54 (3):409-434.
John Nyhof (1988). Philosophical Objections to the Kinetic Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39 (1):81-109.
Henk W. Regt (2005). Scientific Realism in Action: Molecular Models and Boltzmann's Bildtheorie. Erkenntnis 63 (2):205 - 230.
Theo A. F. Kuipers (1982). The Reduction of Phenomenological to Kinetic Thermostatics. Philosophy of Science 49 (1):107-119.
Henk W. De Regt (1996). Philosophy and the Kinetic Theory of Gases. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):31 - 62.
Henk W. de Regt (1996). Philosophy and the Kinetic Theory of Gases. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):31-62.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads6 ( #234,677 of 1,679,360 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?