|Abstract||Roughly speaking, classical statistical physics is the branch of theoretical physics that aims to account for the thermal behaviour of macroscopic bodies in terms of a classical mechanical model of their microscopic constituents, with the help of probabilistic assumptions. In the last century and a half, a fair number of approaches have been developed to meet this aim. This study of their foundations assesses their coherence and analyzes the motivations for their basic assumptions, and the interpretations of their central concepts. The most outstanding foundational problems are the explanation of time-asymmetry in thermal behaviour, the relative autonomy of thermal phenomena from their microscopic underpinning, and the meaning of probability. A more or less historic survey is given of the work of Maxwell, Boltzmann and Gibbs in statistical physics, and the problems and objections to which their work gave rise. Next, we review some modern approaches to (i) equilibrium statistical mechanics, such as ergodic theory and the theory of the thermodynamic limit; and to (ii) non-equilibrium statistical mechanics as provided by Lanford's work on the Boltzmann equation, the so-called Bogolyubov-Born-Green-Kirkwood-Yvon approach, and stochastic approaches such as `coarse-graining' and the `open systems' approach. In all cases, we focus on the subtle interplay between probabilistic assumptions, dynamical assumptions, initial conditions and other ingredients used in these approaches.|
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
J. T. Ismael (2009). Probability in Deterministic Physics. Journal of Philosophy 106 (2):89-108.
Robert W. Batterman (1990). Irreversibility and Statistical Mechanics: A New Approach? Philosophy of Science 57 (3):395-419.
David Wallace, Implications of Quantum Theory in the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics [2001 Online-Only].
Stephen Leeds (2003). Foundations of Statistical Mechanics—Two Approaches. Philosophy of Science 70 (1):126-144.
Janneke van Lith (2001). Ergodic Theory, Interpretations of Probability and the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (4):581--94.
Gerhard Ernst & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.) (2010). Time, Chance and Reduction: Philosophical Aspects of Statistical Mechanics. Cambridge University Press.
Eric Winsberg (2008). Laws, Chances, and Statistical Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (4):872.
Lawrence Sklar (1993). Physics and Chance: Philosophical Issues in the Foundations of Statistical Mechanics. Cambridge University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads65 ( #13,961 of 549,066 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #63,185 of 549,066 )
How can I increase my downloads?