Ludwig Boltzmann's Mathematical Argument for Atomism

In recent years, the philosophy of Ludwig Boltzmann has become a point of interest within the field of history of philosophy of science. Attention has centred around Boltzmann’s philosophical considerations connected to his defense of atomism in physics. In analysing these considerations, several scholars have attributed a pragmatist stance to Boltzmann. In this paper, I want to argue that, whatever pragmatist traits may be found in Boltzmann’s diverse writings, his defense of atomism in physics can not be analysed this way. In other words, I wish to show that he did not defend atomism as “preferable for its practical virtues”, as has been alleged.1 On the contrary, Boltzmann considered the atomist picture to be indispensable — more precisely, an indispensable prerequisite for making the application of continuous differential equations an understandable enterprise
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DOI 10.1007/978-94-017-1785-4_15
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Lukas M. Verburgt (2016). The Place of Probability in Hilbert’s Axiomatization of Physics, Ca. 1900–1928. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 53:28-44.
Torsten Wilholt (2008). When Realism Made a Difference: The Constitution of Matter and its Conceptual Enigmas in Late 19th Century Physics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (1):1-16.

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Ulrich Hoyer (1984). Ludwig Boltzmann Und Das Grundlagenproblem der Quantentheorie. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 15 (2):201-210.

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