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Boltzmann's work in statistical physics

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

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  1. Entropy - A Guide for the Perplexed.Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - 2011 - In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 115-142.
    Entropy is ubiquitous in physics, and it plays important roles in numerous other disciplines ranging from logic and statistics to biology and economics. However, a closer look reveals a complicated picture: entropy is defined differently in different contexts, and even within the same domain different notions of entropy are at work. Some of these are defined in terms of probabilities, others are not. The aim of this chapter is to arrive at an understanding of some of the most important notions (...)
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  • Can Science Advance Effectively Through Philosophical Criticism and Reflection?Roberto Torretti - unknown
    Prompted by Hasok Chang’s conception of the history and philosophy of science (HPS) as the continuation of science by other means, I examine the possibility of obtaining scientific knowledge through philosophical criticism and reflection, in the light of four historical cases, concerning (i) the role of absolute space in Newtonian dynamics, (ii) the purported contraction of rods and retardation of clocks in Special Relativity, (iii) the reality of the electromagnetic ether, and (iv) the so-called problem of time’s arrow. In all (...)
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  • Letter to the Editor.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2015 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (1):91-93.
    In our book The Road to Maxwell’s Demon (RMD) (Cambridge University Press 2012) we proposed a new outline for a reductive account of statistical mechanics in which thermodynamics is reduced to classical mechanics. In a recent review Valia Allori says that we misunderstood Boltzmann’s account of statistical mechanics with respect to two issues: (1) the nature of typicality considerations in Boltzmann’s explanation of the Second Law - and here she provides no argument whatsoever; and (2) Boltzmann’s notion of probability. As (...)
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  • Chance, Possibility, and Explanation.Nina Emery - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):95-120.
    I argue against the common and influential view that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic. The problem with this view, I claim, is not that it conflicts with some antecedently plausible metaphysics of chance or that it fails to capture our everyday use of ‘chance’ and related terms, but rather that it is unstable. Any reason for adopting the position that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic is also a reason for adopting (...)
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  • Compendium of the Foundations of Classical Statistical Physics.Jos Uffink - 2005 - In Jeremy Butterfield & John Earman (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Physics. Elsevier.
    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. (...)
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  • Continuity, Causality and Determinism in Mathematical Physics: From the Late 18th Until the Early 20th Century.Marij van Strien - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Ghent
    It is commonly thought that before the introduction of quantum mechanics, determinism was a straightforward consequence of the laws of mechanics. However, around the nineteenth century, many physicists, for various reasons, did not regard determinism as a provable feature of physics. This is not to say that physicists in this period were not committed to determinism; there were some physicists who argued for fundamental indeterminism, but most were committed to determinism in some sense. However, for them, determinism was often not (...)
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  • On Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics.Joshua M. Luczak - unknown
    This thesis makes the issue of reconciling the existence of thermodynamically irreversible processes with underlying reversible dynamics clear, so as to help explain what philosophers mean when they say that an aim of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics is to underpin aspects of thermodynamics. Many of the leading attempts to reconcile the existence of thermodynamically irreversible processes with underlying reversible dynamics proceed by way of discussions that attempt to underpin the following qualitative facts: that isolated macroscopic systems that begin away from equilibrium (...)
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  • Probability as Typicality.Sérgio B. Volchan - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (4):801-814.
  • On the Mechanical Foundations of Thermodynamics: The Generalized Helmholtz Theorem.Michele Campisi - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (2):275-290.
  • On the Mechanical Foundations of Thermodynamics: The Generalized Helmholtz Theorem.Michele Campisi - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (2):275-290.
  • The Problem of Time’s Arrow Historico-Critically Reexamined.Roberto Torretti - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (4):732-756.
    Responding to Hasok Chang’s vision of the history and philosophy of science as the continuation of science by other means, I illustrate the methods of HPS and their utility through a historico-critical examination of the problem of “time’s arrow‘, that is to say, the problem posed by the claim by Boltzmann and others that the temporal asymmetry of many physical processes and indeed the very possibility of identifying each of the two directions we distinguish in time must have a ground (...)
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  • Modelling Inequality.Karim P. Y. Thebault, Seamus Bradley & Alexander Reutlinger - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):691-718.
    Econophysics is a new and exciting cross-disciplinary research field that applies models and modelling techniques from statistical physics to economic systems. It is not, however, without its critics: prominent figures in more mainstream economic theory have criticized some elements of the methodology of econophysics. One of the main lines of criticism concerns the nature of the modelling assumptions and idealizations involved, and a particular target are ‘kinetic exchange’ approaches used to model the emergence of inequality within the distribution of individual (...)
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  • Models on the Move: Migration and Imperialism.Seamus Bradley & Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 77:81-92.
    We introduce ‘model migration’ as a species of cross-disciplinary knowledge transfer whereby the representational function of a model is radically changed to allow application to a new disciplinary context. Controversies and confusions that often derive from this phenomenon will be illustrated in the context of econophysics and phylogeographic linguistics. Migration can be usefully contrasted with concept of ‘imperialism’, that has been influentially discussed in the context of geographical economics. In particular, imperialism, unlike migration, relies upon extension of the original model (...)
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  • Constructivism and Realism in Boltzmann’s Thermodynamics’ Atomism.Luiz Pinguelli Rosa, Elaine Andrade, Paulo Picciani & Jean Faber - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (11):1270-1293.
    Ludwig Boltzmann is one of the foremost responsible for the development of modern atomism in thermodynamics. His proposition was revolutionary not only because it brought a new vision for Thermodynamics, merging a statistical approach with Newtonian physics, but also because he produced an entirely new perspective on the way of thinking about and describing physical phenomena. Boltzmann dared to flirt with constructivism and realism simultaneously, by hypothesizing the reality of atoms and claiming an inherent probabilistic nature related to many particles (...)
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  • Nagel's Analysis of Reduction: Comments in Defense as Well as Critique.Paul Needham - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (2):163-170.
    Despite all the criticism showered on Nagel’s classic account of reduction, it meets a fundamental desideratum in an analysis of reduction that is difficult to question, namely of providing for a proper identification of the reducing theory. This is not clearly accommodated in radically different accounts. However, the same feature leads me to question Nagel’s claim that the reducing theory can be separated from the putative bridge laws, and thus to question his notion of heterogeneous reduction. A further corollary to (...)
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  • Reduction and Emergence: A Critique of Kim.Paul Needham - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (1):93-116.
    In a recent critique of the doctrine of emergentism championed by its classic advocates up to C. D. Broad, Jaegwon Kim (Philosophical Studies 63:31–47, 1999) challenges their view about its applicability to the sciences and proposes a new account of how the opposing notion of reduction should be understood. Kim is critical of the classic conception advanced by Nagel and uses his new account in his criticism of emergentism. I question his claims about the successful reduction achieved in the sciences (...)
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  • The Emergence of Macroscopic Regularity.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2015 - Mind and Society 14 (2):221-244.
    Special sciences (such as biology, psychology, economics) describe various regularities holding at some high macroscopic level. One of the central questions concerning these macroscopic regularities is how they are related to the laws of physics governing the underlying microscopic physical reality. In this paper we show how a macroscopic regularity may emerge from an underlying micro- scopic structure, and how the appearance of multiple realizability of the special sciences by physics comes about in a reductionist-physicalist framework. On this basis we (...)
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  • Typicality, Irreversibility and the Status of Macroscopic Laws.Dustin Lazarovici & Paula Reichert - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (4):689-716.
    We discuss Boltzmann’s probabilistic explanation of the second law of thermodynamics providing a comprehensive presentation of what is called today the typicality account. Countering its misconception as an alternative explanation, we examine the relation between Boltzmann’s H-theorem and the general typicality argument demonstrating the conceptual continuity between the two. We then discuss the philosophical dimensions of the concept of typicality and its relevance for scientific reasoning in general, in particular for understanding the reduction of macroscopic laws to microscopic laws. Finally, (...)
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  • Boltzmann and the Heuristics of Representation in Statistical Mechanics.Cássio C. Laranjeiras, Jojomar Lucena & José R. N. Chiappin - 2020 - Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science 8:72.
    Boltzmann’s work in physics has been studied almost always opposing a strictly mechanical approach of the 2nd law of thermodynamics – attributed to his first works in kinetic – molecular gas theory – to a probabilistic approach, built and developed in his later works. The analysis of the use of these different approaches covers a spectrum of positions ranging from the recognition of an intrinsic incoherence to Boltzmann’s thinking, go through a radical change in the development of his work, until (...)
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  • Boltzmann's H-Theorem, its Discontents, and the Birth of Statistical Mechanics.Harvey R. Brown, Wayne Myrvold & Jos Uffink - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (2):174-191.
  • Insuperable Difficulties: Einstein's Statistical Road to Molecular Physics.Jos Uffink - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (1):36-70.
  • The Ergodic Hierarchy.Roman Frigg & Joseph Berkovitz - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The so-called ergodic hierarchy (EH) is a central part of ergodic theory. It is a hierarchy of properties that dynamical systems can possess. Its five levels are egrodicity, weak mixing, strong mixing, Kolomogorov, and Bernoulli. Although EH is a mathematical theory, its concepts have been widely used in the foundations of statistical physics, accounts of randomness, and discussions about the nature of chaos. We introduce EH and discuss how its applications in these fields.
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  • An Empirical Approach to Symmetry and Probability.Jill North - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (1):27-40.
    We often use symmetries to infer outcomes’ probabilities, as when we infer that each side of a fair coin is equally likely to come up on a given toss. Why are these inferences successful? I argue against answering this with an a priori indifference principle. Reasons to reject that principle are familiar, yet instructive. They point to a new, empirical explanation for the success of our probabilistic predictions. This has implications for indifference reasoning in general. I argue that a priori (...)
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  • Curious and Sublime: The Connection Between Uncertainty and Probability in Physics.Harvey R. Brown - unknown
    From its first significant appearance in physics, the notion of probability has been linked in the minds of physicists with the notion of uncertainty. But the link may prove to be tenuous, if quantum mechanics, construed in terms of the Everett interpretation, is anything to go by.
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  • Jordan's Derivation of Blackbody Fluctuations.Guido Bacciagaluppi, Elise Crull & Owen J. E. Maroney - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 60:23-34.
    The celebrated Dreimännerarbeit by Born, Heisenberg and Jordan contains a matrix-mechanical derivation by Jordan of Planck’s formula for blackbody fluctuations. Jordan appears to have considered this to be one of his finest contributions to quantum theory, but the status of his derivation is puzzling. In our Dreimenschenarbeit, we show how to understand what Jordan was doing in the double context of a Boltzmannian approach to statistical mechanics and of the early ‘statistical interpretation’ of matrix mechanics.
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  • Probability as Typicality.Sérgio B. Volchan - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (4):801-814.
  • The Nineteenth Century Conflict Between Mechanism and Irreversibility.Marij van Strien - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):191-205.
    The reversibility problem (better known as the reversibility objection) is usually taken to be an internal problem in the kinetic theory of gases, namely the problem of how to account for the second law of thermodynamics within this theory. Historically, it is seen as an objection that was raised against Boltzmann's kinetic theory of gases, which led Boltzmann to a statistical approach to the kinetic theory, culminating in the development of statistical mechanics. In this paper, I show that in the (...)
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  • The Problem of Time's Arrow Historico-Critically Reexamined.Roberto Torretti - 2007 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (4):732-756.