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  1. Equilibrium in Boltzmannian Statistical Mechanics.Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - 2021 - In Eleanor Knox & Alistair Wilson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.
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  • Information vs. entropy vs. probability.Orly Shenker - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (1):1-25.
    Information, entropy, probability: these three terms are closely interconnected in the prevalent understanding of statistical mechanics, both when this field is taught to students at an introductory level and in advanced research into the field’s foundations. This paper examines the interconnection between these three notions in light of recent research in the foundations of statistical mechanics. It disentangles these concepts and highlights their differences, at the same time explaining why they came to be so closely linked in the literature. In (...)
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  • Calling for explanation: the case of the thermodynamic past state.Dan Baras & Orly Shenker - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-20.
    Philosophers of physics have long debated whether the Past State of low entropy of our universe calls for explanation. What is meant by “calls for explanation”? In this article we analyze this notion, distinguishing between several possible meanings that may be attached to it. Taking the debate around the Past State as a case study, we show how our analysis of what “calling for explanation” might mean can contribute to clarifying the debate and perhaps to settling it, thus demonstrating the (...)
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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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  • On the Boltzmann–Grad Limit for Smooth Hard-Sphere Systems.Massimo Tessarotto, Claudio Cremaschini, Michael Mond, Claudio Asci, Alessandro Soranzo & Gino Tironi - 2018 - Foundations of Physics 48 (3):271-294.
    The problem is posed of the prescription of the so-called Boltzmann–Grad limit operator ) for the N-body system of smooth hard-spheres which undergo unary, binary as well as multiple elastic instantaneous collisions. It is proved, that, despite the non-commutative property of the operator \, the Boltzmann equation can nevertheless be uniquely determined. In particular, consistent with the claim of Uffink and Valente that there is “no time-asymmetric ingredient” in its derivation, the Boltzmann equation is shown to be time-reversal symmetric. The (...)
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  • The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Psychological Arrow of Time.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:000-000.
    Can the second law of thermodynamics explain our mental experience of the direction of time? According to an influential approach, the past hypothesis of universal low entropy also explains how the psychological arrow comes about. We argue that although this approach has many attractive features, it cannot explain the psychological arrow after all. In particular, we show that the past hypothesis is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain the psychological arrow on the basis of current physics. We propose two necessary (...)
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  • Foundation of Statistical Mechanics: The Auxiliary Hypotheses.Orly Shenker - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (12):e12464.
    Statistical mechanics is the name of the ongoing attempt to explain and predict certain phenomena, above all those described by thermodynamics on the basis of the fundamental theories of physics, in particular mechanics, together with certain auxiliary assumptions. In another paper in this journal, Foundations of statistical mechanics: Mechanics by itself, I have shown that some of the thermodynamic regularities, including the probabilistic ones, can be described in terms of mechanics by itself. But in order to prove those regularities, in (...)
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  • On Quantum Non-Unitarity as a Basis for the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Ruth Kastner - unknown
    It was first suggested by Albert that the existence of real, physical non-unitarity at the quantum level would yield a complete explanation for the increase of entropy over time in macroscopic systems. An alternative understanding of the source of non-unitarity is presented herein, in terms of the Transactional Interpretation. The present model provides a specific physical justification for Boltzmann’s Stosszahlansatz, thereby changing its status from an ad hoc postulate to a theoretically grounded result, without requiring any change to the basic (...)
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  • Irreversibility in the Derivation of the Boltzmann Equation.Vincent Ardourel - 2017 - Foundations of Physics 47 (4):471-489.
    Uffink and Valente claim that there is no time-asymmetric ingredient that, added to the Hamiltonian equations of motion, allows to obtain the Boltzmann equation within the Lanford’s derivation. This paper is a discussion and a reply to that analysis. More specifically, I focus on two mathematical tools used in this derivation, viz. the Boltzmann–Grad limit and the incoming configurations. Although none of them are time-asymmetric ingredients, by themselves, I claim that the use of incoming configurations, as taken within the B–G (...)
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