Time and Chance

Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press (2000)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This book is an attempt to get to the bottom of an acute and perennial tension between our best scientific pictures of the fundamental physical structure of the world and our everyday empirical experience of it. The trouble is about the direction of time. The situation (very briefly) is that it is a consequence of almost every one of those fundamental scientific pictures--and that it is at the same time radically at odds with our common sense--that whatever can happen can just as naturally happen backwards. Albert provides an unprecedentedly clear, lively, and systematic new account--in the context of a Newtonian-Mechanical picture of the world--of the ultimate origins of the statistical regularities we see around us, of the temporal irreversibility of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, of the asymmetries in our epistemic access to the past and the future, and of our conviction that by acting now we can affect the future but not the past. Then, in the final section of the book, he generalizes the Newtonian picture to the quantum-mechanical case and (most interestingly) suggests a very deep potential connection between the problem of the direction of time and the quantum-mechanical measurement problem. The book aims to be both an original contribution to the present scientific and philosophical understanding of these matters at the most advanced level, and something in the nature of an elementary textbook on the subject accessible to interested high-school students. Table of Contents: Preface 1. Time-Reversal Invariance 2. Thermodynamics 3. Statistical Mechanics 4. The Reversibility Objections and the Past-Hypothesis 5. The Scope of Thermodynamics 6. The Asymmetries of Knowledge and Intervention 7. Quantum Mechanics Appendix: Gedankenexperiments with Heat Engines Index Reviews of this book: The foundations of statistical mechanisms are often presented in physics textbooks in a rather obscure and confused way. By challenging common ways of thinking about this subject, Time and Chance can do quite a lot to improve this situation. --Jean Bricmont, Science Albert is perfecting a style of foundational analysis that is uniquely his own...It has a surgical precision...and it is ruthless with pretensions. The foundations of thermodynamics is a topic that has accumulated a good deal of dead wood; this is a fire that will burn and burn. --Simon W. Saunders, Oxford University As usual with Albert's work, the exposition is brisk and to the point, and exceptionally clear...The book will be an extremely valuable contribution to the literature on the subject of philosophical issues in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, a literature which has been thin on the ground but is now growing as it deserves to. --Lawrence Sklar, University of Michigan.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,323

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Is the Past a Matter of Chance?Antony Eagle - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. U.K: Oxford University Press. pp. 126-158.
Deterministic Chance?Jonathan Schaffer - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):113-140.
Time Travel in Indeterministic Worlds.David Horacek - 2005 - The Monist 88 (3):423-436.
Time and chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Time, Chance, and the Necessity of Everything.Alexander Bird - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press.
Chance in the Modern Synthesis.Anya Plutynski, Kenneth Blake Vernon, Lucas John Matthews & Dan Molter - 2016 - In Grant Ramsey & Charles H. Pence (eds.), Chance in Evolution. Chicago: University of Chicago. pp. 76-102.
Ifs. Conditionals, Belief, Decision, Chance, and Time.Donald Nute - 1984 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 46 (1):181-182.
Chance and Necessity.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):294-308.
Imprecise Probability and Chance.Anthony F. Peressini - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):561-586.
Principled chances.Jonathan Schaffer - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (1):27-41.
Three proposals regarding a theory of chance.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2005 - Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):281–307.

Analytics

Added to PP
2023-06-09

Downloads
33 (#487,710)

6 months
25 (#116,053)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

David Albert
Columbia University

Citations of this work

Realism about the wave function.Eddy Keming Chen - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (7):e12611.
Two accounts of laws and time.Barry Loewer - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):115-137.
Against Counterfactual Miracles.Cian Dorr - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (2):241-286.
Making best systems best for us.Christian Loew & Siegfried Jaag - 2018 - Synthese 197 (6):2525-2550.

View all 194 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references