Singapore: World Scientific (2020)

Valia Allori
Northern Illinois University
The book explores several open questions in the philosophy of statistical mechanics. Each chapter is written by a leading expert in the field. Here is a list of some questions that are addressed in the book: 1) Boltzmann showed how the phenomenological gas laws of thermodynamics can be derived from statistical mechanics. Since classical mechanics is a deterministic theory there are no probabilities in it. Since statistical mechanics is based on classical mechanics, all the probabilities statistical mechanics talks about cannot be fundamental. However, if probabilities are epistemic, how can they play a role, as they seem to do, in laws, explanation, and prediction? 2) Many physicists use the notion of typicality instead of the one of probability when discussing statistical mechanics. What is the connection between the two notions? 3) How can one extend Boltzmann’s analysis to the quantum domain, where some theories are indeterministic? 4) Boltzmann’s explanation fundamentally involves cosmology: for the explanation to go through the Big Bang needs to have had extremely low entropy. Does the fact that the Big Bang was a low entropy state imply that it was, in some sense, “highly improbable” and requires an explanation? 5) What exactly is the connection between statistical and classical mechanics? Is the one of theory reduction or there is no such thing? 6) Statistical mechanics has two main formulation: one due to Botzmann and the other due to Gibbs. What is the connection between the two formulations
Keywords statistical mechanics  typicality  probability  past hypothesis  Boltzmann vs Gibbs
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2020
Buy this book $136.08 new (19% off)   $161.10 used (4% off)   Amazon page
ISBN(s) 981121171X   9789811211713
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,066
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
Chapters BETA

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Thermodynamic Asymmetry in Time.Craig Callender - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Historical and Conceptual Foundations of Information Physics.Anta Javier - 2021 - Dissertation, Universitat de Barcelona

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Laws and Statistical Mechanics.Eric Winsberg - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):707-718.
Scientific Laws and Scientific Explanations: A Differentiated Typology.Igor Hanzel - 2008 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 15 (3):323-344.
Determinism and Chance.Barry Loewer - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (4):609-620.
Statistical Mechanical Imperialism.Brad Weslake - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 241-257.
Letter to the Editor.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2015 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (1):91-93.
Quantum Statistical Determinism.Eftichios Bitsakis - 1988 - Foundations of Physics 18 (3):331-355.
Comments on Forge.Adrian Heathcote - 1996 - In P. Riggs (ed.), Natural Kinds, Laws of Nature and Scientific Methodology. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 229--233.
Is Indeterminism Supported by Quantum Theory?Rollin W. Workman - 1959 - Philosophy of Science 26 (3):251-259.
Are Statistical Explanations Possible?Lorenz Krüger - 1976 - Philosophy of Science 43 (1):129-146.


Added to PP index

Total views
12 ( #805,890 of 2,498,770 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #139,668 of 2,498,770 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes