A Philosopher against the Bandwagon: Carnap and the Informationalization of Thermal Physics

Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-24 (2022)
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In this paper I aim to demonstrate that Rudolf Carnap's analysis of the application of information theory within physics, an intellectual-historical precedent of current philosophical criticisms toward this tendency, is justified. First, Carnap and Bar-Hillel (1952) underlined the unjustified ‘semantification’ of Shannon entropy Furthermore, Carnap criticized the ‘physicalization’ of Shannon entropy, but that criticism was not accepted by the physics community of the 1950s (Köhler 2001). Finally, in the posthumously published "Two Essays on Entropy" Carnap (1977) developed a critical assessment of entropy concepts that showed some deep conceptual and interpretative deficiencies in Jaynes (1957a) and Brillouin’s (1956) informational approaches to thermophysics.



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Javier Anta
Universidad de Sevilla

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References found in this work

A Mathematical Theory of Communication.Claude Shannon - 1948 - Bell System Technical Journal 27 (April 1924):379–423.
Physics and Chance.Lawrence Sklar - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):145-149.
Semantic information.Yehoshua Bar-Hillel & Rudolf Carnap - 1953 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 4 (14):147-157.
The two concepts of probability: The problem of probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1945 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 5 (4):513-532.

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