How Typical! An Epistemological Analysis of Typicality in Statistical Mechanics

Abstract

The recent use of typicality in statistical mechanics for foundational purposes has stirred an important debate involving both philosophers and physicists. While this debate customarily focuses on technical issues, in this paper I try to approach the problem from an epistemological angle. The discussion is driven by two questions: (1) What does typicality add to the concept of measure? (2) What kind of explanation, if any, does typicality yield? By distinguishing the notions of `typicality-as-vast-majority' and `typicality-as-best-exemplar', I argue that the former goes beyond the concept of measure. Furthermore, I also argue that typicality aims at providing us with a form of causal explanation of equilibrium.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Justifying typicality measures of Boltzmannian statistical mechanics and dynamical systems.Charlotte Werndl - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):470-479.
Typicality and the role of the Lebesgue measure in statistical mechanics.Itamar Pitowsky - 2012 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem & Meir Hemmo (eds.), Probability in Physics. Springer. pp. 41--58.
Revising Statistical Mechanics: Probability, Typicality and Closure Time.Alon Drory - 2012 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem & Meir Hemmo (eds.), Probability in Physics. Springer. pp. 115--134.
The approach towards equilibrium in Lanford’s theorem.Giovanni Valente - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (3):309-335.
Physics and Chance.Lawrence Sklar - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):145-149.
Graded Causation and Defaults.Joseph Y. Halpern & Christopher Hitchcock - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):413-457.

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-08-18

Downloads
493 (#38,449)

6 months
138 (#25,964)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Massimiliano Badino
Università degli Studi di Verona

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 36 (3):602-605.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.

View all 24 references / Add more references