Authors
Robert W. Batterman
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics are related to one another through the so-called "thermodynamic limit'' in which, roughly speaking the number of particles becomes infinite. At critical points (places of physical discontinuity) this limit fails to be regular. As a result, the "reduction'' of Thermodynamics to Statistical Mechanics fails to hold at such critical phases. This fact is key to understanding an argument due to Craig Callender to the effect that the thermodynamic limit leads to mistakes in Statistical Mechanics. I discuss this argument and argue that the conclusion is misguided. In addition, I discuss an analogous example where a genuine physical discontinuity---the breaking of drops---requires the use of infinite idealizations.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2005
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2004.05.004
Options
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: 51,756
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Taking Thermodynamics Too Seriously.Craig Callender - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (4):539-553.
Two Concepts of Intertheoretic Reduction.Thomas Nickles - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (April):181-201.
Types of Inter-Theoretic Reduction.Lawrence Sklar - 1967 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 18 (2):109-124.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Minimal Model Explanations.Robert W. Batterman & Collin C. Rice - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (3):349-376.
How Scientific Models Can Explain.Alisa Bokulich - 2011 - Synthese 180 (1):33 - 45.
On the Explanatory Role of Mathematics in Empirical Science.Robert Batterman - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):1-25.

View all 67 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
165 ( #52,711 of 2,333,947 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #48,753 of 2,333,947 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes