Irreversibility and statistical mechanics: A new approach?

Philosophy of Science 57 (3):395-419 (1990)


I discuss a broad critique of the classical approach to the foundations of statistical mechanics (SM) offered by N. S. Krylov. He claims that the classical approach is in principle incapable of providing the foundations for interpreting the "laws" of statistical physics. Most intriguing are his arguments against adopting a de facto attitude towards the problem of irreversibility. I argue that the best way to understand his critique is as setting the stage for a positive theory which treats SM as a theory in its own right, involving a completely different conception of a system's state. As the orthodox approach treats SM as an extension of the classical or quantum theories (one which deals with large systems), Krylov is advocating a major break with the traditional view of statistical physics

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Robert W. Batterman
University of Pittsburgh

References found in this work

The Principles of Statistical Mechanics.Richard C. Tolman - 1939 - Philosophy of Science 6 (3):381-381.
Is Probability a Dispositional Property?Lawrence Sklar - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (11):355-366.

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Citations of this work

Compendium of the Foundations of Classical Statistical Physics.Jos Uffink - 2005 - In Jeremy Butterfield & John Earman (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Physics. Elsevier.
Nonreductive Physics.Mariam Thalos - 2006 - Synthese 149 (1):133-178.

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