Entropy in Relation to Incomplete Knowledge

Cambridge University Press (1985)
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Abstract

This book is about an important issue which has arisen within two of the branches of physical science - namely thermodynamics and statistical mechanics - where the notion of entropy plays an essential role. A number of scientists and information theorists have maintained that entropy is a subjective concept and is a measure of human ignorance. Such a view, if it is valid, would create some profound philosophical problems and would tend to undermine the objectivity of the scientific enterprise. Whilst the present volume is not a treatise on thermodynamics or statistical mechanics, all relevant steps in the building up of these disciplines are carefully scrutinised and it is concluded that the charge of subjectivity cannot be upheld. The widely adopted view that entropy is a measure of disorder, or of lack of information, is shown to be ambiguous, although it may be of use in certain contexts.

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