Entropy - A Guide for the Perplexed

In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 115-142 (2011)
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Entropy is ubiquitous in physics, and it plays important roles in numerous other disciplines ranging from logic and statistics to biology and economics. However, a closer look reveals a complicated picture: entropy is defined differently in different contexts, and even within the same domain different notions of entropy are at work. Some of these are defined in terms of probabilities, others are not. The aim of this chapter is to arrive at an understanding of some of the most important notions of entropy and to clarify the relations between them, After setting the stage by introducing the thermodynamic entropy, we discuss notions of entropy in information theory, statistical mechanics, dynamical systems theory and fractal geometry


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Author Profiles

Charlotte Sophie Werndl
London School of Economics
Roman Frigg
London School of Economics

Citations of this work

Thermodynamic asymmetry in time.Craig Callender - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Are deterministic descriptions and indeterministic descriptions observationally equivalent?Charlotte Werndl - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (3):232-242.
In Search of the Holy Grail: How to Reduce the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Katie Robertson - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (4):987-1020.
State of the field: Measuring information and confirmation.Vincenzo Crupi & Katya Tentori - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:81-90.
Reconceptualising equilibrium in Boltzmannian statistical mechanics and characterising its existence.Charlotte Werndl & Roman Frigg - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 49:19-31.

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Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Scientific reasoning: the Bayesian approach.Peter Urbach & Colin Howson - 1993 - Chicago: Open Court. Edited by Peter Urbach.
The direction of time.Hans Reichenbach - 1956 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Maria Reichenbach.

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