Approximations, idealizations, and models in statistical mechanics

Erkenntnis 60 (2):235-263 (2001)
Authors
Chuang Liu
University of Florida
Abstract
In this paper, a criticism of the traditional theories of approximation and idealization is given as a summary of previous works. After identifying the real purpose and measure of idealization in the practice of science, it is argued that the best way to characterize idealization is not to formulate a logical model – something analogous to Hempel's D-N model for explanation – but to study its different guises in the praxis of science. A case study of it is then made in thermostatistical physics. After a brief sketch of the theories for phase transitions and critical phenomena, I examine the various idealizations that go into the making of models at three difference levels. The intended result is to induce a deeper appreciation of the complexity and fruitfulness of idealization in the praxis of model-building, not to give an abstract theory of it.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Ethics   Logic   Ontology
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/B:ERKE.0000012883.07507.32
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 34,999
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Idealizations and Concretizations in Laws and Explanations in Physics.Igor Hanzel - 2008 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 39 (2):273-301.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total downloads
197 ( #27,663 of 2,275,138 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #44,714 of 2,275,138 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature