Philosophy of Science 66 (3):106 (1999)

Authors
Chuang Liu
University of Florida
Abstract
Phase transitions are well-understood phenomena in thermodynamics (TD), but it turns out that they are mathematically impossible in finite SM systems. Hence, phase transitions are truly emergent properties. They appear again at the thermodynamic limit (TL), i.e., in infinite systems. However, most, if not all, systems in which they occur are finite, so whence comes the justification for taking TL? The problem is then traced back to the TD characterization of phase transitions, and it turns out that the characterization is the result of serious idealizations which under suitable circumstances approximate actual conditions
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DOI 10.1086/392718
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Critical Phenomena and Breaking Drops: Infinite Idealizations in Physics.Robert Batterman - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (2):225-244.
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.

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