Ambiguities in order-theoretic formulations of thermodynamics

Abstract

Since the 1909 work of Carathéodory, formulations of thermodynamics have gained ground which highlight the role of the the binary relation of adiabatic accessibility between equilibrium states. A feature of Carathéodory's system is that the version therein of the second law contains an ambiguity about the nature of irreversible adiabatic processes, making it weaker than the traditional Kelvin-Planck statement of the law. This paper attempts first to clarify the nature of this ambiguity, by defining the arrow of time in thermodynamics by way of the Equilibrium Principle. It then argues that the ambiguity reappears in the important 1999 axiomatisation due to Lieb and Yngvason.

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Author Profiles

Harvey Brown
Oxford University
Giovanni Valente
Politecnico di Milano

Citations of this work

The impossible process: Thermodynamic reversibility.John D. Norton - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 55:43-61.

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References found in this work

The Road to Maxwell’s Demon.Orly Shenker & Meir Hemmo - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
Bluff Your Way in the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Jos Uffink - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (3):305-394.
The Origins of Time-Asymmetry in Thermodynamics: The Minus First Law.Harvey R. Brown & Jos Uffink - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (4):525-538.
Can the second law be compatible with time reversal invariant dynamics?Leah Henderson - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 47:90-98.
Do Brains Have an Arrow of Time?Ryan Smith - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (2):265-275.

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