On the paradox of reversible processes in thermodynamics

Synthese 196 (5):1761-1781 (2019)

Authors
Giovanni Valente
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
This paper discusses an argument by Norton to the effect that reversible processes in thermodynamics have paradoxical character, due to the infinite-time limit. For Norton, one can “dispel the fog of paradox” by adopting a distinction between idealizations and approximations, which he himself puts forward. Accordingly, reversible processes ought to be regarded as approximations, rather than idealizations. Here, we critically assess his proposal. In doing so, we offer a resolution of his alleged paradox based on the original work by Tatiana Ehrenfest-Afanassjeva on the foundations of thermodynamics.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1560-3
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References found in this work BETA

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 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.
Infinite Idealizations.John D. Norton - 2012 - Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 17:197-210.
The Concepts of Classical Thermodynamics.H. A. Buchdahl - 1967 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):83-84.

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Citations of this work BETA

Infinite Idealizations in Physics.Elay Shech - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12514.

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Resolution of a Classical Gravitational Second-Law Paradox.John C. Wheeler - 2004 - Foundations of Physics 34 (7):1029-1062.

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