Authors
David Wallace
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
I explore the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics by treating the former as a control theory: a theory of which transitions between states can be induced on a system by means of operations from a fixed list. I recover the results of standard thermodynamics in this framework on the assumption that the available operations do not include measurements which affect subsequent choices of operations. I then relax this assumption and use the framework to consider the vexed questions of Maxwell's demon and Landauer's principle. Throughout I assume rather than prove the basic irreversibility features of statistical mechanics, taking care to distinguish them from the conceptually distinct assumptions of thermodynamics proper.
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References found in this work BETA

Notes on Landauer's Principle, Reversible Computation, and Maxwell's Demon.Charles H. Bennett - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 34 (3):501-510.
The (Absence of a) Relationship Between Thermodynamic and Logical Reversibility.O. J. E. Maroney - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (2):355-374.
Exorcist XIV: The Wrath of Maxwell’s Demon. Part II. From Szilard to Landauer and Beyond.John Earman & John D. Norton - 1999 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 30 (1):1-40.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Case for Black Hole Thermodynamics Part I: Phenomenological Thermodynamics.David Wallace - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:52-67.
Quantum Computing.Amit Hagar & Michael Cuffaro - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Problem of Equilibrium Processes in Thermodynamics.David A. Lavis - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 62:136-144.
Information Causality, the Tsirelson Bound, and the ‘Being-Thus’ of Things.Michael E. Cuffaro - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 72:266-277.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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