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Orly Shenker [22]Orly R. Shenker [7]
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Orly Shenker
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  1. The Road to Maxwell's Demon: Conceptual Foundation of Statistical Mechanics.Orly Shenker & Meir Hemmo - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
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  2.  19
    The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Psychological Arrow of Time.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Can the second law of thermodynamics explain our mental experience of the direction of time? According to an influential approach, the past hypothesis of universal low entropy also explains how the psychological arrow comes about. We argue that although this approach has many attractive features, it cannot explain the psychological arrow after all. In particular, we show that the past hypothesis is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain the psychological arrow on the basis of current physics. We propose two necessary (...)
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  3.  27
    Foundation of Statistical Mechanics: Mechanics by Itself.Orly Shenker - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (12):e12465.
    Statistical mechanics is a strange theory. Its aims are debated, its methods are contested, its main claims have never been fully proven, and their very truth is challenged, yet at the same time, it enjoys huge empirical success and gives us the feeling that we understand important phenomena. What is this weird theory, exactly? Statistical mechanics is the name of the ongoing attempt to apply mechanics, together with some auxiliary hypotheses, to explain and predict certain phenomena, above all those described (...)
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  4.  18
    Foundation of Statistical Mechanics: The Auxiliary Hypotheses.Orly Shenker - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (12):e12464.
    Statistical mechanics is the name of the ongoing attempt to explain and predict certain phenomena, above all those described by thermodynamics on the basis of the fundamental theories of physics, in particular mechanics, together with certain auxiliary assumptions. In another paper in this journal, Foundations of statistical mechanics: Mechanics by itself, I have shown that some of the thermodynamic regularities, including the probabilistic ones, can be described in terms of mechanics by itself. But in order to prove those regularities, in (...)
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  5. Maxwell's Demon.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (8):389-411.
    This paper proves that Maxwell's Demon is compatible with classical mechanics. In particular it shows how the cycle of operation - including measurement and erasure - can be carried out with no entropy cost, contrary to the Landauer-Bennett thesis (according to which memory erasure costs kln2 of entropy increase per bit). The Landauer-Bennet thesis is thus proven to be mistaken.
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  6.  45
    Probability and Typicality in Deterministic Physics.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):575-586.
    In this paper we analyze the relation between the notion of typicality and the notion of probability and the related question of how the choice of measure in deterministic theories in physics may be justified. Recently it has been argued that although the notion of typicality is not a probabilistic notion, it plays a crucial role in underwriting probabilistic statements in classical statistical mechanics and in Bohm’s theory. We argue that even in theories with deterministic dynamics, like classical statistical mechanics (...)
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  7.  8
    Two Kinds of High-Level Probability.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2019 - The Monist 102 (4):458-477.
    According to influential views the probabilities in classical statistical mechanics and other special sciences are objective chances, although the underlying mechanical theory is deterministic, since the deterministic low level is inadmissible or unavailable from the high level. Here two intuitions pull in opposite directions: One intuition is that if the world is deterministic, probability can only express subjective ignorance. The other intuition is that probability of high-level phenomena, especially thermodynamic ones, is dictated by the state of affairs in the world. (...)
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  8.  58
    Logic and Entropy.Orly R. Shenker - unknown
    A remarkable thesis prevails in the physics of information, saying that the logical properties of operations that are carried out by computers determine their physical properties. More specifically, it says that logically irreversible operations are dissipative by klog2 per bit of lost information. (A function is logically irreversible if its input cannot be recovered from its output. An operation is dissipative if it turns useful forms of energy into useless ones, such as heat energy.) This is Landauer's dissipation thesis, hereafter (...)
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  9.  63
    Flat Physicalism: Some Implications.Orly Shenker - 2017 - Iyyun 66:211-225.
    Flat Physicalism is a theory of through and through type reductive physicalism, understood in light of recent results in the conceptual foundations of physics. In Flat Physicalism, as in physics, so-called "high level" concepts and laws are nothing but partial descriptions of the complete states of affairs of the universe. "Flat physicalism" generalizes this idea, to form a reductive picture in which there is no room for levels, neither explanatory nor ontological. The paper explains how phenomena that seem to be (...)
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  10.  38
    The Emergence of Macroscopic Regularity.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2015 - Mind and Society 14 (2):221-244.
    Special sciences (such as biology, psychology, economics) describe various regularities holding at some high macroscopic level. One of the central questions concerning these macroscopic regularities is how they are related to the laws of physics governing the underlying microscopic physical reality. In this paper we show how a macroscopic regularity may emerge from an underlying micro- scopic structure, and how the appearance of multiple realizability of the special sciences by physics comes about in a reductionist-physicalist framework. On this basis we (...)
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  11. Can We Explain Thermodynamics By Quantum Decoherence?Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (4):555-568.
    Can we explain the laws of thermodynamics, in particular the irreversible increase of entropy, from the underlying quantum mechanical dynamics? Attempts based on classical dynamics have all failed. Albert (1994a,b; 2000) proposed a way to recover thermodynamics on a purely dynamical basis, using the quantum theory of the collapse of the wavefunction of Ghirardi, Rimini and Weber (1986). In this paper we propose an alternative way to explain thermodynamics within no-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics. Our approach relies on the standard (...)
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  12. Quantum Decoherence and the Approach to Equilibrium.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2):330-358.
    We discuss a recent proposal by Albert (1994a; 1994b; 2000, ch. 7) to recover thermodynamics on a purely dynamical basis, using the quantum theory of the collapse of the wave function by Ghirardi, Rimini, and Weber (1986). We propose an alternative way to explain thermodynamics within no-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics. Our approach relies on the standard quantum mechanical models of environmental decoherence of open systems (e.g., Joos and Zeh 1985; Zurek and Paz 1994). This paper presents the two approaches (...)
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  13.  30
    Interventionism in Statistical Mechanics: Some Philosophical Remarks.Orly R. Shenker - unknown
    Interventionism is an approach to the foundations of statistical mechanics which says that to explain and predict some of the thermodynamic phenomena we need to take into account the inescapable effect of environmental perturbations on the system of interest, in addition to the system's internal dynamics. The literature on interventionism suffers from a curious dual attitude: the approach is often mentioned as a possible framework for understanding statistical mechanics, only to be quickly and decidedly dismissed. The present paper is an (...)
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  14. Von Neumann’s Entropy Does Not Correspond to Thermodynamic Entropy.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (2):153-174.
    Von Neumann argued by means of a thought experiment involving measurements of spin observables that the quantum mechanical quantity is conceptually equivalent to thermodynamic entropy. We analyze Von Neumann's thought experiment and show that his argument fails. Over the past few years there has been a dispute in the literature regarding the Von Neumann entropy. It turns out that each contribution to this dispute addressed a different special case. In this paper we generalize the discussion and examine the full matrix (...)
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  15.  6
    The Physics of Implementing Logic: Landauer's Principle and the Multiple-Computations Theorem.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
    This paper makes a novel linkage between the multiple-computations theorem in philosophy of mind and Landauer’s principle in physics. The multiple-computations theorem implies that certain physical systems implement simultaneously more than one computation. Landauer’s principle implies that the physical implementation of “logically irreversible” functions is accompanied by minimal entropy increase. We show that the multiple-computations theorem is incompatible with, or at least challenges, the universal validity of Landauer’s principle. To this end we provide accounts of both ideas in terms of (...)
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  16. Measures Over Initial Conditions.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2012 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem & Meir Hemmo (eds.), Probability in Physics. Springer. pp. 87--98.
    This paper concerns the meaning of the idea of typicality in classical statistical mechanics and how typicality is related to the notion of probability.
     
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  17.  30
    Szilard’s Perpetuum Mobile.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):264-283.
    In a previous article, we have demonstrated by a general phase space argument that a Maxwellian Demon is compatible with statistical mechanics. In this article, we show how this idea can be put to work in the prevalent model of the Demon, namely, a particle-in-a-box, used, for example, by Szilard and Bennett. In the literature, this model is used in order to show that a Demon is incompatible with statistical mechanics, either classical or quantum. However, we show that a detailed (...)
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  18.  83
    Is - Ktr(Ln) the Entropy in Quantum Mechanics.Orly Shenker - 1999 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (1):33-48.
    In quantum mechanics, the expression for entropy is usually taken to be -kTr(ln), where is the density matrix. The convention first appears in Von Neumann's Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. The argument given there to justify this convention is the only one hitherto offered. All the arguments in the field refer to it at one point or another. Here this argument is shown to be invalid. Moreover, it is shown that, if entropy is -kTr(ln), then perpetual motion machines are possible. (...)
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  19.  43
    Maxwell’s Demon and Baron Munchausen: Free Will as a Perpetuum Mobile.Orly R. Shenker - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 30 (3):347-372.
    This paper argues that the idea of a Maxwellian Demon presupposes a notion of non-physical free will. The author has changed her mind in this point later on and now thinks that Mawellian Demons are compatible with mechanics; see her paper on this from 2010 and book from 2012.
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  20.  19
    Quantum Decoherence and the Approach to Equilibrium.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (4):626-648.
    We discuss a recent proposal by Albert to recover thermodynamics on a purely dynamical basis, using the quantum theory of the collapse of the wave function of Ghirardi, Rimini and Weber. We propose an alternative way to explain thermodynamics within no-collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics. Our approach relies on the standard quantum mechanical models of environmental decoherence of open systems, \eg Joos and Zeh and Zurek and Paz. This paper presents the two approaches and discusses their advantages. The problems they (...)
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  21.  29
    Letter to the Editor.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2015 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (1):91-93.
    In our book The Road to Maxwell’s Demon (RMD) (Cambridge University Press 2012) we proposed a new outline for a reductive account of statistical mechanics in which thermodynamics is reduced to classical mechanics. In a recent review Valia Allori says that we misunderstood Boltzmann’s account of statistical mechanics with respect to two issues: (1) the nature of typicality considerations in Boltzmann’s explanation of the Second Law - and here she provides no argument whatsoever; and (2) Boltzmann’s notion of probability. As (...)
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  22.  28
    The Mathematical Representation of the Arrow of Time.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2012 - Iyyun 61:167-192.
    This paper distinguishes between 3 meanings of reversal, all of which are mathematically equivalent in classical mechanics: velocity reversal, retrodiction, and time reversal. It then concludes that in order to have well defined velocities a primitive arrow of time must be included in every time slice. The paper briefly mentions that this arrow cannot come from the Second Law of thermodynamics, but this point is developed in more details elsewhere.
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  23.  68
    Fractal Geometry is Not the Geometry of Nature.Orly R. Shenker - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (6):967-981.
    In recent years the magnificent world of fractals has been revealed. Some of the fractal images resemble natural forms so closely that Benoit Mandelbrot's hypothesis, that the fractal geometry is the geometry of natural objects, has been accepted by scientists and non-scientists alike. The present paper critically examines Mandelbrot's hypothesis. It first analyzes the concept of a fractal. The analysis reveals that fractals are endless geometrical processes, and not geometrical forms. A comparison between fractals and irrational numbers shows that the (...)
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  24.  52
    Prediction and Retrodiction in Boltzmann's Approach to Classical Statistical Mechanics.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - unknown
    In this paper we address two problems in Boltzmann's approach to statistical mechanics. The first is the justification of the probabilistic predictions of the theory. And the second is the inadequacy of the theory's retrodictions.
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  25.  87
    Introduction to the Philosophy of Statistical Mechanics: Can Probability Explain the Arrow of Time in the Second Law of Thermodynamics?Orly Shenker & Meir Hemmo - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (9):640-651.
    The arrow of time is a familiar phenomenon we all know from our experience: we remember the past but not the future and control the future but not the past. However, it takes an effort to keep records of the past, and to affect the future. For example, it would take an immense effort to unmix coffee and milk, although we easily mix them. Such time directed phenomena are sub- sumed under the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law characterizes our (...)
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  26.  22
    A Physicalist Account of Multiple Realizability in the Special Sciences.Meir Hemmo & Orly R. Shenker - manuscript
    Multiple realizability seems to be empirically justified and provides the conceptual basis for the autonomy of the special sciences. But it is mysterious. In this talk I propose a new reductionist approach to the special sciences that removes the mystery: I explain why the special sciences kinds appear to be multiply realized although they are identical with physical kinds and in what sense the special sciences kinds and laws are autonomous although they are physical laws. This approach is based on (...)
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  27.  57
    Science: Freedom and Reason, Comments on Mara Beller's 'Quantum Dialogue'. [REVIEW]Orly R. Shenker - 2000 - Iyyun 50 (1):55-62.
    Mara Beller's book Quantum Dialogue: The Making of a Revolution is a book in history and historiography, which invites a philosophical reading. The book offers a new and quite radical approach in the philosophy of science, which Beller calls dialogism, and it demonstrates the application of this approach by studying cases in the history of physics. This paper reconstructs of some of the book's theses, in a way which emphasises its philosophical insights, and goes on to shows how philosophically far (...)
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  28.  17
    A Reductive Physicalist Account of the Autonomy of Psychology.Orly R. Shenker - unknown
    The appearance of multiple realization of the special sciences kinds by physical kinds can be fully explained within a type-identity reductive physicalist framework, based on recent findings in the foundations of statistical mechanics. This has been shown in Hemmo and Shenker. However, while this account is available for special sciences like biology and thermodynamics, it is unavailable for psychology. Therefore the only coherent physicalist account of psychology is a type-type identity account. The so-called “non reductive” physicalism turns out to be (...)
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  29.  16
    Probability Zero in Bohm’s Theory.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):1148-1158.
    We describe two anomalies in Bohm’s quantum theory that shed light on the notion of probability zero in quantum mechanics. In one anomaly the preferred reference frame may be discovered.
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