physics and chance philosophical issues in the foundations of statistical mechanics

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Physics And Chance

Author : Lawrence Sklar
ISBN : 0521558816
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 36. 38 MB
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Statistical mechanics is one of the crucial fundamental theories of physics, and in his new book Lawrence Sklar, one of the pre-eminent philosophers of physics, offers a comprehensive, non-technical introduction to that theory and to attempts to understand its foundational elements. Among the topics treated in detail are: probability and statistical explanation, the basic issues in both equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, the role of cosmology, the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics, and the alleged foundation of the very notion of time asymmetry in the entropic asymmetry of systems in time. The book emphasises the interaction of scientific and philosophical modes of reasoning, and in this way will interest all philosophers of science as well as those in physics and chemistry concerned with philosophical questions. The book could also be read by an informed general reader interested in the foundations of modern science.

Physics And Chance

Author : Lawrence Sklar
ISBN : UCSD:31822016959496
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 87. 58 MB
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Lawrence Sklar offers a comprehensive, non-technical introduction to statistical mechanics and attempts to understand its foundational elements.

Philosophy And The Foundations Of Dynamics

Author : Lawrence Sklar
ISBN : 9781139619219
Genre : Science
File Size : 29. 7 MB
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Although now replaced by more modern theories, classical mechanics remains a core foundational element of physical theory. From its inception, the theory of dynamics has been riddled with conceptual issues and differing philosophical interpretations and throughout its long historical development, it has shown subtle conceptual refinement. The interpretive program for the theory has also shown deep evolutionary change over time. Lawrence Sklar discusses crucial issues in the central theory from which contemporary foundational theories are derived and shows how some core issues (the nature of force, the place of absolute reference frames) have nevertheless remained deep puzzles despite the increasingly sophisticated understanding of the theory which has been acquired over time. His book will be of great interest to philosophers of science, philosophers in general and physicists concerned with foundational interpretive issues in their field.

The Road To Maxwell S Demon

Author : Meir Hemmo
ISBN : 9781107019683
Genre : Science
File Size : 26. 6 MB
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A philosophical perspective to statistical mechanics for graduate students and researchers in the foundations and philosophy of physics.

The Concept Of Probability In Statistical Physics

Author : Y. M. Guttmann
ISBN : 0521621283
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 34. 24 MB
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A most systematic study of how to interpret probabilistic assertions in the context of statistical mechanics.

Time Chance And Reduction

Author : Gerhard Ernst
ISBN : 9780521884013
Genre : Science
File Size : 69. 36 MB
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Statistical mechanics attempts to explain the behaviour of macroscopic physical systems in terms of the mechanical properties of their constituents. Although it is one of the fundamental theories of physics, it has received little attention from philosophers of science. Nevertheless, it raises philosophical questions of fundamental importance on the nature of time, chance and reduction. Most philosophical issues in this domain relate to the question of the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics. This book addresses issues inherent in this reduction: the time-asymmetry of thermodynamics and its absence in statistical mechanics; the role and essential nature of chance and probability in this reduction when thermodynamics is non-probabilistic; and how, if at all, the reduction is possible. Compiling contributions on current research by experts in the field, this is an invaluable survey of the philosophy of statistical mechanics for academic researchers and graduate students interested in the foundations of physics.

Time And Chance

Author : David Z. ALBERT
ISBN : 0674020138
Genre : Science
File Size : 65. 94 MB
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This book is an attempt to get to the bottom of an acute and perennial tension between our best scientific pictures of the fundamental physical structure of the world and our everyday empirical experience of it. The trouble is about the direction of time. The situation (very briefly) is that it is a consequence of almost every one of those fundamental scientific pictures--and that it is at the same time radically at odds with our common sense--that whatever can happen can just as naturally happen backwards. Albert provides an unprecedentedly clear, lively, and systematic new account--in the context of a Newtonian-Mechanical picture of the world--of the ultimate origins of the statistical regularities we see around us, of the temporal irreversibility of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, of the asymmetries in our epistemic access to the past and the future, and of our conviction that by acting now we can affect the future but not the past. Then, in the final section of the book, he generalizes the Newtonian picture to the quantum-mechanical case and (most interestingly) suggests a very deep potential connection between the problem of the direction of time and the quantum-mechanical measurement problem. The book aims to be both an original contribution to the present scientific and philosophical understanding of these matters at the most advanced level, and something in the nature of an elementary textbook on the subject accessible to interested high-school students. Table of Contents: Preface 1. Time-Reversal Invariance 2. Thermodynamics 3. Statistical Mechanics 4. The Reversibility Objections and the Past-Hypothesis 5. The Scope of Thermodynamics 6. The Asymmetries of Knowledge and Intervention 7. Quantum Mechanics Appendix: Gedankenexperiments with Heat Engines Index Reviews of this book: The foundations of statistical mechanisms are often presented in physics textbooks in a rather obscure and confused way. By challenging common ways of thinking about this subject, Time and Chance can do quite a lot to improve this situation. --Jean Bricmont, Science Albert is perfecting a style of foundational analysis that is uniquely his own...It has a surgical precision...and it is ruthless with pretensions. The foundations of thermodynamics is a topic that has accumulated a good deal of dead wood; this is a fire that will burn and burn. --Simon W. Saunders, Oxford University As usual with Albert's work, the exposition is brisk and to the point, and exceptionally clear...The book will be an extremely valuable contribution to the literature on the subject of philosophical issues in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, a literature which has been thin on the ground but is now growing as it deserves to. --Lawrence Sklar, University of Michigan

Space Time And Spacetime

Author : Lawrence Sklar
ISBN : 0520031741
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 62. 92 MB
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In this book, Lawrence Sklar demonstrates the interdependence of science and philosophy by examining a number of crucial problems on the nature of space and time--problems that require for their resolution the resources of philosophy and of physics. The overall issues explored are our knowledge of the geometry of the world, the existence of spacetime as an entity over and above the material objects of the world, the relation between temporal order and causal order, and the problem of the direction of time. Without neglecting the most subtle philosophical points or the most advanced contributions of contemporary physics, the author has taken pains to make his explorations intelligible to the reader with no advanced training in physics, mathematics, or philosophy. The arguments are set forth step-by-step, beginning from first principles; and the philosophical discussions are supplemented in detail by nontechnical expositions of crucial features of physical theories.

Time Chance And Reduction

Author : Gerhard Ernst
ISBN : 9780521884013
Genre : Science
File Size : 66. 4 MB
Format : PDF
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Statistical mechanics attempts to explain the behaviour of macroscopic physical systems in terms of the mechanical properties of their constituents. Although it is one of the fundamental theories of physics, it has received little attention from philosophers of science. Nevertheless, it raises philosophical questions of fundamental importance on the nature of time, chance and reduction. Most philosophical issues in this domain relate to the question of the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics. This book addresses issues inherent in this reduction: the time-asymmetry of thermodynamics and its absence in statistical mechanics; the role and essential nature of chance and probability in this reduction when thermodynamics is non-probabilistic; and how, if at all, the reduction is possible. Compiling contributions on current research by experts in the field, this is an invaluable survey of the philosophy of statistical mechanics for academic researchers and graduate students interested in the foundations of physics.

Probabilities Causes And Propensities In Physics

Author : Mauricio Suárez
ISBN : 1402099045
Genre : Science
File Size : 77. 79 MB
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This volume defends a novel approach to the philosophy of physics: it is the first book devoted to a comparative study of probability, causality, and propensity, and their various interrelations, within the context of contemporary physics -- particularly quantum and statistical physics. The philosophical debates and distinctions are firmly grounded upon examples from actual physics, thus exemplifying a robustly empiricist approach. The essays, by both prominent scholars in the field and promising young researchers, constitute a pioneer effort in bringing out the connections between probabilistic, causal and dispositional aspects of the quantum domain. The book will appeal to specialists in philosophy and foundations of physics, philosophy of science in general, metaphysics, ontology of physics theories, and philosophy of probability.

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