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 : 34. 28 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. 99 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 : 55. 84 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 : 87. 54 MB
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A philosophical perspective to statistical mechanics for graduate students and researchers in the foundations and philosophy of physics.

Time Chance And Reduction

Author : Gerhard Ernst
ISBN : 9780521884013
Genre : Science
File Size : 66. 76 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.

The Concept Of Probability In Statistical Physics

Author : Y. M. Guttmann
ISBN : 0521621283
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 52. 41 MB
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A most systematic study of how to interpret probabilistic assertions in the context of statistical mechanics.

Time And Chance

Author : David Z. ALBERT
ISBN : 0674020138
Genre : Science
File Size : 43. 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

A Philosophical Guide To Chance

Author : Toby Handfield
ISBN : 9781107080010
Genre : Science
File Size : 36. 17 MB
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It is a commonplace that scientific inquiry makes extensive use of probabilities, many of which seem to be objective chances, describing features of reality that are independent of our minds. Such chances appear to have a number of paradoxical or puzzling features: they appear to be mind-independent facts, but they are intimately connected with rational psychology; they display a temporal asymmetry, but they are supposed to be grounded in physical laws that are time-symmetric; and chances are used to explain and predict frequencies of events, although they cannot be reduced to those frequencies. This book offers an accessible and non-technical introduction to these and other puzzles. Toby Handfield engages with traditional metaphysics and philosophy of science, drawing upon recent work in the foundations of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics to provide a novel account of objective probability that is empirically informed without requiring specialist scientific knowledge.

Space Time And Spacetime

Author : Lawrence Sklar
ISBN : 0520031741
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 88. 67 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.

From Physics To Metaphysics

Author : Michael Redhead
ISBN : 0521589665
Genre : Science
File Size : 67. 98 MB
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Drawn from the Tarner lectures delivered in Cambridge in 1993, this book deals with the ultimate nature of reality, and how this is revealed by modern physical theories such as relativity and quantum theory. The author examines subjectivity in science, and defends the objectivity and rationality of science against the views of relativists and social constructionists. An engaging discussion on the role of modern physics, including relativity theory, quantum theory and statistical mechanics, this book will interest popular science readers as well as students and professionals.

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