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  1. added 2020-10-12
    C‐Theories of Time: On the Adirectionality of Time.Matt Farr - 2020 - Philosophy Compass.
    “The universe is expanding, not contracting.” Many statements of this form appear unambiguously true; after all, the discovery of the universe’s expansion is one of the great triumphs of empirical science. However, the statement is time-directed: the universe expands towards what we call the future; it contracts towards the past. If we deny that time has a direction, should we also deny that the universe is really expanding? This article draws together and discusses what I call ‘C-theories’ of time — (...)
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  2. added 2020-10-04
    Termodinamica: Legi, Concepte, Sisteme, Stări.Sfetcu Nicolae - manuscript
    Termodinamica se ocupă cu studiul energiei, a conversiilor sale între diferite forme, cum ar fi căldura, și capacitatea energiei de a produce lucru mecanic. Ea este strâns legată de mecanica statistică, din care pot fi derivate multe relații termodinamice. Se poate argumenta că termodinamica a fost greșit denumită astfel întrucât aceasta nu se referă de fapt la rate de schimbare ca atare și, prin urmare, ar fi fost probabil mai corect ca domeniul să se denumească termostatica. Termodinamica se referă la (...)
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  3. added 2020-09-22
    Welcome to the Fuzzy-Verse.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - New Scientist 247 (3298):36-40.
    We expect the laws of nature that describe the universe to be exact, but what if that isn't true? In this popular science article, I discuss the possibility that some candidate fundamental laws of nature, such as the Past Hypothesis, may be vague. This possibility is in conflict with the idea that the fundamental laws of nature can always and faithfully be described by classical mathematics. -/- [Bibliographic note: this article is featured on the magazine website under a different title (...)
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  4. added 2020-08-06
    From Quantum Entanglement to Spatiotemporal Distance.Alyssa Ney - manuscript
    Within the field of quantum gravity, there is an influential research program developing the connection between quantum entanglement and spatiotemporal distance. Quantum information theory gives us highly refined tools for quantifying quantum entanglement such as the entanglement entropy. Through a series of well-confirmed results, it has been shown how these facts about the entanglement entropy of component systems may be connected to facts about spatiotemporal distance. Physicists are seeing these results as yielding promising methods for better understanding the emergence of (...)
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  5. added 2020-08-05
    Quantum Mechanics in a Time-Asymmetric Universe: On the Nature of the Initial Quantum State.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy068.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, we postulate a low-entropy boundary condition to account for the temporal asymmetry. In this paper, I show that the Past Hypothesis also contains enough information to simplify the quantum ontology and define a unique initial condition in such a world. First, I introduce Density Matrix Realism, the thesis that the quantum universe is described by a fundamental density matrix that represents something objective. This stands in sharp contrast to Wave Function (...)
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  6. added 2020-08-03
    The Past Hypothesis and the Nature of Physical Laws.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - In Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg & Brad Weslake (eds.), Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Harvard University Press.
    If the Past Hypothesis underlies the arrows of time, what is the status of the Past Hypothesis? In this paper, I examine the role of the Past Hypothesis in the Boltzmannian account and defend the view that the Past Hypothesis is a candidate fundamental law of nature. Such a view is known to be compatible with Humeanism about laws, but as I argue it is also supported by a minimal non-Humean "governing'' view. Some worries arise from the non-dynamical and time-dependent (...)
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  7. added 2020-07-27
    Reality in a Few Thermodynamic Reference Frames: Statistical Thermodynamics From Boltzmann Via Gibbs to Einstein.Vasil Penchev - 2020 - Philosophy of Science eJournal (Elsevier: SSRN) 13 (33):1-14.
    The success of a few theories in statistical thermodynamics can be correlated with their selectivity to reality. These are the theories of Boltzmann, Gibbs, and Einstein. The starting point is Carnot’s theory, which defines implicitly the general selection of reality relevant to thermodynamics. The three other theories share this selection, but specify it further in detail. Each of them separates a few main aspects within the scope of the implicit thermodynamic reality. Their success grounds on that selection. Those aspects can (...)
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  8. added 2020-07-13
    The Temporal Foundation of the Principle of Maximal Entropy.Vasil Penchev - 2020 - Logic and Philosophy of Mathematics eJournal 12 (11):1-3.
    The principle of maximal entropy (further abbreviated as “MaxEnt”) can be founded on the formal mechanism, in which future transforms into past by the mediation of present. This allows of MaxEnt to be investigated by the theory of quantum information. MaxEnt can be considered as an inductive analog or generalization of “Occam’s razor”. It depends crucially on choice and thus on information just as all inductive methods of reasoning. The essence shared by Occam’s razor and MaxEnt is for the relevant (...)
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  9. added 2020-06-16
    Boltzmannian Immortality.Christian Loew - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):761-776.
    Plausible assumptions from Cosmology and Statistical Mechanics entail that it is overwhelmingly likely that there will be exact duplicates of us in the distant future long after our deaths. Call such persons “Boltzmann duplicates,” after the great pioneer of Statistical Mechanics. In this paper, I argue that if survival of death is possible at all, then we almost surely will survive our deaths because there almost surely will be Boltzmann duplicates of us in the distant future that stand in appropriate (...)
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  10. added 2020-06-09
    From Time Asymmetry to Quantum Entanglement: The Humean Unification.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Two of the most difficult problems in the foundations of physics are (1) what gives rise to the arrow of time and (2) what the ontology of quantum mechanics is. I propose a unified 'Humean' solution to the two problems. Humeanism allows us to incorporate the Past Hypothesis and the Statistical Postulate into the best system, which we then use to simplify the quantum state of the universe. This enables us to confer the nomological status to the quantum state in (...)
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  11. added 2020-06-09
    Does Von Neumann Entropy Correspond to Thermodynamic Entropy?Eugene Y. S. Chua - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science 88 (1).
    Conventional wisdom holds that the von Neumann entropy corresponds to thermodynamic entropy, but Hemmo and Shenker (2006) have recently argued against this view by attacking von Neumann's (1955) argument. I argue that Hemmo and Shenker's arguments fail due to several misunderstandings: about statistical-mechanical and thermodynamic domains of applicability, about the nature of mixed states, and about the role of approximations in physics. As a result, their arguments fail in all cases: in the single-particle case, the finite particles case, and the (...)
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  12. added 2020-05-19
    Change in Entropy as a Function of McTaggart's A-Series and B-Series.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    This careful note is a very initial foray into the issue of the change in entropy with respect to both McTaggart’s A-series and his B-series. We find a possible solution to the Past Hypothesis problem.
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  13. added 2020-04-26
    Calling for explanation: the case of the thermodynamic past state.Dan Baras & Orly Shenker - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-20.
    Philosophers of physics have long debated whether the Past State of low entropy of our universe calls for explanation. What is meant by “calls for explanation”? In this article we analyze this notion, distinguishing between several possible meanings that may be attached to it. Taking the debate around the Past State as a case study, we show how our analysis of what “calling for explanation” might mean can contribute to clarifying the debate and perhaps to settling it, thus demonstrating the (...)
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  14. added 2020-03-05
    Maxwell’s Demon in Quantum Mechanics.Orly Shenker & Meir Hemmo - 2020 - Entropy 22 (3):269.
    Maxwell’s Demon is a thought experiment devised by J. C. Maxwell in 1867 in order to show that the Second Law of thermodynamics is not universal, since it has a counter-example. Since the Second Law is taken by many to provide an arrow of time, the threat to its universality threatens the account of temporal directionality as well. Various attempts to “exorcise” the Demon, by proving that it is impossible for one reason or another, have been made throughout the years, (...)
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  15. added 2019-07-03
    Căldura - Termodinamica fenomenologică.Nicolae Sfetcu - 2018 - Drobeta Turnu Severin,: MultiMedia Publishing.
    Despre căldură, temperatură, și modalități de măsurare, și aplicații practice în inginerie. Un punct de vedere contemporan privind energia, termodinamica și legile ei, cu detalierea celor mai importante principii care o guvernează. Un capitol special este dedicat schimbărilor climatice și încălzirii globale actuale. Explicații clare ale fenomenelor, evitând formulele matematice complexe. -/- CUPRINS: -/- Căldura și temperatura - Temperatura - - Definiții - - - Pe baza principiului zero - - - Pe baza celui de al doilea principiu - - (...)
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  16. added 2019-06-06
    Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics: A Maxwellian View.Wayne C. Myrvold - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):237-243.
    One finds, in Maxwell's writings on thermodynamics and statistical physics, a conception of the nature of these subjects that differs in interesting ways from the way that they are usually conceived. In particular, though—in agreement with the currently accepted view—Maxwell maintains that the second law of thermodynamics, as originally conceived, cannot be strictly true, the replacement he proposes is different from the version accepted by most physicists today. The modification of the second law accepted by most physicists is a probabilistic (...)
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  17. added 2019-06-03
    Eternal Worlds and the Best System Account of Laws.Ryan A. Olsen & Christopher Meacham - forthcoming - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific.
    In this paper we apply the popular Best System Account of laws to typical eternal worlds – both classical eternal worlds and eternal worlds of the kind posited by popular contemporary cosmological theories. We show that, according to the Best System Account, such worlds will have no laws that meaningfully constrain boundary conditions. It’s generally thought that lawful constraints on boundary conditions are required to avoid skeptical arguments. Thus the lack of such laws given the Best System Account may seem (...)
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  18. added 2019-05-13
    On the Ergodic Theorem and Information Loss in Statistical Mechanics.Andreas Henriksson - manuscript
    In this article, it is argued that, for a classical Hamiltonian system which is closed, the ergodic theorem emerge from the Gibbs-Liouville theorem in the limit that the system has evolved for an infinitely long period of time. In this limit, from the perspective of an ignorant observer, who do not have perfect knowledge about the complete set of degrees of freedom for the system, distinctions between the possible states of the system, i.e. the information content, is lost leading to (...)
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  19. added 2019-02-28
    Time's Arrow in a Quantum Universe: On the Status of Statistical Mechanical Probabilities.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific. pp. 479–515.
    In a quantum universe with a strong arrow of time, it is standard to postulate that the initial wave function started in a particular macrostate---the special low-entropy macrostate selected by the Past Hypothesis. Moreover, there is an additional postulate about statistical mechanical probabilities according to which the initial wave function is a ''typical'' choice in the macrostate. Together, they support a probabilistic version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: typical initial wave functions will increase in entropy. Hence, there are two (...)
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  20. added 2018-12-14
    Reading the Past in the Present.Nick Huggett - unknown
    Why is our knowledge of the past so much more ‘expansive’ (to pick a suitably vague term) than our knowledge of the future, and what is the best way to capture the difference(s) (i.e., in what sense is knowledge of the past more ‘expansive’)? One could reasonably approach these questions by giving necessary conditions for different kinds of knowledge, and showing how some were satisfied by certain propositions about the past, and not by corresponding propositions about the future. I take (...)
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  21. added 2018-10-24
    Matters of Time Directionality in Gravitational Physics.Jean-Christophe Lindner - manuscript
    This report offers a modern perspective on the question of time directionality as it arises in a semi-classical context, based on key developments in the field of gravitational physics. Important clarifications are achieved regarding, in particular, the concepts of time reversal and negative energy. The conditions imposed by the Leibnizian constraint of relational definition of physical attributes are thoroughly examined and significant consequences of applying this consistency requirement are derived. From this analysis emerges an improved understanding of the general relativistic (...)
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  22. added 2018-07-19
    Interpretive Analogies Between Quantum and Statistical Mechanics.C. D. McCoy - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (1):9.
    The conspicuous similarities between interpretive strategies in classical statistical mechanics and in quantum mechanics may be grounded on their employment of common implementations of probability. The objective probabilities which represent the underlying stochasticity of these theories can be naturally associated with three of their common formal features: initial conditions, dynamics, and observables. Various well-known interpretations of the two theories line up with particular choices among these three ways of implementing probability. This perspective has significant application to debates on primitive ontology (...)
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  23. added 2018-06-21
    Did the Universe Have a Chance?C. D. McCoy - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):1262-1272.
    In a world awash in statistical patterns, should we conclude that the universe’s evolution or genesis is somehow subject to chance? I draw attention to alternatives that must be acknowledged if we are to have an adequate assessment of what chance the universe might have had.
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  24. added 2018-05-04
    An Alternative Interpretation of Statistical Mechanics.C. D. McCoy - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (1):1-21.
    In this paper I propose an interpretation of classical statistical mechanics that centers on taking seriously the idea that probability measures represent complete states of statistical mechanical systems. I show how this leads naturally to the idea that the stochasticity of statistical mechanics is associated directly with the observables of the theory rather than with the microstates (as traditional accounts would have it). The usual assumption that microstates are representationally significant in the theory is therefore dispensable, a consequence which suggests (...)
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  25. added 2017-12-31
    Gabriel Vacariu and Mihai Vacariu (2017) From Hypernothing to Hyperverse: EDWs, Hypernothing, Wave and Particle, Elementary Particles, Thermodynamics, and Einstein’s Relativity Without “Spacetime”, Datagroup.Gabriel Vacariu and Mihai Vacariu - 2017 - Timisoara, Romania: Datagroup.
    Over the last two centuries, the relationship between philosophy and science has completely broken down, so the question we are confronted with is: How can we develop a new philosophy, which will influence science decisively? The physicists of the last century rejected their contemporary philosophy. They considered that “philosophy today is dead” (Hawking and Mlodinow 2010). However, we believe that the great scientific problems are always philosophical, and only philosophical problems. Therefore, these problems can be solved only by philosophers and (...)
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  26. added 2017-05-04
    Atheistic Induction by Boltzmann Brains.Bradley Monton - forthcoming - In Jerry Walls & Trent Dougherty (eds.), Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God: The Plantinga Project. Oxford University Press.
    I present a new thermodynamic argument for the existence of God. Naturalistic physics provides evidence for the failure of induction, because it provides evidence that the past is not at all what you think it is, and your existence is just a momentary fluctuation. The fact that you are not a momentary fluctuation thus provides evidence for the existence of God – God would ensure that the past is roughly what we think it is, and you have been in existence (...)
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  27. added 2017-02-12
    A New Approach to the Approach to Equilibrium.Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - 2012 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem & Meir Hemmo (eds.), Probability in Physics. The Frontiers Collection. Springer. pp. 99-114.
    Consider a gas confined to the left half of a container. Then remove the wall separating the two parts. The gas will start spreading and soon be evenly distributed over the entire available space. The gas has approached equilibrium. Why does the gas behave in this way? The canonical answer to this question, originally proffered by Boltzmann, is that the system has to be ergodic for the approach to equilibrium to take place. This answer has been criticised on different grounds (...)
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  28. added 2017-01-22
    Explaining Thermodynamic-Like Behavior in Terms of Epsilon-Ergodicity.Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (4):628-652.
    Gases reach equilibrium when left to themselves. Why do they behave in this way? The canonical answer to this question, originally proffered by Boltzmann, is that the systems have to be ergodic. This answer has been criticised on different grounds and is now widely regarded as flawed. In this paper we argue that some of the main arguments against Boltzmann's answer, in particular, arguments based on the KAM-theorem and the Markus-Meyer theorem, are beside the point. We then argue that something (...)
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  29. added 2017-01-20
    Entropy - A Guide for the Perplexed.Roman Frigg & Charlotte Werndl - 2011 - In Claus Beisbart & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Probabilities in Physics. Oxford University Press. pp. 115-142.
    Entropy is ubiquitous in physics, and it plays important roles in numerous other disciplines ranging from logic and statistics to biology and economics. However, a closer look reveals a complicated picture: entropy is defined differently in different contexts, and even within the same domain different notions of entropy are at work. Some of these are defined in terms of probabilities, others are not. The aim of this chapter is to arrive at an understanding of some of the most important notions (...)
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  30. added 2017-01-16
    When Does a Boltzmannian Equilibrium Exist?Charlotte Werndl & Roman Frigg - 2016 - In Daniel Bedingham, Owen Maroney & Christopher Timpson (eds.), Quantum Foundations of Statistical Mechanics. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
    The received wisdom in statistical mechanics is that isolated systems, when left to themselves, approach equilibrium. But under what circumstances does an equilibrium state exist and an approach to equilibrium take place? In this paper we address these questions from the vantage point of the long-run fraction of time definition of Boltzmannian equilibrium that we developed in two recent papers. After a short summary of Boltzmannian statistical mechanics and our definition of equilibrium, we state an existence theorem which provides general (...)
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  31. added 2016-11-04
    Physical Order and the Existence of God.Iulian D. Toader - 2013 - In Athens and/or Jerusalem: Essays on the Relationship Between Science and Religion. University of Bucharest Press. pp. 133-142.
    This paper, written in Romanian, explains why the eutaxiological argument, endorsed by scientists like Newton, Einstein, and Weyl, and recently defended by Richard Swinburne, is not defensible.
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  32. added 2015-08-18
    How Typical! An Epistemological Analysis of Typicality in Statistical Mechanics.Massimiliano Badino - manuscript
    The recent use of typicality in statistical mechanics for foundational purposes has stirred an important debate involving both philosophers and physicists. While this debate customarily focuses on technical issues, in this paper I try to approach the problem from an epistemological angle. The discussion is driven by two questions: (1) What does typicality add to the concept of measure? (2) What kind of explanation, if any, does typicality yield? By distinguishing the notions of `typicality-as-vast-majority' and `typicality-as-best-exemplar', I argue that the (...)
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  33. added 2015-04-04
    Entropy as Root Metaphor.Eric Zencey - 1986 - Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
    Metaphors establish connection. Root metaphors--patterns of relational imagery in the language and thought of a culture, in which a diverse group of tenors are related to a single indentifiable class of vehicles--play an important role in organizing our thought, and in bringing a coherence to our vision of the world. This is a political function; root metaphors, as philosopher Stephen Pepper discusses them, are most often found in the works of philosophers remembered as political philosophers. ;The second law of thermodynamics--the (...)
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  34. added 2015-03-24
    Rethinking Boltzmannian Equilibrium.Charlotte Werndl & Roman Frigg - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1224-1235.
    Boltzmannian statistical mechanics partitions the phase space of a sys- tem into macro-regions, and the largest of these is identified with equilibrium. What justifies this identification? Common answers focus on Boltzmann’s combinatorial argument, the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, and maxi- mum entropy considerations. We argue that they fail and present a new answer. We characterise equilibrium as the macrostate in which a system spends most of its time and prove a new theorem establishing that equilib- rium thus defined corresponds to the largest (...)
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  35. added 2015-03-19
    An Argument Regarding the Nature of Hooligan Behavior.Emanuel Gluskin - 2012 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 5 (2):51-53.
    We refer to the remarkable thought of Erwin Schrödinger expressed in his book “What is life?” regarding the connection between life and a decrease of entropy realized via feeding (eating). This thought is “transferred” into the field of human psychology, explaining hooligan behavior (e.g. the “days of violence”) as a natural human response to the improper (in its content or form) “informational feeding” that does not allow one to normally treat (‘’digest”) the received information, i.e. to make ones thoughts simpler (...)
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  36. added 2015-02-16
    On the Possibility of Stable Regularities Without Fundamental Laws.Aldo Filomeno - 2014 - Dissertation, Autonomous University of Barcelona
    This doctoral dissertation investigates the notion of physical necessity. Specifically, it studies whether it is possible to account for non-accidental regularities without the standard assumption of a pre-existent set of governing laws. Thus, it takes side with the so called deflationist accounts of laws of nature, like the humean or the antirealist. The specific aim is to complement such accounts by providing a missing explanation of the appearance of physical necessity. In order to provide an explanation, I recur to fields (...)
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  37. added 2014-11-04
    Considerazioni sui fondamenti della Meccanica Statistica.Sergio Chibbaro, Lamberto Rondoni & Angelo Vulpiani - 2012 - In Vincenzo Fano, Enrico Giannetto, Giulia Giannini & Pierluigi Graziani (eds.), Complessità e Riduzionismo. pp. 126-140.
    A differenza della meccanica quantistica, i cui fondamenti sono sempre stati al centro di un ininterrotto dibattito, gli aspetti concettuali della meccanica statistica non hanno attratto interessi così vasti; tra le eccezioni citiamo il bel libro di Emch e Liu. In questo breve contributo discuteremo alcuni problemi concettuali della meccanica statistica, in particolare il ruolo del caos e l’emergenza di proprietà collettive che appaiono quando il numero delle particelle del sistema è molto grande.
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  38. added 2014-07-31
    The Meta-Reversibility Objection.Christopher J. G. Meacham - forthcoming - In Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric Winsberg (eds.), Time's Arrow and the Probability Structure of the World.
    One popular approach to statistical mechanics understands statistical mechanical probabilities as measures of rational indifference. Naive formulations of this ``indifference approach'' face reversibility worries - while they yield the right prescriptions regarding future events, they yield the wrong prescriptions regarding past events. This paper begins by showing how the indifference approach can overcome the standard reversibility worries by appealing to the Past Hypothesis. But, the paper argues, positing a Past Hypothesis doesn't free the indifference approach from all reversibility worries. For (...)
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  39. added 2014-04-02
    Can Interventionists Be Neo-Russellians? Interventionism, the Open Systems Argument, and the Arrow of Entropy.Alexander Reutlinger - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):273-293.
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume 27, Issue 3, Page 273-293, September 2013.
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  40. added 2014-03-23
    Epsilon-Ergodicity and the Success of Equilibrium Statistical Mechanics.Peter B. M. Vranas - 1998 - Philosophy of Science 65 (4):688-708.
    Why does classical equilibrium statistical mechanics work? Malament and Zabell (1980) noticed that, for ergodic dynamical systems, the unique absolutely continuous invariant probability measure is the microcanonical. Earman and Rédei (1996) replied that systems of interest are very probably not ergodic, so that absolutely continuous invariant probability measures very distant from the microcanonical exist. In response I define the generalized properties of epsilon-ergodicity and epsilon-continuity, I review computational evidence indicating that systems of interest are epsilon-ergodic, I adapt Malament and Zabell’s (...)
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  41. added 2014-03-20
    Three Proposals Regarding a Theory of Chance.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2005 - Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):281–307.
    I argue that the theory of chance proposed by David Lewis has three problems: (i) it is time asymmetric in a manner incompatible with some of the chance theories of physics, (ii) it is incompatible with statistical mechanical chances, and (iii) the content of Lewis's Principal Principle depends on how admissibility is cashed out, but there is no agreement as to what admissible evidence should be. I proposes two modifications of Lewis's theory which resolve these difficulties. I conclude by tentatively (...)
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  42. added 2014-03-18
    The Entropy Theory of Counterfactuals.Douglas Kutach - 2002 - Philosophy of Science 69 (1):82-104.
    I assess the thesis that counterfactual asymmetries are explained by an asymmetry of the global entropy at the temporal boundaries of the universe, by developing a method of evaluating counterfactuals that includes, as a background assumption, the low entropy of the early universe. The resulting theory attempts to vindicate the common practice of holding the past mostly fixed under counterfactual supposition while at the same time allowing the counterfactual's antecedent to obtain by a natural physical development. Although the theory has (...)
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  43. added 2014-03-17
    The Physical Foundations of Causation.Douglas Kutach - 2007 - In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
    I defend what may loosely be called an eliminativist account of causation by showing how several of the main features of causation, namely asymmetry, transitivity, and necessitation, arise from the combination of fundamental dynamical laws and a special constraint on the macroscopic structure of matter in the past. At the microscopic level, the causal features of necessitation and transitivity are grounded, but not the asymmetry. At the coarse-grained level of the macroscopic physics, the causal asymmetry is grounded, but not the (...)
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  44. added 2014-03-07
    Contemporary Approaches to Statistical Mechanical Probabilities: A Critical Commentary - Part I: The Indifference Approach.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1116-1126.
    This pair of articles provides a critical commentary on contemporary approaches to statistical mechanical probabilities. These articles focus on the two ways of understanding these probabilities that have received the most attention in the recent literature: the epistemic indifference approach, and the Lewis-style regularity approach. These articles describe these approaches, highlight the main points of contention, and make some attempts to advance the discussion. The first of these articles provides a brief sketch of statistical mechanics, and discusses the indifference approach (...)
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  45. added 2014-03-07
    Contemporary Approaches to Statistical Mechanical Probabilities: A Critical Commentary - Part II: The Regularity Approach.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1127-1136.
    This pair of articles provides a critical commentary on contemporary approaches to statistical mechanical probabilities. These articles focus on the two ways of understanding these probabilities that have received the most attention in the recent literature: the epistemic indifference approach, and the Lewis-style regularity approach. These articles describe these approaches, highlight the main points of contention, and make some attempts to advance the discussion. The second of these articles discusses the regularity approach to statistical mechanical probabilities, and describes some areas (...)
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  46. added 2013-11-02
    The Universal Arrow of Time.Oleg Kupervasser, Hrvoje Nikolić & Vinko Zlatić - 2012 - Foundations of Physics 42 (9):1165-1185.
    Statistical physics cannot explain why a thermodynamic arrow of time exists, unless one postulates very special and unnatural initial conditions. Yet, we argue that statistical physics can explain why the thermodynamic arrow of time is universal, i.e., why the arrow points in the same direction everywhere. Namely, if two subsystems have opposite arrow-directions at a particular time, the interaction between them makes the configuration statistically unstable and causes a decay towards a system with a universal direction of the arrow of (...)
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  47. added 2013-08-28
    Probabilities in Statistical Mechanics.Wayne C. Myrvold - 2016 - In Christopher Hitchcock & Alan H’Ajek (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 573-600.
    This chapter will review selected aspects of the terrain of discussions about probabilities in statistical mechanics (with no pretensions to exhaustiveness, though the major issues will be touched upon), and will argue for a number of claims. None of the claims to be defended is entirely original, but all deserve emphasis. The first, and least controversial, is that probabilistic notions are needed to make sense of statistical mechanics. The reason for this is the same reason that convinced Maxwell, Gibbs, and (...)
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  48. added 2013-03-26
    Bridging Conceptual Gaps: The Kolmogorov-Sinai Entropy.Massimiliano Badino - forthcoming - Isonomía. Revista de Teoría y Filosofía Del Derecho.
    The Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy is a fairly exotic mathematical concept which has recently aroused some interest on the philosophers’ part. The most salient trait of this concept is its working as a junction between such diverse ambits as statistical mechanics, information theory and algorithm theory. In this paper I argue that, in order to understand this very special feature of the Kolmogorov-Sinai entropy, is essential to reconstruct its genealogy. Somewhat surprisingly, this story takes us as far back as the beginning of (...)
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  49. added 2011-12-16
    The Empirical Content of the Epistemic Asymmetry.Douglas Kutach - manuscript
    I conduct an empirical analysis of the temporally asymmetric character of our epistemic access to the world by providing an experimental scheme whose results represent the core empirical content of the epistemic asymmetry. I augment this empirical content by formulating a gedanken experiment inspired by a proposal from David Albert. This second experiment cannot be conducted using any technology that is likely to be developed in the foreseeable future, but the expected results help us to state an important constraint on (...)
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  50. added 2011-12-16
    Causation and Its Basis in Fundamental Physics.Douglas Kutach - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    I provide a comprehensive metaphysics of causation based on the idea that fundamentally things are governed by the laws of physics, and that derivatively difference-making can be assessed in terms of what fundamental laws of physics imply for hypothesized events. Highlights include a general philosophical methodology, the fundamental/derivative distinction, and my mature account of causal asymmetry.
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