Does von Neumann Entropy Correspond to Thermodynamic Entropy?

Philosophy of Science 88 (1):145-168 (2021)
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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 infinite particles case.

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Eugene Chua
California Institute of Technology


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