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Typicality, Irreversibility and the Status of Macroscopic Laws

Lazarovici, Dustin and Reichert, Paula (2013) Typicality, Irreversibility and the Status of Macroscopic Laws. [Preprint]

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Abstract

We discuss Boltzmann’s explanation of the irreversible thermodynamic evolution of macroscopic systems on the basis of time-symmetric microscopic laws, providing a comprehensive presentation of what we call the typicality account. We then discuss the connection between this general scheme and the H-theorem, demonstrating the conceptual continuity between them. In our analysis, a special focus lies on the crucial role of typicality. Putting things in wider perspective, we go on to analyze the philosophical dimensions of this concept, explaining the connection between typicality and probability, and demonstrate its relevance for scientific reasoning, in particular for understanding the supervenience of macroscopic laws on micro- scopic laws. The second part of the paper responds to recent objections against the typicality account that have been raised in the philosophical literature. In par- ticular, the concept of ergodicity, or a variant thereof, named “epsilon-ergodicity”, which has been promoted by some authors as a crucial additional assumption on the dynamics, is shown to be of no use for its intended purpose.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Lazarovici, Dustinlazarovici@math.lmu.de
Reichert, Paulareichert@math.lmu.de
Keywords: Boltzmann, Statistical Mechanics, Irreversibility, Entropy, Typicality, Ergodicity, Reductionism
Subjects: General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Mr. Dustin Lazarovici
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2013 17:11
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2014 16:14
Item ID: 10122
Subjects: General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: December 2013
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/10122

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