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An Alternative Interpretation of Statistical Mechanics

McCoy, C.D. (2018) An Alternative Interpretation of Statistical Mechanics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

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 interesting possibilities for developing non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and investigating inter-theoretic answers to the foundational questions of statistical mechanics.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
McCoy, C.D.casey.mccoy@ed.ac.uk0000-0002-7921-4911
Keywords: probability, statistical mechanics, theory interpretation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Dr. Casey McCoy
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2018 21:26
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2018 21:26
Item ID: 14755
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1007/s10670-018-0015-7
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: 1 May 2018
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14755

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