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Phase Transitions: A Challenge for Intertheoretic Reduction?

Palacios, Patricia (2019) Phase Transitions: A Challenge for Intertheoretic Reduction? [Preprint]

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Abstract

In this paper, I analyze the extent to which classical phase transitions,
both first-order and continuous, pose a challenge for intertheoretic
reduction. My main contention is that phase transitions are
compatible with reduction, at least with a notion of inter-theoretic
reduction that combines Nagelian reduction and what Nickles (1973)
called reduction2. I also argue that, even if the same approach to reduction
applies to both types of phase transitions, there is a crucial
difference in their physical treatment. In fact, in addition to the thermodynamic
limit, in the case of continuous phase transitions there is
a second infinite limit involved that is related with the number of iterations
in the renormalization group transformation. I contend that
the existence of this second limit, which has been largely underappreciated
in the philosophical debate, marks an important difference in
the reduction of first-order and continuous phase transitions and also
in the justification of the idealizations involved in these two cases.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
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Palacios, Patricia
Keywords: Phase Transitions, Thermodynamic Limit, Reduction, Continuous Phase Transitions
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Ms. Patricia Palacios
Date Deposited: 12 May 2019 01:56
Last Modified: 12 May 2019 01:56
Item ID: 15998
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Condensed Matter
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Date: 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15998

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