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Two Approaches to Reduction: A Case Study from Statistical Mechanics

Guo, Bixin (2020) Two Approaches to Reduction: A Case Study from Statistical Mechanics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

I argue that there are two distinct approaches to understand reduction: the ontology-first approach and the theory-first approach. Further, I argue for the significance of this distinction by demonstrating that either one or the other approach has been taken as an implicit assumption in, and has in fact shaped, our understanding of what statistical mechanics is. More specifically, I argue that the Boltzmannian framework of statistical mechanics assumes and relies on the ontology-first approach, whereas the Gibbsian framework should assume the theory-first approach.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Guo, Bixinbig15@pitt.edu
Keywords: Reduction, Statistical mechanics
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Bixin Guo
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2022 18:36
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2022 18:36
Item ID: 20433
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: September 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20433

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