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Approximations, Idealizations, and Models in Statistical Mechanics

Liu, Chuang (2001) Approximations, Idealizations, and Models in Statistical Mechanics. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)


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In this paper, a criticism of the traditional theories of approximation and idealization is given. After identifying the real purpose and measure of idealization in the practice of science, it is argued that the best way to characterize idealization is not to formulate a logical model -- something analogous to Hempel's D-N model for explanation -- but to study its different guises in the praxis of science. A case study of it is then made in thermostatistical physics. After a brief sketch of the theories for phase transitions and critical phenomena, I examine the various idealizations that go into the making of models at three difference levels.

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Item Type: Other
Liu, Chuang
Keywords: approximation approbation, laws of nature, thermodynamics, Ising-models, thermodynamic limit
Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Chuang Liu
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2001
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:10
Item ID: 365
Public Domain: No

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