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Typicality and the Approach to Equilibrium in Boltzmannian Statistical Mechanics

Frigg, Roman (2007) Typicality and the Approach to Equilibrium in Boltzmannian Statistical Mechanics. [Preprint]

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    Why do systems prepared in a non-equilibrium state approach, and eventually reach, equilibrium? An important contemporary version of the Boltzmannian approach answers this question by an appeal to the notion of typicality. This approach has grown increasingly popular in recent years, and it has been advocated, among others, by Goldstein, Lebowitz, and Zangh`ı. The problem with this approach is that it comes in different versions, which are, however, not recognised as such, much less clearly distinguished. Weoften find different arguments pursued side by side. The aim of this paper is to disentangle different versions of typicality-based explanations of thermodynamic behaviour and evaluate their respective success. My conclusion will be that the boldest version fails for technical reasons, while more prudent versions leave unanswered essential questions.

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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Approach to equilibrium, typicality, probability, Boltzmann, Goldstein, Lebowitz, Zanghi.
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
    Depositing User: Roman Frigg
    Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2008
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:16
    Item ID: 3915

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