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The H-Theorem, Molecular Disorder and Probability: Perspectives from Boltzmann’s Lectures on Gas Theory

Parker, Daniel (2009) The H-Theorem, Molecular Disorder and Probability: Perspectives from Boltzmann’s Lectures on Gas Theory. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    This paper examines Boltzmann’s responses to the Loschmidt reversibility objection to the H-theorem, as presented in his Lectures on Gas Theory. I describe and evaluate two distinct conceptions of the assumption of molecular disorder found in this work, and contrast these notions with the Stosszahlansatz, as well as with the predominant contemporary conception of molecular disorder. Both these conceptions are assessed with respect to the reversibility objection. Finally, I interpret Boltzmann as claiming that a state of molecular disorder serves as a necessary condition for the application of probabilistic arguments. This in turn offers a way to bridge the conceptual gap between the H-theorem and his combinatorial argument.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Physics, Statistical Mechanics, Boltzmann, H-Theorem, Molecular Disorder
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Probability/Statistics
    Specific Sciences > Physics
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
    Depositing User: Daniel Parker
    Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2009
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:18
    Item ID: 5005
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/5005

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