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Infinite Idealizations

Norton, John D. (2012) Infinite Idealizations. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    1. Approximations of arbitrarily large but finite systems are often mistaken for infinite idealizations in statistical and thermal physics. The problem is illustrated by thermodynamically reversible processes. They are approximations of processes requiring arbitrarily long, but finite times to complete, not processes requiring an actual infinity of time. 2. The present debate over whether phase transitions comprise a failure of reduction is confounded by a confusion of two senses of “level”: the molecular versus the thermodynamic level and the few component versus the many component level.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: approximation, idealization, levels, phase transition, reduction, reversible process, statistical, thermodynamics
    Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
    General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
    Depositing User: John Norton
    Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2012 08:59
    Last Modified: 25 Feb 2012 08:59
    Item ID: 9028
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9028

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