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Inferential vs. Dynamical Conceptions of Physics

Wallace, David (2013) Inferential vs. Dynamical Conceptions of Physics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

I contrast two possible attitudes towards a given branch of physics: as inferential (i.e., as concerned with an agent's ability to make predictions given finite information), and as dynamical (i.e., as concerned with the dynamical equations governing particular degrees of freedom). I contrast these attitudes in classical statistical mechanics, in quantum mechanics, and in quantum statistical mechanics; in this last case, I argue that the quantum-mechanical and statistical-mechanical aspects of the question become inseparable. Along the way various foundational issues in statistical and quantum physics are (hopefully!) illuminated.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Wallace, Daviddavid.wallace@balliol.ox.ac.uk
Keywords: quantum mechanics statistical mechanics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: David Wallace
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2013 15:31
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2013 15:31
Item ID: 9845
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: June 2013
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9845

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