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Why typicality does not explain the approach to equilibrium

Frigg, Roman (2011) Why typicality does not explain the approach to equilibrium. In: Suárez, Mauricio , (ed.) Probabilities, Causes and Propensities in Physics. Synthese library(347). Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands, pp. 77-93. ISBN 9781402099038

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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 to statistical mechanics answers this question by an appeal to the notion of typicality. The problem with this approach is that it comes in different versions, which are, however, not recognised as such, much less clearly distinguished, and we often 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.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 Springer
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Sets: Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Research centres and groups > Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2010 16:45

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