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Rethinking boltzmannian equilibrium

Werndl, Charlotte and Frigg, Roman (2015) Rethinking boltzmannian equilibrium. Philosophy of Science, 82 (5). pp. 1224-1235. ISSN 0031-8248

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Identification Number: 10.1086/683649


Boltzmannian statistical mechanics partitions the phase space of a sys- tem into macro-regions, and the largest of these is identified with equilibrium. What justifies this identification? Common answers focus on Boltzmann’s combinatorial argument, the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, and maxi- mum entropy considerations. We argue that they fail and present a new answer. We characterise equilibrium as the macrostate in which a system spends most of its time and prove a new theorem establishing that equilib- rium thus defined corresponds to the largest macro-region. Our derivation is completely general in that it does not rely on assumptions about a system’s dynamics or internal interactions.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2014 Philosophy of Science Association
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Centre for Analysis of Time Series
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Sets: Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Research centres and groups > Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)
Research centres and groups > Centre for the Analysis of Time Series (CATS)
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 09:04
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 03:09

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