Good just isn't Good Enough: Humean Chances and Boltzmannian Statistical Physics

Beisbart, Claus (2014). Good just isn't Good Enough: Humean Chances and Boltzmannian Statistical Physics. In: Calvotti, Maria Carla; Dieks, Dennis; Gonzalez, W. J.; Hartmann, Stephan; Uebel, Thomas; Weber, Marcel (eds.) New Directions in the Philosophy of Science. The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective: Vol. 5 (pp. 511-529). Cham, Heidelberg etc.: Springer 10.1007/978-3-319-04382-1_36

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Statistical physicists assume a probability distribution over micro-states to explain thermodynamic behavior. The question of this paper is whether these probabilities are part of a best system and can thus be interpreted as Humean chances. I consider two Boltzmannian accounts of the Second Law, viz.\ a globalist and a localist one. In both cases, the probabilities fail to be chances because they have rivals that are roughly equally good. I conclude with the diagnosis that well-defined micro-probabilities under-estimate the robust character of explanations in statistical physics.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Theoretical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Beisbart, Claus

Subjects:

100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 110 Metaphysics
100 Philosophy > 120 Epistemology

ISBN:

978-3-319-04382-1

Series:

The Philosophy of Science in a European Perspective

Publisher:

Springer

Submitter:

Claus Beisbart

Date Deposited:

13 Mar 2015 16:34

Last Modified:

07 May 2015 16:00

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/978-3-319-04382-1_36

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.64947

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/64947

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