Can Informational Thermal Physics explain the Approach to Equilibrium?

Synthese 199 (1-2):4015–4038 (2021)
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Abstract

In this paper I will defend the incapacity of the informational frameworks in thermal physics, mainly those that historically and conceptually derive from the work of Brillouin (1962) and Jaynes (1957a), to robustly explain the approach of certain gaseous systems to their state of thermal equilibrium from the dynamics of their molecular components. I will further argue that, since their various interpretative, conceptual and technical-formal resources (e.g. epistemic interpretations of probabilities and entropy measures, identification of thermal entropy as Shannon information, and so on) are shown to be somehow incoherent, inconsistent or inaccurate, these informational proposals need to 'epistemically parasitize' the manifold of theoretical resources of Boltzmann's and Gibbs' statistical mechanics, respectively, in order to properly account for the equilibration process of an ideal gas from its microscopic properties. Finally, our conclusion leads us to adopt a sort of constructive skepticism regarding the explanatory value of the main informationalist trends in statistical thermophysics.

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Javier Anta
Universidad de Sevilla

Citations of this work

Can Information Concepts have Physical Content?Javier Anta - 2023 - Perspectives on Science 31 (2):207-232.
Historical and Conceptual Foundations of Information Physics.Anta Javier - 2021 - Dissertation, Universitat de Barcelona

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References found in this work

Time and chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The philosophy of information.Luciano Floridi - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Science and information theory.Léon Brillouin - 1956 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications.

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