Framing the Epistemic Schism of Statistical Mechanics

Proceedings of the X Conference of the Spanish Society of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (2021)
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Abstract

In this talk I present the main results from Anta (2021), namely, that the theoretical division between Boltzmannian and Gibbsian statistical mechanics should be understood as a separation in the epistemic capabilities of this physical discipline. In particular, while from the Boltzmannian framework one can generate powerful explanations of thermal processes by appealing to their microdynamics, from the Gibbsian framework one can predict observable values in a computationally effective way. Finally, I argue that this statistical mechanical schism contradicts the Hempelian (1958) thesis that the predictive power of a scientific theory is directly proportional to its explanatory potential, and vice versa

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Javier Anta
Universidad de Sevilla

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