Explaining the emergence of cooperative phenomena

Philosophy of Science 66 (3):106 (1999)

Abstract

Phase transitions are well-understood phenomena in thermodynamics (TD), but it turns out that they are mathematically impossible in finite SM systems. Hence, phase transitions are truly emergent properties. They appear again at the thermodynamic limit (TL), i.e., in infinite systems. However, most, if not all, systems in which they occur are finite, so whence comes the justification for taking TL? The problem is then traced back to the TD characterization of phase transitions, and it turns out that the characterization is the result of serious idealizations which under suitable circumstances approximate actual conditions

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Chuang Liu
University of Florida

References found in this work

Emergence, Not Supervenience.Paul W. Humphreys - 1997 - Philosophy of Science Supplement 64 (4):337-45.
Emergence, Not Supervenience.Paul Humphreys - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (S4):S337-S345.

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Citations of this work

Compendium of the Foundations of Classical Statistical Physics.Jos Uffink - 2005 - In Jeremy Butterfield & John Earman (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Physics. Elsevier.
Taking Thermodynamics Too Seriously.Craig Callender - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32 (4):539-553.
Critical Phenomena and Breaking Drops: Infinite Idealizations in Physics.Robert Batterman - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (2):225-244.

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