Infinite systems in SM explanations: Thermodynamic limit, renormalization (semi-) groups, and irreversibility

Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S325- (2001)
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This paper examines the justifications for using infinite systems to 'recover' thermodynamic properties, such as phase transitions (PT), critical phenomena (CP), and irreversibility, from the micro-structure of matter in bulk. Section 2 is a summary of such rigorous methods as in taking the thermodynamic limit (TL) to recover PT and in using renormalization (semi-) group approach (RG) to explain the universality of critical exponents. Section 3 examines various possible justifications for taking TL on physically finite systems. Section 4 discusses the legitimacy of applying TL to the problem of irreversibility and assesses the repercussions for its legitimacy on its home turf



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Chuang Liu
University of Florida

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