Infinite Systems in SM Explanations: Thermodynamic Limit, Renormalization (semi-) Groups, and Irreversibility

Philosophy of Science 68 (S3):S325-S344 (2001)
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Abstract

This paper examines the justifications for using infinite systems to ‘recover’ thermodynamic properties, such as phase transitions, critical phenomena, 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 to recover PT and in using renormalization group approach 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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References found in this work

Two concepts of intertheoretic reduction.Thomas Nickles - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (April):181-201.
Multiple realizability and universality.Robert W. Batterman - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (1):115-145.
Explaining the emergence of cooperative phenomena.Chuang Liu - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (3):106.

View all 7 references / Add more references