Laws and statistical mechanics

Philosophy of Science 71 (5):707-718 (2004)
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Abstract

This paper explores some connections between competing conceptions of scientific laws on the one hand, and a problem in the foundations of statistical mechanics on the other. I examine two proposals for understanding the time asymmetry of thermodynamic phenomenal: David Albert's recent proposal and a proposal that I outline based on Hans Reichenbach's “branch systems”. I sketch an argument against the former, and mount a defense of the latter by showing how to accommodate statistical mechanics to recent developments in the philosophy of scientific laws.

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Eric Winsberg
University of South Florida

References found in this work

How the laws of physics lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The direction of time.Hans Reichenbach - 1956 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Maria Reichenbach.
Time and chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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