8 found
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  1.  56
    Asymmetry, Abstraction, and Autonomy: Justifying Coarse-Graining in Statistical Mechanics.Katie Robertson - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):547-579.
    While the fundamental laws of physics are time-reversal invariant, most macroscopic processes are irreversible. Given that the fundamental laws are taken to underpin all other processes, how can the fundamental time-symmetry be reconciled with the asymmetry manifest elsewhere? In statistical mechanics, progress can be made with this question. What I dub the ‘Zwanzig–Zeh–Wallace framework’ can be used to construct the irreversible equations of SM from the underlying microdynamics. Yet this framework uses coarse-graining, a procedure that has faced much criticism. I (...)
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  2.  11
    In Search of the Holy Grail: How to Reduce the Second Law of Thermodynamics.Katie Robertson - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
  3.  10
    Emerging Into the Rainforest: Emergence and Special Science Ontology.Alexander Franklin & Katie Robertson - unknown
    Many philosophers of science are ontologically committed to a lush rainforest of special science entities ), but are often reticent about the criteria that determine which entities count as real. On the other hand, the metaphysics literature is much more forthcoming about such criteria, but often links ontological commitment to irreducibility. We argue that the irreducibility criteria are in tension with scientific realism: for example, they would exclude viruses, which are plausibly theoretically reducible and yet play a sufficiently important role (...)
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  4.  53
    Stars and Steam Engines: To What Extent Do Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Apply to Self-Gravitating Systems?Katie Robertson - 2019 - Synthese 196 (5):1783-1808.
    Foundational puzzles surround gravitational thermal physics—a realm in which stars are treated as akin to molecules in a gas. Whether such an enterprise is successful and the domain of thermal physics extends beyond our terrestrial sphere is disputed. There are successes and paradoxical features. Callender :960–981, 2011) advocates reconciling the two sides of the dispute by taking a broader view of thermodynamics. Here I argue for an alternative position: if we are careful in distinguishing statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, then no (...)
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  5.  89
    Landauer Defended: Reply to Norton.James A. C. Ladyman & Katie Robertson - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (3):263-271.
    Ladyman, Presnell, and Short proposed a model of the implementation of logical operations by physical processes in order to clarify the exact statement of Landauer's Principle, and then offered a new proof of the latter based on the construction of a thermodynamic cycle, arguing that if Landauer's Principle were false it would be possible to harness a machine that violated it to produce a violation of the second law of thermodynamics. In a recent paper in this journal, John Norton directly (...)
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  6.  22
    Can the Two-Time Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Solve the Measurement Problem?Katie Robertson - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 58:54-62.
    Over many years, Aharonov and co-authors have proposed a new interpretation of quantum mechanics: the two-time interpretation. This interpretation assigns two wavefunctions to a system, one of which propagates forwards in time and the other backwards. In this paper, I argue that this interpretation does not solve the measurement problem. In addition, I argue that it is neither necessary nor sufficient to attribute causal power to the backwards-evolving wavefunction ⟨Φ| and thus its existence should be denied, contra the two-time interpretation. (...)
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  7.  12
    Going Round in Circles: Landauer Vs. Norton on the Thermodynamics of Computation.James Ladyman & Katie Robertson - 2014 - Entropy 16.
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  8.  8
    Autonomy Generalised; or, Why Doesn’T Physics Matter More?Katie Robertson - forthcoming - Ergo.
    In what sense are the special sciences autonomous of fundamental physics? Autonomy is an enduring theme in discussions of the relationship between the special sciences and fundamental physics or, more generally, between higher and lower-level facts. Discussion of ‘autonomy’ often fails to recognise that autonomy admits of degrees; consequently, autonomy is either taken to require full independence, or risk relegation to mere apparent autonomy. In addition, the definition of autonomy used by Fodor, the most famous proponent of the autonomy of (...)
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