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An Alternative Interpretation of Statistical Mechanics

McCoy, C.D. (2020) An Alternative Interpretation of Statistical Mechanics. Erkenntnis, 85 (1). pp. 1-21. ISSN 0165-0106

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In this paper I propose an interpretation of classical statistical mechanics that centers on taking seriously the idea that probability measures represent complete states of statistical mechanical systems. I show how this leads naturally to the idea that the stochasticity of statistical mechanics is associated directly with the observables of the theory rather than with the microstates (as traditional accounts would have it). The usual assumption that microstates are representationally significant in the theory is therefore dispensable, a consequence which suggests interesting possibilities for developing non-equilibrium statistical mechanics and investigating inter-theoretic answers to the foundational questions of statistical mechanics.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Keywords: probability, statistical mechanics, theory interpretation
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Dr. Casey McCoy
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2020 05:01
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2020 05:01
Item ID: 16951
Journal or Publication Title: Erkenntnis
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
DOI or Unique Handle:
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: 4 February 2020
Page Range: pp. 1-21
Volume: 85
Number: 1
ISSN: 0165-0106

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