Good just isn't good enough - Humean chances and Boltzmannian statistical physics

Publication Year:
Usage 272
Downloads 272
Social Media 2
Tweets 2
Repository URL:
Beisbart, Claus
preprint description
Statistical physicists assume a probability distribution over micro-states to explain thermodynamic behavior. The question of this paper is whether these probabilities are part of a best system and can thus be interpreted as Humean chances. I consider two Boltzmannian accounts of the Second Law, viz. a globalist and a localist one. In both cases, the probabilities fail to be chances because they have rivals that are roughly equally good. I conclude with the diagnosis that well-defined micro-probabilities under-estimate the robust character of explanations in statistical physics.