Ambiguities in order-theoretic formulations of thermodynamics

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Marsland III, Robert; Brown, Harvey R.; Valente, Giovanni
preprint description
Since the 1909 work of Carathéodory, formulations of thermodynamics have gained ground which highlight the role of the the binary relation of adiabatic accessibility between equilibrium states. A feature of Carathéodory's system is that the version therein of the second law contains an ambiguity about the nature of irreversible adiabatic processes, making it weaker than the traditional Kelvin-Planck statement of the law. This paper attempts first to clarify the nature of this ambiguity, by defining the arrow of time in thermodynamics by way of the Equilibrium Principle ("Minus First Law''). It then argues that the ambiguity reappears in the important 1999 axiomatisation due to Lieb and Yngvason.