The Five Problems of Irreversibility

Por • 8 abr, 2020 • Sección: Filosofía

Michael te Vrugt

Thermodynamics has a clear arrow of time, characterized by the irreversible approach to equilibrium. This stands in contrast to the laws of microscopic theories, which are invariant under time-reversal. In this article, I show that the difficulty in solving this «problem of irreversibility» partly arises from the fact that it actually consists of five different sub-problems. These concern the source of irreversibility in thermodynamics, the definition of equilibrium and entropy, the justification of coarse-graining, the approach to equilibrium and the arrow of time. Not distinguishing them can lead and has led to terminological confusion, apparent contradictions between positions that are actually compatible, and difficulties in connecting the debates in physics and philosophy of physics.

arXiv:2004.01276v1 [physics.hist-ph]

History and Philosophy of Physics (physics.hist-ph); Statistical Mechanics (cond-mat.stat-mech)

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