The Diversity of Models in Statistical Mechanics: Views about the Structure of Scientific Theories

  • Anouk Barberousse
Part of the Trends in Logic book series (TREN, volume 17)


My aim in this paper is to investigate both historically and philosophically some developments of statistical mechanics in order to gain insights into the nature of scientific theories. Picking out examples in the history as well as in contemporary issues, I shall analyze some of the fundamental problems facing statistical mechanics to work out general statements about what scientific theories are. Borrowing formalization methods from the physical sciences themselves as well as from philosophy, I shall attempt at showing that intertheoretical links are as essential tn a scientific theory as is its internal hierarchical structure.


Statistical Mechanic Boltzmann Equation Scientific Theory Microscopic Scale Macroscopic Variable 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    This was particularly striking during the 1998 STATPHYS Conference.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For philosophical presentations of these debates, see for instance [Sk193b] and [Gut99].Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cf. [Ste179].Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cf. Sections 2.1 and 3.2.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The notion of mixing is defined in Section 3.2.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cf for instance [Sup167], [Sup088], and [vFr80].Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cf. [B1a62a].Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    This strategy globally follows that exposed in [BaroLud00].Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cf. [Max60], [Max67], [Max79], [Bo168], [Bo171], [Bo172].Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cf. [Gib02], [Bor06], [Bor13], etc.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cf[P1a13] and [Ros213] for early demonstrations of the impossibility of ergodic mechanical systems. The history of statistical mechanics can be found in [Bru76] and [vP194].Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cf. [Rue69] .Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    Cf. [Max79] .Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Cf. [EarRéd96].Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Cf. [Max60] .Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    This corresponds to the “first formulation of ergodic hypothesis” in Section 2.1.Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    Cf. [Wig70] and [Wig85].Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    Cf for instance [Sin076].Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Cf. [EarRéd96], as well as [Leb93a], [Leb93b], and [Leb99].Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    For the notion of ‘controlled idealization’,cf. [Sk193a].Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Cf. [Gal098].Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    Cf. [Bo171] and [Bo172].Google Scholar
  23. 24.
    Cf. [Gib02] .Google Scholar
  24. 25.
    Cf. for instance [LebPreSpo88].Google Scholar
  25. 26.
    Cf. [Bru76] .Google Scholar
  26. 27.
    Cf. [Lan75] and [Lan81] .Google Scholar
  27. 28.
    Cf for instance the review in [Dor98].Google Scholar
  28. 29.
    Cf. for instance [Sin076], [RueSin086] and [Ga1098].Google Scholar
  29. 30.
    Cf. [Gal098].Google Scholar
  30. 31.
    Cf for instance [Sin076].Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anouk Barberousse
    • 1
  1. 1.Équipe REHSEIS (Recherches Epistémologiques et Historiques sur les Sciences Exactes et les Institutions Scientifiques)Centre National de la Recherche ScientifiqueParis CedexFrance

Personalised recommendations