Probability in Physics

Overview

What is the role and meaning of probability in physical theory, in particularin two of the most successful theories of our age, quantum physics andstatistical mechanics? Laws once conceived as universal and deterministic,such as Newton‘s laws of motion, or the second law of thermodynamics, are replaced in these theories by inherently probabilistic laws. This collectionof essays by some of the world‘s foremost experts presents an in-depthanalysis of the meaning of probability in contemporary physics. Among ...

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Overview

What is the role and meaning of probability in physical theory, in particularin two of the most successful theories of our age, quantum physics andstatistical mechanics? Laws once conceived as universal and deterministic,such as Newton‘s laws of motion, or the second law of thermodynamics, are replaced in these theories by inherently probabilistic laws. This collectionof essays by some of the world‘s foremost experts presents an in-depthanalysis of the meaning of probability in contemporary physics. Among thequestions addressed are: How are probabilities defined? Are they objective or subjective? What is theirexplanatory value? What are the differences between quantum and classical probabilities? The result is an informative and thought-provoking book for the scientificallyinquisitive.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From the reviews:

“This collection of 18 essays looks at the long-debated role of probability in physics. … This collection leaves readers appreciating the complexity of the philosophical problem. Physicists and philosophers of science should both find this interesting. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers/faculty, and professionals.” (E. Kincanon, Choice, Vol. 50 (1), September, 2012)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783642213281
  • Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Series: Frontiers Collection Series
  • Edition description: 2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Yemima Ben-Menahem is professor of philosophy at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has written extensively on the philosophy of science and is author of Conventionalism (Cambridge University Press).

Meir Hemmo is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Haifa. He has written extensively on the foundations of quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics and is co-author (with Orly Shenker) of The Road to Maxwell’s Demon (forthcoming in Cambridge University of Press).

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Table of Contents

Introduction.- Physics and Chance.- Typicality and the Role of the Lebesgue Measure in Statistical Mechanics.- Typicality and Notions of Probability in Physics.- Deterministic Laws and Epistemic Chances.- Measures over Initial Conditions.- A New Approach to the Approach to Equilibrium.- Revising Statistical Mechanics - Probability, Typicality and Closure Time.- How Many Maxwell's Demons and Where?.- Locality and Determinism: the Odd Couple.- Why the Tsirelson Bound?.- Three Attempts at Two Axioms for Quantum Mechanics.- Generalized Probability Measures and the Framework of Effects.- Infinitely Challenging: Pitowsky's Subjective Interpretation and the Physics of Infinite Systems.- Bayesian Conditioning, the Reflection Principle, and Quantum Decoherence.- The World According to de Finetti.- Four and a Half Axioms for Finite-Dimensional Quantum Probability.- Probability in the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.

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