Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Probabilities in Physics$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Claus Beisbart and Stephan Hartmann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577439.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 July 2020

Subjective Probability and Statistical Physics

Subjective Probability and Statistical Physics

(p.25) 2 Subjective Probability and Statistical Physics
Probabilities in Physics

Jos Uffink

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines subjectivist interpretations of probabilities in statistical physics. It provides an introduction to subjectivism about probabilities and its main tenets by tracing its history, ranging from Bernoulli up to Ramsey and de Finetti. The chapter also analyzes foundational work in statistical physics by Maxwell and Boltzmann and finds that, at a surface level, subjective probabilities were often rejected. However, some assumptions in statistical physics are better understood if the probabilities are taken as subjective. From a systematic point of view, the chapter argues that subjectivism provides a viable interpretation of probabilities in statistical mechanics. However, claims to the effect that subjectivism can overcome problems with more objectivist interpretations are rejected. In particular, Jaynes' argument for the Second Law of Thermodynamics is found wanting.

Keywords:   probabilities, statistical mechanics, subjectivism, Second Law of Thermodynamics, Maxwell, Boltzmann, de Finetti, E. T. Jaynes

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .