Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 23 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

It is often claimed, or hoped, that some temporal asymmetries are explained by the thermodynamic asymmetry in time. Thermodynamics, the macroscopic physics of pressure, temperature, volume, and so on, describes many temporally asymmetric processes. Heat flows spontaneously from hot objects to cold objects (in closed systems), never the reverse. More generally, systems spontaneously move from non-equilibrium states to equilibrium states, never the reverse. Delving into the foundations of statistical mechanics, this chapter reviews the many open questions in that field as they relate to temporal asymmetry. Taking a stand on many of them, it tackles questions about the nature of probabilities, the role of boundary conditions, and even the nature and scope of statistical mechanics.

Keywords: temporal asymmetries, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, probabilities, boundary conditions

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.