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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews selected aspects of the terrain of discussion of the role of probabilities in statistical mechanics. Among the topics addressed are the reasons for introduction of probabilities into statistical mechanics, the status of the standard equilibrium distribution, and the question of interpretation of statistical mechanical probabilities. The chapter starts with a brief history of probabilities in physics and the evolution of statistical mechanics therefrom. The approaches of Boltzmann and Gibbs are presented, and then some approaches to justifying choice of probability measures. The chapter closes with a presentation of possible resolutions to some puzzling aspects of the use of standard probability measures.

Keywords: Statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, entropy, method of arbitrary function, epistemic chance, Maxwell, Boltzmann, Gibbs

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