Event Details

Friday, 17 March 2017
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
UQ Location:
Forgan Smith Building (St Lucia)
Event category(s):

Event Contact

Ms Sue Quarton
3365 6320
Org. Unit:
Historical and Philosophical Inquiry

Event Description

Full Description:
Presenter: Patricia Palacios (Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy)

Phase transitions are sudden changes in the phenomenological properties of a system. Some common examples include the transition from liquid to gas, from a normal conductor to a superconductor, or from a paramagnet to a ferromagnet. Nowadays phase transitions are considered as one of the most interesting and controversial cases in discussions around reduction and emergence in science. This is because they make particularly salient the constitutive role played by idealisations in the inference of macroscopic behaviour from a theory that describe microscopic interactions. In fact, it appears that statistical mechanics (a well-established microscopic theory) cannot account for the behaviour of phase transitions as described by thermodynamics (a macroscopic theory) without the help of infinite idealisations.

In this contribution, I analyse the use of infinite idealisations in the theory of classical phase transitions and evaluate the extent to which they impose a challenge for the reduction of the phenomena. My main contention is that classical phase transitions are, in fact, compatible with inter-theory reduction.

Directions to UQ

Google Map:
To St Lucia Campus, UQ Ipswich, and UQ Gatton.

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