Are Statistical Laws Genuine Laws ? A Concern of Poincaré and Boltzmann

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    • Pages: 215 to 235
    • ISBN: 2-84174-150-8
    • ISSN: 1281-2463
    • Creation date: 04-01-2011
    • Last update: 04-01-2011



    Usually a law is understood as a rule which governs all the things of a certain area to which the law is applicable. Since statistical laws govern most of the things of such an area but allow exceptions for some of them – even if those exceptions are very improbable – there is the question whether statistical laws are genuine laws at all. This paper deals with four questions : – 1, Can all laws be reduced to dynamical laws ?; – 2, Are all laws (ultimately) statistical laws ?; – 3, The Discovery of Chaotic Motion; – 4, Boltzmann versus Poincaré : is Boltzmann’s statistical mechanics as an explanation for time-irreversible processes incompatible with Poincaré’s recurrence theorem ?