I discuss the statistical mechanics of gravitating systems and in particular its cosmological implications, and argue that many conventional views on this subject in the foundations of statistical mechanics embody significant confusion; I attempt to provide a clearer and more accurate account. In particular, I observe that (i) the role of gravity in entropy calculations must be distinguished from the entropy of gravity, that (ii) although gravitational collapse is entropy-increasing, this is not usually because the collapsing matter itself increases in entropy, and that (iii) the Second Law of thermodynamics does not owe its validity to the statistical mechanics of gravitational collapse.
British Journal for Philosophy of Science
- Pub Date:
- April 2010
- Condensed Matter - Statistical Mechanics;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
- 25 pages