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Relation of objective probability and work potential

  1. Jan 5, 2014 #1
    The question assumes that there really exists an objective probability such as disposition or propensity that is an extensive property of a state of affairs.

    Usually the dissipation of a work potential is associated with the mechanical motion of a system, and work potential is the free energy in joules that is available for work.

    In sociology and economics, however, "work" is used in a much looser sense as merely a change of state without necessarily implying motion. For example, "A student will soon find out that learning takes a lot of work". I am seeking a physical justification for this loose usage in which the resulting change in state does not involve motion.

    It occurs to me that work overcomes forces, and all forces involve interchange of virtual particles such as electrons, protons and gravitons. So then one might conclude that any change of state involves motion at least at at the quantum level.

    I want to know if it is true that a measure of work potential can be the value of a system's improbability, assuming its has access to a more probable state? If not, why not? Can this generalization be justified without recourse to quantum phenomena?

    Haines Brown
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    See "work energy relation" for work that does not involve (bulk) motion - but you may have to accept that there is no need for a physical justification for the different ways words are used in the English language.

    Physics gets the technical term because of the looser social term, not the other way around.
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