Philosophical Concepts in Physics

The Historical Relation between Philosophy and Scientific Theories

Author: James T. Cushing

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521578233

Category: Science

Page: 448

View: 3382

This book examines a selection of philosophical issues in the context of specific episodes in the development of physical theories and presents scientific advances within their historical and philosophical contexts. Philosophical considerations have played an essential and ineliminable role in the actual practice of science. The book begins with some necessary introduction to the history of ancient and early modern science, but emphasizes the two great watersheds of twentieth-century physics: relativity and quantum mechanics. At times the term "construction" may seem more appropriate than "discovery" for the way theories have developed and, especially in later chapters, the discussion focuses on the influence of historical, philosophical and even social factors on the form and content of scientific theories.

Philosophical Concepts in Physics

The Historical Relation between Philosophy and Scientific Theories

Author: James T. Cushing

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521570718

Category: Science

Page: 444

View: 1329

This book examines a selection of philosophical issues in the context of specific episodes in the development of physical theories and presents scientific advances within their historical and philosophical contexts. Philosophical considerations have played an essential and ineliminable role in the actual practice of science. The book begins with some necessary introduction to the history of ancient and early modern science, but emphasizes the two great watersheds of twentieth-century physics: relativity and quantum mechanics. At times the term "construction" may seem more appropriate than "discovery" for the way theories have developed and, especially in later chapters, the discussion focuses on the influence of historical, philosophical and even social factors on the form and content of scientific theories.

Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity

Metaphysical Intimations of Modern Physics

Author: Tim Maudlin

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1444331264

Category: Philosophy

Page: 298

View: 2370

"Quantum Non-Locality and Relativity is recognized as the premier philosophical study of Bell's Theorem and its implication for the relativistic account of space and time. Previous editions have been praised for the remarkable clarity of Maudlin's descriptions of both Bell's theorem and his examination of the potential conflict between the theorem and relativity. The third edition of this text has been carefully updated to reflect significant developments, including a new chapter covering important recent work in the foundations of physics. Foremost among these is Roderich Tumiulka's explicit, relativistic theory that can reproduce the quantum mechanical violation of Bell's inequality. The "Free Will Theorem" of John Conway and Simon Kochen is also discussed, as is the status of locality in the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum theory. The book has also been updated to reflect recent results in information theory. The book introduces philosophers to the relevant physics and demonstrates how philosophical analysis can help to resolve some of the problems, and requires no technical background in Physics. All of the physics is presented from first principles, and as much as possible is presented pictorially"--Provided by publisher.

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Author: Rudolf Carnap

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 0486140865

Category: Science

Page: 336

View: 8394

Stimulating, thought-provoking text by one of the 20th century's most creative philosophers makes accessible such topics as probability, measurement and quantitative language, causality and determinism, theoretical laws and concepts, more.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

50th Anniversary Edition

Author: Thomas S. Kuhn

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226458148

Category: Science

Page: 264

View: 9145

A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age. This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.

Chemistry Education and Contributions from History and Philosophy of Science

Author: Mansoor Niaz

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319262483

Category: Science

Page: 250

View: 5921

This book explores the relationship between the content of chemistry education and the history and philosophy of science (HPS) framework that underlies such education. It discusses the need to present an image that reflects how chemistry developed and progresses. It proposes that chemistry should be taught the way it is practiced by chemists: as a human enterprise, at the interface of scientific practice and HPS. Finally, it sets out to convince teachers to go beyond the traditional classroom practice and explore new teaching strategies. The importance of HPS has been recognized for the science curriculum since the middle of the 20th century. The need for teaching chemistry within a historical context is not difficult to understand as HPS is not far below the surface in any science classroom. A review of the literature shows that the traditional chemistry classroom, curricula, and textbooks while dealing with concepts such as law, theory, model, explanation, hypothesis, observation, evidence and idealization, generally ignore elements of the history and philosophy of science. This book proposes that the conceptual understanding of chemistry requires knowledge and understanding of the history and philosophy of science. “Professor Niaz’s book is most welcome, coming at a time when there is an urgently felt need to upgrade the teaching of science. The book is a huge aid for adding to the usual way - presenting science as a series of mere facts - also the necessary mandate: to show how science is done, and how science, through its history and philosophy, is part of the cultural development of humanity.” Gerald Holton, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics & Professor of History of Science, Harvard University “In this stimulating and sophisticated blend of history of chemistry, philosophy of science, and science pedagogy, Professor Mansoor Niaz has succeeded in offering a promising new approach to the teaching of fundamental ideas in chemistry. Historians and philosophers of chemistry --- and above all, chemistry teachers --- will find this book full of valuable and highly usable new ideas” Alan Rocke, Case Western Reserve University “This book artfully connects chemistry and chemistry education to the human context in which chemical science is practiced and the historical and philosophical background that illuminates that practice. Mansoor Niaz deftly weaves together historical episodes in the quest for scientific knowledge with the psychology of learning and philosophical reflections on the nature of scientific knowledge and method. The result is a compelling case for historically and philosophically informed science education. Highly recommended!” Harvey Siegel, University of Miami “Books that analyze the philosophy and history of science in Chemistry are quite rare. ‘Chemistry Education and Contributions from History and Philosophy of Science’ by Mansoor Niaz is one of the rare books on the history and philosophy of chemistry and their importance in teaching this science. The book goes through all the main concepts of chemistry, and analyzes the historical and philosophical developments as well as their reflections in textbooks. Closest to my heart is Chapter 6, which is devoted to the chemical bond, the glue that holds together all matter in our earth. The chapter emphasizes the revolutionary impact of the concept of the ‘covalent bond’ on the chemical community and the great novelty of the idea that was conceived 11 years before quantum mechanics was able to offer the mechanism of electron pairing and covalent bonding. The author goes then to describe the emergence of two rival theories that explained the nature of the chemical bond in terms of quantum mechanics; these are valence bond (VB) and molecular orbital (MO) theories. He emphasizes the importance of having rival theories and interpretations in science and its advancement. He further argues that this VB-MO rivalry is still alive and together the two conceptual frames serve as the tool kit for thinking and doing chemistry in creative manners. The author surveys chemistry textbooks in the light of the how the books preserve or not the balance between the two theories in describing various chemical phenomena. This Talmudic approach of conceptual tension is a universal characteristic of any branch of evolving wisdom. As such, Mansoor’s book would be of great utility for chemistry teachers to examine how can they become more effective teachers by recognizing the importance of conceptual tension”. Sason Shaik Saeree K. and Louis P. Fiedler Chair in Chemistry Director, The Lise Meitner-Minerva Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ISRAEL

Conjectures and Refutations

The Growth of Scientific Knowledge

Author: Karl Popper

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135971374

Category: Philosophy

Page: 608

View: 1140

Conjectures and Refutations is one of Karl Popper's most wide-ranging and popular works, notable not only for its acute insight into the way scientific knowledge grows, but also for applying those insights to politics and to history. It provides one of the clearest and most accessible statements of the fundamental idea that guided his work: not only our knowledge, but our aims and our standards, grow through an unending process of trial and error.

Physics and Metaphysics

Theories of Space and Time

Author: Jennifer Trusted

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134929714

Category: Philosophy

Page: 224

View: 5081

Jennifer Trusted's new book argues that metaphysical beliefs are essential for scientific inquiry. The theories, presuppositions and beliefs that neither science nor everyday experience can justify are the realm of metaphysics, literally `beyond physics'. These basic beliefs form a framework for our activities and can be discovered in science, common sense and religion. By examining the history of science from the eleventh century to the present, this book shows how religious and mystical beliefs, as well as philosophical speculation have had a considerable role in motivating scientists and inspiring scientific inquiry. Physics and Metaphysics presupposes no technical knowledge of either philosophy or science. It is an ideal introduction to science and the important forces that have shaped its history and ideas.

Philosophies of the Sciences

A Guide

Author: Fritz Allhoff

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1119144817

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 8577

A collection of essays discussing a wide range of sciences and the central philosophical issues associated with them, presenting the sciences collectively to encourage a greater understanding of their associative theoretical foundations, as well as their relationships to each other. Offers a new and unique approach to studying and comparing the philosophies of a variety of scientific disciplines Explores a wide variety of individual sciences, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology and economics The essays are written by leading scholars in a highly accessible style for the student audience Complements more traditional studies of philosophy of science

The Ashgate Companion to Contemporary Philosophy of Physics

Author: Dean Rickles

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317044312

Category: Philosophy

Page: 392

View: 2707

Introducing the reader to the very latest developments in the philosophical foundations of physics, this book covers advanced material at a level suitable for beginner and intermediate students. A detailed overview is provided of the central debates in the philosophy of quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, quantum computation, and quantum gravity. Each chapter consists of a 'state of the art' review written by a specialist in the field and introduces the reader to the relevant formal aspects along with the philosophical implications. These, and the various interpretive options, are developed in a self-contained, clear, and concise manner. Special care is given to situating the reader within the contemporary debates by providing numerous references and readings. This book thus enables both philosophers and physicists to engage with the most pressing problems in contemporary philosophy of physics in a fruitful way.

String Theory and the Scientific Method

Author: Richard Dawid

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107067588

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 8592

String theory has played a highly influential role in theoretical physics for nearly three decades and has substantially altered our view of the elementary building principles of the Universe. However, the theory remains empirically unconfirmed, and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. So why do string theorists have such a strong belief in their theory? This book explores this question, offering a novel insight into the nature of theory assessment itself. Dawid approaches the topic from a unique position, having extensive experience in both philosophy and high-energy physics. He argues that string theory is just the most conspicuous example of a number of theories in high-energy physics where non-empirical theory assessment has an important part to play. Aimed at physicists and philosophers of science, the book does not use mathematical formalism and explains most technical terms.

Scientific Controversies

Philosophical and Historical Perspectives

Author: Peter K. Machamer,Marcello Pera,Aristeidēs Baltas

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 0195119878

Category: Science

Page: 278

View: 5358

Social constructionists claim that scientific debates are influenced by non-evidential factors such as the rhetoric and professional clout of the participants. These essays undermine an extreme social constructionist perspective and indicate the need for a more realistic scientific rationality.

Theory and Reality

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Author: Peter Godfrey-Smith

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226300610

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 3780

How does science work? Does it tell us what the world is "really" like? What makes it different from other ways of understanding the universe? In Theory and Reality, Peter Godfrey-Smith addresses these questions by taking the reader on a grand tour of one hundred years of debate about science. The result is a completely accessible introduction to the main themes of the philosophy of science. Intended for undergraduates and general readers with no prior background in philosophy, Theory and Reality covers logical positivism; the problems of induction and confirmation; Karl Popper's theory of science; Thomas Kuhn and "scientific revolutions"; the views of Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, and Paul Feyerabend; and challenges to the field from sociology of science, feminism, and science studies. The book then looks in more detail at some specific problems and theories, including scientific realism, the theory-ladeness of observation, scientific explanation, and Bayesianism. Finally, Godfrey-Smith defends a form of philosophical naturalism as the best way to solve the main problems in the field. Throughout the text he points out connections between philosophical debates and wider discussions about science in recent decades, such as the infamous "science wars." Examples and asides engage the beginning student; a glossary of terms explains key concepts; and suggestions for further reading are included at the end of each chapter. However, this is a textbook that doesn't feel like a textbook because it captures the historical drama of changes in how science has been conceived over the last one hundred years. Like no other text in this field, Theory and Reality combines a survey of recent history of the philosophy of science with current key debates in language that any beginning scholar or critical reader can follow.


An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science

Author: Richard DeWitt

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 144439276X

Category: Science

Page: 392

View: 1303

Updated throughout and with three entirely new chapters, Worldviews: An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science, Second Edition furthers its reputation as the definitive introductory text on the historical developments and philosophical issues that inform our scientific view of the world around us. Represents an innovative introduction to the history and philosophy of science, designed especially for those coming to the subject for the first time Updated new edition features the addition of chapters focusing on scientific laws, evolutionary theory, and implications of evolution Covers the key historical developments and philosophical themes that have impacted our scientific view of the world around us Analyzes the transitions from the Aristotelian worldview to the Newtonian worldview to a new and currently developing worldview Explores challenges to the Western scientific worldview brought on by recent discoveries

The Quantum Vacuum

A Scientific and Philosophical Concept, from Electrodynamics to String Theory and the Geometry of the Microscopic World

Author: Luciano Boi

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 1421402475

Category: Science

Page: 222

View: 9842

A vacuum, classically understood, contains nothing. The quantum vacuum, on the other hand, is a seething cauldron of nothingness: particle pairs going in and out of existence continuously and rapidly while exerting influence over an enormous range of scales. Acclaimed mathematical physicist and natural philosopher Luciano Boi expounds the quantum vacuum, exploring the meaning of nothingness and its relationship with physical reality. Boi first provides a deep analysis of the interaction between geometry and physics at the quantum level. He next describes the relationship between the microscopic and macroscopic structures of the world. In so doing, Boi sheds light on the very nature of the universe, stressing in an original and profound way the relationship between quantum geometry and the internal symmetries underlying the behavior of matter and the interactions of forces. Beyond the physics and mathematics of the quantum vacuum, Boi offers a profoundly philosophical interpretation of the concept. Plato and Aristotle did not believe a vacuum was possible. How could nothing be something, they asked? Boi traces the evolution of the quantum vacuum from an abstract concept in ancient Greece to its fundamental role in quantum field theory and string theory in modern times. The quantum vacuum is a complex entity, one essential to understanding some of the most intriguing issues in twentieth-century physics, including cosmic singularity, dark matter and energy, and the existence of the Higgs boson particle. Boi explains with simple clarity the relevant theories and fundamental concepts of the quantum vacuum. Theoretical, mathematical, and particle physicists, as well as researchers and students of the history and philosophy of physics, will find The Quantum Vacuum to be a stimulating and engaging primer on the topic.

A Historical Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Author: John Losee

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780198700555

Category: Science

Page: 328

View: 5708

John Losee provides a balanced and engaging survey of the development of views about scientific method. Ideal for those coming to the subject for the first time, this fully updated new edition incorporates discussion on contemporary debates, including philosophy of biology, normative naturalism, theory appraisal, experimental practice, and scientific realism. Concise profiles of the major philosophers discussed within the text are provided, including Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Whewell, Hempel, and Kuhn.

Shakespeare's Possible Worlds

Author: Simon Palfrey

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107058279

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 392

View: 4582

Simon Palfrey offers a new way of understanding Shakespeare's playworlds, with piercingly original readings of language, scenes, and characters.

Einstein's Jewish Science

Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion

Author: Steven Gimbel

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 1421405547

Category: History

Page: 245

View: 3237

Is relativity Jewish? The Nazis denigrated Albert Einstein’s revolutionary theory by calling it "Jewish science," a charge typical of the ideological excesses of Hitler and his followers. Philosopher of science Steven Gimbel explores the many meanings of this provocative phrase and considers whether there is any sense in which Einstein’s theory of relativity is Jewish. Arguing that we must take seriously the possibility that the Nazis were in some measure correct, Gimbel examines Einstein and his work to explore how beliefs, background, and environment may—or may not—have influenced the work of the scientist. You cannot understand Einstein’s science, Gimbel declares, without knowing the history, religion, and philosophy that influenced it. No one, especially Einstein himself, denies Einstein's Jewish heritage, but many are uncomfortable saying that he was being a Jew while he was at his desk working. To understand what "Jewish" means for Einstein’s work, Gimbel first explores the many definitions of "Jewish" and asks whether there are elements of Talmudic thinking apparent in Einstein’s theory of relativity. He applies this line of inquiry to other scientists, including Isaac Newton, René Descartes, Sigmund Freud, and Émile Durkheim, to consider whether their specific religious beliefs or backgrounds manifested in their scientific endeavors. Einstein's Jewish Science intertwines science, history, philosophy, theology, and politics in fresh and fascinating ways to solve the multifaceted riddle of what religion means—and what it means to science. There are some senses, Gimbel claims, in which Jews can find a special connection to E = mc2, and this claim leads to the engaging, spirited debate at the heart of this book.

Representing and Intervening

Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science

Author: Ian Hacking

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 110726815X

Category: Science

Page: N.A

View: 3201

This 1983 book is a lively and clearly written introduction to the philosophy of natural science, organized around the central theme of scientific realism. It has two parts. 'Representing' deals with the different philosophical accounts of scientific objectivity and the reality of scientific entities. The views of Kuhn, Feyerabend, Lakatos, Putnam, van Fraassen, and others, are all considered. 'Intervening' presents the first sustained treatment of experimental science for many years and uses it to give a new direction to debates about realism. Hacking illustrates how experimentation often has a life independent of theory. He argues that although the philosophical problems of scientific realism can not be resolved when put in terms of theory alone, a sound philosophy of experiment provides compelling grounds for a realistic attitude. A great many scientific examples are described in both parts of the book, which also includes lucid expositions of recent high energy physics and a remarkable chapter on the microscope in cell biology.