Pursues the development of physics from Galileo and Newton to Einstein and the founders of quantum mechanics.
Author: Roberto Torretti
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Appearance and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics addresses quantum mechanics and relativity and their philosophical implications, focusing on whether these theories of modern physics can help us know nature as it really is, or only as it appears to us. The author clearly explains the foundational concepts and principles of both quantum mechanics and relativity and then uses them to argue that we can know more than mere appearances, and that we can know to some extent the way things really are. He argues that modern physics gives us reason to believe that we can know some things about the objective, real world, but he also acknowledges that we cannot know everything, which results in a position he calls "realistic realism." This book is not a survey of possible philosophical interpretations of modern physics, nor does it leap from a caricature of the physics to some wildly alarming metaphysics. Instead, it is careful with the physics and true to the evidence in arriving at its own realistic conclusions. It presents the physics without mathematics, and makes extensive use of diagrams and analogies to explain important ideas. Engaging and accessible, Appearance and Reality serves as an ideal introduction for anyone interested in the intersection of philosophy and physics, including students in philosophy of physics and philosophy of science courses.
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics
Author: Peter Kosso
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Does the future exist already? What is space? Are time machines physically possible? What is quantum mechanical reality like? Are there many universes? Is there a ‘true’ geometry of the universe? Why does there appear to be an arrow of time? Do humans play a special role in the world? In this unique introductory book, Dean Rickles guides the reader through these and other core questions that keep philosophers of physics up at night. He discusses the three pillars of modern physics (quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and the theories of relativity), in addition to more cutting-edge themes such as econophysics, quantum gravity, quantum computers, and gauge theories. The book’s approach is based on the idea that philosophy of physics is a kind of ‘interpretation game’ in which we try to map physical theories onto our world. But the rules of this game often lead to a multiplicity of possible victors: rarely do we encounter a simple answer. The Philosophy of Physics offers a highly accessible introduction to the latest developments in this exciting field. Written in a lively style, with many visual examples, it will appeal to beginner-level students in both physics and philosophy.
Author: Dean Rickles
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
This Oxford Handbook provides an overview of many of the topics that currently engage philosophers of physics. It surveys new issues and the problems that have become a focus of attention in recent years. It also provides up-to-date discussions of the still very important problems that dominated the field in the past. In the late 20th Century, the philosophy of physics was largely focused on orthodox Quantum Mechanics and Relativity Theory. The measurement problem, the question of the possibility of hidden variables, and the nature of quantum locality dominated the literature on the quantum mechanics, whereas questions about relationalism vs. substantivalism, and issues about underdetermination of theories dominated the literature on spacetime. These issues still receive considerable attention from philosophers, but many have shifted their attentions to other questions related to quantum mechanics and to spacetime theories. Quantum field theory has become a major focus, particularly from the point of view of algebraic foundations. Concurrent with these trends, there has been a focus on understanding gauge invariance and symmetries. The philosophy of physics has evolved even further in recent years with attention being paid to theories that, for the most part, were largely ignored in the past. For example, the relationship between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics—-once thought to be a paradigm instance of unproblematic theory reduction—-is now a hotly debated topic. The implicit, and sometimes explicit, reductionist methodology of both philosophers and physicists has been severely criticized and attention has now turned to the explanatory and descriptive roles of "non-fundamental,'' phenomenological theories. This shift of attention includes "old'' theories such as classical mechanics, once deemed to be of little philosophical interest. Furthermore, some philosophers have become more interested in "less fundamental'' contemporary physics such as condensed matter theory. Questions abound with implications for the nature of models, idealizations, and explanation in physics. This Handbook showcases all these aspects of this complex and dynamic discipline.
Author: Robert Batterman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
This book combines physics, philosophy, and history in a radical new approach to introducing the philosophy of physics. It leads the reader through several central problems in the philosophy of physics by tracing their connections to a single issue: whether a cause must be spatiotemporally local to its effect, or whether action at a distance can occur
Locality, Fields, Energy, and Mass
Author: Marc Lange
A sophisticated and original introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics from one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics In this book, Tim Maudlin, one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics, offers a sophisticated, original introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics. The briefest, clearest, and most refined account of his influential approach to the subject, the book will be invaluable to all students of philosophy and physics. Quantum mechanics holds a unique place in the history of physics. It has produced the most accurate predictions of any scientific theory, but, more astonishing, there has never been any agreement about what the theory implies about physical reality. Maudlin argues that the very term “quantum theory” is a misnomer. A proper physical theory should clearly describe what is there and what it does—yet standard textbooks present quantum mechanics as a predictive recipe in search of a physical theory. In contrast, Maudlin explores three proper theories that recover the quantum predictions: the indeterministic wavefunction collapse theory of Ghirardi, Rimini, and Weber; the deterministic particle theory of deBroglie and Bohm; and the conceptually challenging Many Worlds theory of Everett. Each offers a radically different proposal for the nature of physical reality, but Maudlin shows that none of them are what they are generally taken to be.
Author: Tim Maudlin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Niels Bohr and Philosophy of Physics: Twenty-First Century Perspectives examines the philosophical views, influences and legacy of the Nobel Prize physicist and philosophical spokesman of the quantum revolution, Niels Bohr. The sixteen contributions in this collection by some of the best contemporary philosophers and physicists writing on Bohr's philosophy today all carefully distinguish his subtle and unique interpretation of quantum mechanics from views often imputed to him under the banner of the “Copenhagen Interpretation.” With respect to philosophical influences on Bohr's outlook, the contributors analyse prominent similarities between his viewpoint and Kantian ways of thinking, the views of the Danish philosopher Harald Høffding, and themes characteristic of American pragmatism. In recognizing the importance of Bohr's epistemological naturalism they examine his defence of the indispensability of classical concepts from a variety of different perspectives. This collection shows us that Bohr's interpretation of quantum mechanics, now nearly a century old, still has the power to shed light on a variety of issues that have arisen only since his lifetime, as well as decoherence theory and other non-collapse interpretations. Balancing historical themes with contemporary discussions, Niels Bohr and the Philosophy of Physics establishes Bohr's on-going contribution to the philosophy of physics and examines his place in the history of philosophy.
Author: Jan Faye,Henry Folse
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Or, Process of Creative Development by which the First Principles of Physics are Proved Beyond Controversy, and Their Effect in the Formation of All Physical Things Made Comprehensible to All Intelligent Minds, as in Phenomenal Nature
Author: Andrew Brown
This book deals with some of the current issues in the philosophy, methodology and foundations of physics. Some such problems are: - Do mathematical formalisms interpret themselves or is it necessary to adjoin them interpretation assumptions, and if so how are these as sumptions to be framed? - What are physical theories about: physical systems or laboratory operations or both or neither? - How are the basic concepts of a theory to be introduced: by ref erence to measurements or by explicit definition or axiomatically? - What is the use ofaxiomatics in physics? - How are the various physical theories inter-related: like Chinese boxes or in more complex ways? - What is the role of analogy in the construction and in the inter pretation of physical theories? In particular, are classical analogues like those of particle and wave indispensable in quantum theories? - What is the role of the apparatus in quantum phenomena and what is the place of measurement theory in quantum mechanics? - How does a theory face experiment: single-handed or with the help of further theories? These and several other questions of the kind are met with by the research physicist, the physics teacher and the physics student in their everyday work. If dodged they will recur. And a wrong answer to them may obscure the understanding of what has been achieved and may even hamper further advancement. Philosophy, methodology and foundations, like rose bushes, are enjoyable when cultivated but become ugly and thorny when neglected.
Author: M. Bunge
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Scheibe is one of the most important philosophers of science in Germany. He has written extensively on all the problems that confront the philosophy of physics: rationalism vs. empiricism; reductionism; the foundations of quantum mechanics; space-time, and much more. Since little of his work has been translated into English, he is not yet well known internationally. However, this collection of some 40 of his papers will remedy this unfortunate situation.
Selected Papers in the Philosophy of Physics
Author: Erhard Scheibe
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
The Scope of the Project The concept of holism is at the centre of far-reaching changes in various areas of philosophy in the second half of the twentieth century. Holism in epistemology and the philosophy of mind is widespread among analytic philosophers subsequent to the work of the later Wittgenstein and to Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism". Roughly speaking, the claim is that (a) for a person to have beliefs, a social, linguistic community is required and that (b) single beliefs have a meaning only within a whole system of beliefs. Furthermore, holism is discussed in science, in particular in the interpretation of quantum physics. In fact, the term "holism" goes back to Smuts (1926), who introduces this term in a biological context. I Holism in any of these areas has considerable consequences for our philosophical view of the world and ourselves. Holism in quantum physics is said to refute atomism, which has been predominant in modem philosophy of nature. Holism in epistemology and the philosophy of mind is seen as an alternative to what is known as the Cartesian tradition, which dominated modem thought down to logical empiricism.
Author: M. Esfeld
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
With Special Reference to Quantum Mechanics
Thomas Brody had one of the most powerful and wide-ranging intellects of his generation. Although primarily a physicist who worked on statistical prob lems in nuclear physics, on probability theory and on computational physics he had an extensive knowledge of the philosophy of science and of philosophy, and was fluent in many languages. He is well-known among physicists for the Brody-Moshinsky transformation but his extensive work on probability and on the philosophy of science remained almost unknown. This was because the originality of his ideas entailed many lengthy battles with uncomprehending referees, and he frequently published in Mexican journals of limited circula tion. In addition, his strongly critical spirit inhibited his willingness to publish his ideas. He was always most concerned by the very unsatisfactory situation in the philosophy of physics, that is largely due to the generally poor knowledge that physicists and philosophers have of each other's disciplines. Philosophers of science write at length about physics without any detailed first-hand knowl edge of how research is actually carried out. Physicists, for their part, often implicitly assume naive or erroneous philosophical ideas, and this often hinders their scientific work, besides spreading further confusion if they try to give an account of what they are doing.
Author: Thomas A. Brody
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media