Search results for: an-introduction-to-the-philosophy-of-physics

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics

Author : Marc Lange
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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

Appearance and Reality

Author : Peter Kosso
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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.

Philosophy of Physics

Author : Lawrence Sklar
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This accessible and engaging book gives a broad overview of contemporary philosophy of physics.

Philosophy of Physics

Author : Tim Maudlin
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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.

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics

Author : Robert Batterman
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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.

The Philosophy of Physics

Author : Roberto Torretti
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Pursues the development of physics from Galileo and Newton to Einstein and the founders of quantum mechanics.

Philosophical Foundations of Physics

Author : Rudolf Carnap
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Philosophy of Physics a Very Short Introduction

Author : David Wallace
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Philosophy of physics is concerned with the deepest theories of modern physics - quantum theory, our theories of space, time and symmetry, and thermal physics - and their strange, even bizarre conceptual implications. This book explores the core topics in philosophy of physics, and discusses their relevance for both scientists and philosophers.

The Philosophy of Physics

Author : Dean Rickles
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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.

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Author : Rudolf Carnap
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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 Reign of Relativity

Author : Thomas Ryckman
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Universally recognized as bringing about a revolutionary transformation of the notions of space, time, and motion in physics, Einstein's theory of gravitation, known as "general relativity," was also a defining event for 20th century philosophy of science. During the decisive first ten years of the theory's existence, two main tendencies dominated its philosophical reception. This book is an extended argument that the path actually taken, which became logical empiricist philosophy of science, greatly contributed to the current impasse over realism, whereas new possibilities are opened in revisiting and reviving the spirit of the more sophisticated tendency, a cluster of viewpoints broadly termed transcendental idealism, and furthering its articulation. It also emerges that Einstein, while paying lip service to the emerging philosophy of logical empiricism, ended up siding de facto with the latter tendency. Ryckman's work speaks to several groups, among them philosophers of science and historians of relativity. Equations are displayed as necessary, but Ryckman gives the non-mathematical reader enough background to understand their occurrence in the context of his wider philosophical project.

The Philosophy of Quantum Physics

Author : Cord Friebe
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This book provides a thorough and up-to-date introduction to the philosophy of quantum physics. Although quantum theory is renowned for its spectacular empirical successes, controversial discussion about how it should be understood continue to rage today. In this volume, the authors provide an overview of its numerous philosophical challenges: Do quantum objects violate the principle of causality? Are particles of the same type indistinguishable and therefore not individual entities? Do quantum objects retain their identity over time? How does a compound quantum system relate to its parts? These questions are answered here within different interpretational approaches to quantum theory. Finally, moving to Quantum Field Theory, we find that the problem of non-locality is exacerbated. Philosophy of quantum physics is aimed at philosophers with an interest in physics, while also serving to familiarize physicists with many of the essential philosophical questions of their subject.

Philosophy of Science A Very Short Introduction

Author : Samir Okasha
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This Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science. Beginning with a short history of science to set the scene, Samir Okasha goes on to investigate the nature of scientific reasoning, scientific explanation, revolutions in science, and theories such as realism and anti-realism. He also looks at philosophical issues in particular sciences.

Philosophy in Science

Author : Michael Heller
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The traditional topics of the "philosophy of nature" — space, time, causality, the structure of the universe — are overwhelmingly present in our modern scientific theories. This book traces the complex paths that discussion of these topics has followed, from Plato and Aristotle, through Descartes, Leibniz, Kant and other great thinkers, right up to the relativistic cosmologies and the grand unified theories of contemporary science. In the light of this historical development, it becomes clear that modern science gives us not only a technological power over the world, but also a deeper understanding of physical reality. In this sense, science could be regarded as an heir to the traditional "philosophy of nature". Moreover, the reader will learn why science itself deserves to be the subject of philosophical reflection.

Philosophy of Science

Author : Samir Okasha
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How much faith should we place in what scientists tell us? Is it possible for scientific knowledge to be fully "objective?" What, really, can be defined as science? In the second edition of this Very Short Introduction, Samir Okasha explores the main themes and theories of contemporary philosophy of science, and investigates fascinating, challenging questions such as these. Starting at the very beginning, with a concise overview of the history of science, Okasha examines the nature of fundamental practices such as reasoning, causation, and explanation. Looking at scientific revolutions and the issue of scientific change, he asks whether there is a discernible pattern to the way scientific ideas change over time, and discusses realist versus anti-realist attitudes towards science. He finishes by considering science today, and the social and ethical philosophical questions surrounding modern science. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Philosophy of Science

Author : Marc Lange
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Philosophy of Science: An Anthology assembles some of the finest papers in the philosophy of science since 1945, showcasing enduring classics alongside important and innovative recent work. Introductions by the editor highlight connections between selections, and contextualize the articles Nine sections address topics at the heart of philosophy of science, including realism and the character of scientific theories, scientific explanations and laws of nature, singular casusation, and the metaphysical implications of modern physics Provides an authoritative and accessible overview of the field

The Philosophy Behind Physics

Author : Thomas A. Brody
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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.

Physics and Philosophy of Nature in Greek Neoplatonism

Author : Riccardo Chiaradonna
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Traditional scholarship has generally neglected the philosophy of nature in Greek Neoplatonism. In the last few decades, however, this attitude has changed radically. Natural philosophy has increasingly been regarded as a crucial aspect of late antique thought. Furthermore, several studies have outlined the impressive historical legacy of Neoplatonic physics. Building on this new interest, the ten papers published here concentrate on Neoplatonic philosophy of nature from Plotinus to Simplicius, and on its main conceptual features and its relation to the previous philosophical and scientific traditions. The papers were presented at a conference sponsored by the European Science Foundation in Castelvecchio Pascoli in June 2006. This volume makes an important contribution to the understanding of Greek Neoplatonism and its historical significance.

The History of Physics A Very Short Introduction

Author : J. L. Heilbron
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How does the physics we know today - a highly professionalised enterprise, inextricably linked to government and industry - link back to its origins as a liberal art in Ancient Greece? What is the path that leads from the old philosophy of nature and its concern with humankind's place in the universe to modern massive international projects that hunt down fundamental particles and industrial laboratories that manufacture marvels? This Very Short Introduction introduces us to Islamic astronomers and mathematicians calculating the size of the earth whilst their caliphs conquered much of it; to medieval scholar-theologians investigating light; to Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton, measuring, and trying to explain, the universe. We visit the 'House of Wisdom' in 9th-century Baghdad; Europe's first universities; the courts of the Renaissance; the Scientific Revolution and the academies of the 18th century; and the increasingly specialised world of 20th and 21st century science. Highlighting the shifting relationship between physics, philosophy, mathematics, and technology - and the implications for humankind's self-understanding - Heilbron explores the changing place and purpose of physics in the cultures and societies that have nurtured it over the centuries. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Meaning of Science

Author : Tim Lewens
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Science has produced explanations for everything from the mechanisms of insect navigation to the formation of black holes and the workings of black markets. But how much can we trust science, and can we actually know the world through it? How does science work and how does it fail? And how can the work of scientists helpÑor hurtÑeveryday people? These are not questions that science can answer on its own. This is where philosophy of science comes in. Studying science without philosophy is, to quote Einstein, to be Òlike somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest.Ó Cambridge philosopher Tim Lewens shows us the forest. He walks us through the theories of seminal philosophers of science Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn and considers what science is, how far it can and should reach, and how we can determine the nature of its truths and myths. These philosophical issues have consequences that stretch far beyond the laboratory. For instance: What role should scientists have in policy discussions on environmental issues such as fracking? What are the biases at play in the search for a biological function of the female orgasm? If brain scans can be used to demonstrate that a decision was made several seconds before a person actually makes a conscious choice, what does that tell us about the possibility of free will? By examining science through this philosophical lens, Lewens reveals what physics can teach us about reality, what biology teaches us about human nature, and what cognitive science teaches us about human freedom. A masterful analysis of the biggest scientific and ethical issues of our age, The Meaning of Science forces us to confront the practical, personal, and political purposes of scienceÑand why it matters to all of us.