Search results for: philosophy-of-physics

Philosophy of Physics

Author : Jeremy Butterfield
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The ambition of this volume is twofold: to provide a comprehensive overview of the field and to serve as an indispensable reference work for anyone who wants to work in it. For example, any philosopher who hopes to make a contribution to the topic of the classical-quantum correspondence will have to begin by consulting Klaas Landsman's chapter. The organization of this volume, as well as the choice of topics, is based on the conviction that the important problems in the philosophy of physics arise from studying the foundations of the fundamental theories of physics. It follows that there is no sharp line to be drawn between philosophy of physics and physics itself. Some of the best work in the philosophy of physics is being done by physicists, as witnessed by the fact that several of the contributors to the volume are theoretical physicists: viz., Ellis, Emch, Harvey, Landsman, Rovelli, 't Hooft, the last of whom is a Nobel laureate. Key features - Definitive discussions of the philosophical implications of modern physics - Masterly expositions of the fundamental theories of modern physics - Covers all three main pillars of modern physics: relativity theory, quantum theory, and thermal physics - Covers the new sciences grown from these theories: for example, cosmology from relativity theory; and quantum information and quantum computing, from quantum theory - Contains special Chapters that address crucial topics that arise in several different theories, such as symmetry and determinism - Written by very distinguished theoretical physicists, including a Nobel Laureate, as well as by philosophers - Definitive discussions of the philosophical implications of modern physics - Masterly expositions of the fundamental theories of modern physics - Covers all three main pillars of modern physics: relativity theory, quantum theory, and thermal physics - Covers the new sciences that have grown from these theories: for example, cosmology from relativity theory; and quantum information and quantum computing, from quantum theory - Contains special Chapters that address crucial topics that arise in several different theories, such as symmetry and determinism - Written by very distinguished theoretical physicists, including a Nobel Laureate, as well as by philosophers

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 : M. Bunge
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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.

Philosophy of Physics

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 Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics

Author : Eleanor Knox
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The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Physics is a comprehensive and authoritative guide to the state of the art in the philosophy of physics. It comprisess 54 self-contained chapters written by leading philosophers of physics at both senior and junior levels, making it the most thorough and detailed volume of its type on the market – nearly every major perspective in the field is represented. The Companion’s 54 chapters are organized into 12 parts. The first seven parts cover all of the major physical theories investigated by philosophers of physics today, and the last five explore key themes that unite the study of these theories. I. Newtonian Mechanics II. Special Relativity III. General Relativity IV. Non-Relativistic Quantum Theory V. Quantum Field Theory VI. Quantum Gravity VII. Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics VIII. Explanation IX. Intertheoretic Relations X. Symmetries XI. Metaphysics XII. Cosmology The difficulty level of the chapters has been carefully pitched so as to offer both accessible summaries for those new to philosophy of physics and standard reference points for active researchers on the front lines. An introductory chapter by the editors maps out the field, and each part also begins with a short summary that places the individual chapters in context. The volume will be indispensable to any serious student or scholar of 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 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.

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.

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.

Niels Bohr s Philosophy of Physics

Author : D. R. Murdoch
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This book gives a clear and comprehensive exposition of Niels Bohr's philosophy of physics. Bohr's ideas are of major importance, for they are the source of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics; yet they are obscure, and call for the sort of close analysis that this book provides. The book describes the historical background of the physics from which Bohr's ideas grew. The core of the book is a detailed analysis of Bohr's arguments for complementarity and of the interpretation which he put upon it. Special emphasis is placed throughout on the contrasting views of Einstein, and the great debate between Bohr and Einstein is thoroughly examined. The book traces the philosophical influences on Bohr, and unravels the realist and anti-realist strands in his thinking. Bohr's philosophy is critically assessed in the light of recent developments in the foundations of quantum physics (the work of Bell and others) and in philosophy (the realism-anti-realism debate) and it is revealed as being much more subtle and sophisticated than it is generally taken to be. While the book will be of interest to specialists, it is written in a style that will make it accessible to those who have no specialist knowledge of the relevant physics and philosophy.