Search results for: physics-avoidance

Physics Avoidance

Author : Mark Wilson
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Mark Wilson presents a series of explorations of our strategies for understanding the world. "Physics avoidance" refers to the fact that we frequently cannot reason about nature in the straightforward manner we anticipate, but must seek alternative policies that allow us to address the questions we want answered in a tractable way. Within both science and everyday life, we find ourselves relying upon thought processes that reach useful answers in opaque and roundabout manners. Conceptual innovators are often puzzled by the techniques they develop, when they stumble across reasoning patterns that are easy to implement but difficult to justify. But simple techniques frequently rest upon complex foundations--a young magician learns how to execute a card-guessing trick without understanding how its progressive steps squeeze in on a proper answer. As we collectively improve our inferential skills in this gradually evolving manner, we often wander into unfamiliar explanatory landscapes in which simple words encode physical information in complex and unanticipated ways. Like our juvenile conjurer, we fail to recognize the true strategic rationales underlying our achievements and may turn instead to preposterous rationalizations for our policies. We have learned how to reach better conclusions in a more fruitful way, but we remain baffled by our own successes. At its best, philosophical reflection illuminates the natural developmental processes that generate these confusions and explicates their complexities. But current thinking within philosophy of science and language works to opposite effect by relying upon simplistic conceptions of "cause," "law of nature," "possibility," and "reference" that ignore the strategic complexities in which these concepts become entangled within real life usage. To avoid these distortions, better descriptive tools are required in philosophy. The nine new essays within this volume illustrate this need for finer discriminations through a range of revealing cases, of both historical and contemporary significance.

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.

History of Quantum Physics

Author : IntroBooks
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The history of quantum physics can never be complete without a cursory look at the diverse works of various scientists, both in the field of quantum physics and quantum chemistry. The early twentieth century marked the origin of the quantum physics concept, and it has been developed over the decades to become a household phenomenon in the physics world. Today, quantum physics has several applications in various human endeavors both in space and on the ground. Some of the outstanding physicists that contributed to the development of quantum physics are Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Neils Bohr, Louis de Broglie, Erwin Schrodinger, Wegner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, Max Born and several others. It can be deduced that the concept of quantum physics cannot be pinned to a single physicist; it had been a work in progress, and several new discoveries are being made today in this field of science. The entire idea of quantum physics started from quantum mechanics. The various physicists mentioned earlier contributed exceedingly to several theories derived in quantum mechanics, but the term quantum physics came much later. Studies showed that the theories did not follow strictly logical ways in their developments. They were rather created from series of guesses that were inspired by the exceeding physical insight of the individuals involved. They could formulate the theories relying on their in-depth command of mathematical methods. These were combined to form theoretical edifice with an impressive predictive power. Thanks to their incomparable efforts in the field, quantum mechanics, and later quantum physics, has been labeled as the most successful theoretical aspect of physics ever conceived by human minds.

Wandering Significance

Author : Mark Wilson
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Mark Wilson presents a highly original and broad-ranging investigation of the way we get to grips with the world conceptually, and the way that philosophical problems commonly arise from this. Words such as colour, shape, solidity exemplify the commonplace conceptual tools we employ to describe and order the world around us. But the world's goods are complex in their behaviors and we often overlook the subtle adjustments that our evaluative terms undergo as their usage becomes gradually adapted to different forms of supportive circumstance. Wilson not only explains how these surprising strategies of hidden management operate, but also tells the astonishing story of how faulty schemes and great metaphysical systems sometimes spring from a simple failure to recognize the innocent wanderings to which our descriptive words are heir. Wilson combines traditional philosophical concerns about human conceptual thinking with illuminating data derived from a large variety of fields including physics and applied mathematics, cognitive psychology, and linguistics. Wandering Significance offers abundant new insights and perspectives for philosophers of language, mind, and science, and will also reward the interest of psychologists, linguists, and anyone curious about the mysterious ways in which useful language obtains its practical applicability.

Physics Avoidance

Author : Mark Wilson
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Mark Wilson presents a series of explorations of our strategies for understanding the world. "Physics avoidance" refers to the fact that we frequently cannot reason about nature in the straightforward manner we anticipate, but must seek alternative policies that allow us to address the questions we want answered in a tractable way. Within both science and everyday life, we find ourselves relying upon thought processes that reach useful answers in opaque and roundabout manners. Conceptual innovators are often puzzled by the techniques they develop, when they stumble across reasoning patterns that are easy to implement but difficult to justify. But simple techniques frequently rest upon complex foundations—a young magician learns how to execute a card-guessing trick without understanding how its progressive steps squeeze in on a proper answer. As we collectively improve our inferential skills in this gradually evolving manner, we often wander into unfamiliar explanatory landscapes in which simple words encode physical information in complex and unanticipated ways. Like our juvenile conjurer, we fail to recognize the true strategic rationales underlying our achievements and may turn instead to preposterous rationalizations for our policies. We have learned how to reach better conclusions in a more fruitful way, but we remain baffled by our own successes. At its best, philosophical reflection illuminates the natural developmental processes that generate these confusions and explicates their complexities. But current thinking within philosophy of science and language works to opposite effect by relying upon simplistic conceptions of "cause", "law of nature", "possibility", and "reference" that ignore the strategic complexities in which these concepts become entangled within real life usage. To avoid these distortions, better descriptive tools are required in philosophy. The nine new essays within this volume illustrate this need for finer discriminations through a range of revealing cases, of both historical and contemporary significance.

Descartes and the Ontology of Everyday Life

Author : Deborah J. Brown
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The seventeenth century was a period of extraordinary invention, discovery and revolutions in scientific, social and political orders. It was a time of expansive automation, biological discovery, rapid advances in medical knowledge, of animal trials and a questioning of the boundaries between species, human and non-human, between social classes, and of the assumed naturalness of political inequality. This book gives a tour through those objects, ordinary and extraordinary, which captivated the philosophical imagination of the single most important French philosopher of this period, René Descartes. Deborah J. Brown and Calvin G. Normore document Descartes' attempt to make sense of the complex, composite objects of human and divine invention, consistent with the fundamental tenets of his metaphysical system. Their central argument is that, far from reducing all the categories of ordinary experience to the two basic categories of substance, mind and body, Descartes' philosophy recognises irreducible composites that resist reduction, and require their own distinctive modes of explanation.

A Middle Way

Author : Robert W. Batterman
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Robert W. Batterman's monograph examines a ubiquitous methodology in physics and the science of materials that has virtually been ignored in the philosophical literature. This method focuses on mesoscale structures as a means for investigating complex many-body systems. It challenges foundational pictures of physics where the most important properties are taken to be found at lower, more fundamental scales. This so-called "hydrodynamic approach" has its origins in Einstein's pioneering work on Brownian motion. This work can be understood to be one of the first instances of "upscaling" or homogenization whereby values for effective continuum scale parameters can be theoretically determined. Einstein also provided the first statement of what came to be called the "Fluctuation-Dissipation" theorem. This theorem justifies the use of equilibrium statistical mechanics to study the nonequilibrium behaviors of many-body systems. Batterman focuses on the consequences of the Fluctuation-Dissipation theorem for a proper understanding of what can be considered natural parameters or natural kinds for studying behaviors of such systems. He challenges various claims that such natural, or joint carving, parameters are always to be found at the most fundamental level. Overall, Batterman argues for mesoscale first, middle-out approach to many questions concerning the relationships between fundamental theories and their phenomenological, continuum scale cousins.

The Cambridge Descartes Lexicon

Author : Lawrence Nolan
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The Cambridge Descartes Lexicon is the definitive reference source on René Descartes, 'the father of modern philosophy' and arguably among the most important philosophers of all time. Examining the full range of Descartes' achievements and legacy, it includes 256 in-depth entries that explain key concepts relating to his thought. Cumulatively they uncover interpretative disputes, trace his influences, and explain how his work was received by critics and developed by followers. There are entries on topics such as certainty, cogito ergo sum, doubt, dualism, free will, God, geometry, happiness, human being, knowledge, Meditations on First Philosophy, mind, passion, physics, and virtue, which are written by the largest and most distinguished team of Cartesian scholars ever assembled for a collaborative research project - 92 contributors from ten countries.

Science Technology and Virtues

Author : Emanuele Ratti
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Virtues have become a valuable and relevant resource for understanding modern science and technology. Scientific practice requires not only following prescribed rules but also cultivating judgment, building mental habits, and developing proper emotional responses. The rich philosophical traditions around virtue can provide key insights into scientific research, including understanding how daily practice shapes scientists themselves and how ethical dilemmas created by modern scientific research and technology should be navigated. Science, Technology, and Virtues gathers both new and eminent scholars to show how concepts of virtue can help us better understand, construct, and use the products of modern science and technology. Contributors draw from examples across philosophy, history, sociology, political science, and engineering to explore how virtue theory can help orient science and technology towards the pursuit of the good life. Split into four major sections, this volume covers virtues in science, technology, epistemology, and research ethics, with individual chapters discussing applications of virtues to scientific practice, the influence of virtue ethics on socially responsible research, and the concept of "failing well" within the scientific community. Rather than offer easy solutions, the essays in this volume instead illustrate how virtue concepts can provide a productive and illuminating perspective on two phenomena at the core of modern life. Fresh and thought-provoking, Science, Technology, and Virtues presents a pluralistic set of scholarship to show how virtue concepts can enrich our understanding of scientific research, guide the design and use of new technologies, and shape how we envision future scientists, engineers, consumers, and citizens.

Avoiding a Parental Freak Out

Author : Michael Bozack
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Students across America have learned that the transition from high school to college is one of the toughest assignments they have ever received. And, for a Christian student, achieving success in a secular university is even harder. Did you know that . . . Only 32% of high school seniors graduate with the skills they need for college. Only 20% of entering college students have the basic quantitative skills necessary to compare ticket prices or calculate the cost of food. By the end of their freshman year 30% of college students drop out. The four-year graduation rate for students attending public colleges and universities is currently 33%. The six-year rate is 58%. More than 85% of college students feel overwhelmed and 51% report that "things are hopeless." Christian students are not immune to the bad statistics. They should be our best college students, but many are falling prey to the same forces that derail secular students. What is a parent to do? Help is here! In this book, we give Christian parents the straight scoop on how to prepare your kids for college. Far more Christian students end up at secular colleges and universities than Christian colleges, but there are few resources to help parents. We show you what to do, what to avoid, what critical information you need, and which battles to fight. We offer tons of talking points to share with your kids. And best, we save you sleep, frustration, money, heartaches, pints of Baskin-Robbins double chocolate, and hours of watching the Hallmark Channel to chill out. Related keywords: Christian college planning, parent college planning,