The Scientist as Philosopher: Philosophical Consequences of Great Scientific Discoveries

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Springer Science & Business Media, Nov 25, 2004 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 342 pages
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How do major scientific discoveries reshape their originators’, and our own, sense of reality and concept of the physical world? The Scientist as Philosopher explores the interaction between physics and philosophy. Clearly written and well illustrated, the book first places the scientist-philosophers in the limelight as we learn how their great scientific discoveries forced them to reconsider the time-honored notions with which science had described the natural world. Then, the book explains that what we understand by nature and science have undergone fundamental conceptual changes as a result of the discoveries of electromagnetism, thermodynamics and atomic structure. Even more dramatically, the quantum theory and special theory of relativity questioned traditional assumptions about causation and the passage of time. The author concludes that the dance between science and philosophy is an evolutionary process, which will keep them forever entwined.

  

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Contents

The Concept of Nature
9
22 From the Organismic to the Mechanistic Universe
10
23 From Natures to Nature
13
232 Corpuscular Philosophy
20
24 The Emergence of Nature as an Interrelated System
22
241 Immanuel Kant
24
242 Alexander von Humboldt
27
25 The End of Philosophical Speculations About Nature as a System
29
Idealism and Determinism New Models of Physical Understanding
138
43 Idealist Views of Time
147
432 Immanuel Kant
151
On the Passage of Time
155
44 Minkowski SpaceTime
160
The Philosophy of Being
171
The Philosophy of Becoming
181
443 The Emergence of Time
188

251 Charles Darwin
30
252 The Discovery of Atomic Structure
32
253 Thermodynamics
33
Interlude A
36
254 Physical Fields
42
Interlude B
45
26 Fields Structure Laws and the Decline of the Mechanical Worldview
47
261 FourDimensional Reality
50
262 Metaphysical Aspects of Relativity
52
The WaveParticle Duality
56
Interlude C
61
28 Invariance and Reality
62
Physical Understanding
75
32 Models
84
33 Einsteins Problem Bohrs Challenge and the Feedback Thesis
94
The Scientist Philosopher
103
The Block Universe
105
411 Models of Time
106
412 Natural and Conventional Units of Time
108
413 Galileos Physical Time
110
414 Newtons Absolute and Universal Time
112
415 The Relational View of Time
117
42 The Special Theory of Relativity and the Idea of the Block Universe
120
422 The Special Theory of Relativity and Models of Time
125
Einstein and the Idea of the Block Universe
128
Causation and Determinism
193
512 Laplaces Grip on the Classical World
195
513 The Functional Model of Causation
202
514 Keeping Causation and Determinism Apart Classical Style
208
52 New Discoveries New Ideas
212
522 Radioactive Decay
216
523 Spontaneous Emissions
217
524 Awakening Doubts and the RutherfordBohr Model of the Atom
219
53 Scientists Draw Philosophical Consequences
221
531 Conservative Response
224
532 The Radical Response
230
Interlude D
238
533 Philosophical Response
248
534 Some Causal Stories in Quantum Mechanics
252
The Particle Picture
253
The Wave Picture
256
535 The Conditional Model of Causation
259
536 Causal Explanations
267
Interlude E The Programme of Decoherence
272
537 Causation Without Determinism
275
Conclusion
277
Bibliography
283
List of Figure Sources
319
Name Index
321
Subject Index
325

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