The Philosophy of Physics

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 28, 1999 - Philosophy - 512 pages
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This magisterial study of the philosophy of physics both introduces the subject to the nonspecialist and contains many original and important contributions for professionals in the area. Modern physics was born as a part of philosophy and has retained to this day a properly philosophical concern for the clarity and coherence of ideas. Any introduction to the philosophy of physics must therefore focus on the conceptual development of physics itself. This book pursues that development from Galileo and Newton through Maxwell and Boltzmann to Einstein and the founders of quantum mechanics. There is also discussion of important philosophers of physics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and of twentieth century debates.
  

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Contents

The Transformation of Natural Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century
1
11 Mathematics and Experiment
2
12 Aristotelian Principles
8
13 Modern Matter
13
14 Galileo on Motion
20
15 Modeling and Measuring
30
152 Leibniz and the Conservation of Force
33
153 R0mer and the Speed of Light
36
Relativity
249
51 Einsteins Physics of Principles
250
52 Minkowskis Spacetime
260
53 Philosophical Problems of Special Relativity
271
532 Simultaneity in a Single Frame28
273
533 Twins Who Differ in Age
277
534 Kinematical Determinism
280
535 The Quantities We Call Mass
283

Newton
41
21 Mass and Force
42
22 Space and Time
50
23 Universal Gravitation
57
24 Rules of Philosophy
69
25 Newtonian Science
75
252 Central Forces
80
253 Analytical Mechanics
84
Kant
97
31 Leibniz and Berkeley on the Scope of Mathematical Physics
98
312 Mentalism and Positivism
101
32 Kants Road to Critical Philosophy
104
33 Kant on Geometry Space and Quantity
113
34 The Web of Nature
120
342 Conservation of Matter
122
343 Causality
128
344 Interaction
134
35 The Ideas of Reason and the Advancement of Science
138
The Rich Nineteenth Century
147
412 The Proliferation of Geometries and Kleins Erlangen Program
152
413 Riemann on the Foundations of Geometry
157
42 Fields
168
43 Heat and Chance
180
431 Heat as Motion
181
432 The Concept of Entropy
187
433 Molecular Chances
195
434 TimeReversible Laws for TimeDirected Phenomena?
205
44 Philosophers
215
441 William Whewell 17941866
216
442 Charles Sanders Peirce 18391914
222
443 Ernst Mach 18381916
234
444 Pierre Duhem 18611916
242
54 Gravitation as Geometry
289
55 Relativistic Cosmology
299
Quantum Mechanics
307
61 Background
309
612 Einstein on the Absorption and Emission of Radiation
313
613 Virtual Oscillators
316
614 On Spin Statistics and the Exclusion Principle
318
62 The Constitution of Quantum Mechanics
321
622 Wave Mechanics
325
623 The Equivalence of Matrix and Wave Mechanics
329
624 Interpretation
331
625 Quantum Mechanics in Hilbert Space
336
626 Heisenbergs Indeterminacy Relations
348
63 Philosophical Problems
349
632 The Measurement Problem
355
64 MetaPhysical Ventures
367
641 Complementarity
368
642 Hidden Variables
373
643 Quantum Logic
378
644 Many Worlds
387
65 A Note on Relativistic Quantum Theories
393
Perspectives and Reflections
398
72 Laws and Patterns
405
73 Rupture and Continuity
420
74 Grasping the Facts
431
Supplements
443
On Lattices
453
Terms from Topology
455
References
458
Index
493
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About the author (1999)

Roberto Torretti is professor of philosophy at the University of Puerto Rico and editor of the journal "Dialogos," Among his several books is "Relativity and Geometry,

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