Interpreting Bodies: Classical and Quantum Objects in Modern Physics

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Princeton University Press, Dec 20, 1998 - Science - 329 pages

Bewildering features of modern physics, such as relativistic space-time structure and the peculiarities of so-called quantum statistics, challenge traditional ways of conceiving of objects in space and time. Interpreting Bodies brings together essays by leading philosophers and scientists to provide a unique overview of the implications of such physical theories for questions about the nature of objects. The collection combines classic articles by Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, Hans Reichenbach, and Erwin Schrodinger with recent contributions, including several papers that have never before been published.


The book focuses on the microphysical objects that are at the heart of quantum physics and addresses issues central to both the "foundational" and the philosophical debates about objects. Contributors explore three subjects in particular: how to identify a physical object as an individual, the notion of invariance with respect to determining what objects are or could be, and how to relate objective and measurable properties to a physical entity. The papers cover traditional philosophical topics, common-sense questions, and technical matters in a consistently clear and rigorous fashion, illuminating some of the most perplexing problems in modern physics and the philosophy of science.


The contributors are Diederik Aerts, Max Born, Elena Castellani, Maria Luisa Dalla Chiara, Bas C. van Fraassen, Steven French, Gian Carlo Ghirardi, Roberto Giuntini, Werner Heisenberg, Decio Krause, David Lewis, Tim Maudlin, Peter Mittelstaedt, Giulio Peruzzi, Hans Reichenbach, Erwin Schrodinger, Paul Teller, and Giuliano Toraldo di Francia.

 

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Contents

A World of Individual Objects?
21
Many but Almost One
30
Part and Whole in Quantum Mechanics
46
The Genidentity of Quantum Particles
61
The Problem of Indistinguishable Particles
73
On the Withering Away of Physical Objects
93
Quantum Mechanics and Haecceities
114
Quasiset Theories for Microobjects A Comparison
142
The Constitution of Objects in Kants Philosophy and in Modern Physics
168
Galilean Particles An Example of Constitution of Objects
181
OBJECTS AND MEASUREMENT
195
The Nature of Elementary Particles
211
The Entity and Modern Physics The CreationDiscovery View of Reality
223
Dynamical Reduction Theories as a Natural Basis for a Realistic Worldview
258
Microphysical Objects and Experimental Evidence
297
Bibliography
317

OBJECTS AND INVARIANCE
153
Physical Reality
155

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About the author (1998)

Elena Castellani is Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Florence. She has a doctoral degree in theoretical physics and a Ph.D. in philosophy and is the author of Symmetry and Nature: From the Harmony of Figures to the Invariance of Laws.

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