The Demons of Science: What They Can and Cannot Tell Us About Our World

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Springer, May 19, 2016 - Science - 251 pages

This book is the first all-encompassing exploration of the role of demons in philosophical and scientific thought experiments. In Part I, the author explains the importance of thought experiments in science and philosophy. Part II considers Laplace’s Demon, whose claim is that the world is completely deterministic. Part III introduces Maxwell’s Demon, who - by contrast - experiences a world that is probabilistic and indeterministic. Part IV explores Nietzsche’s thesis of the cyclic and eternal recurrence of events. In each case a number of philosophical consequences regarding determinism and indeterminism, the arrows of time, the nature of the mind and free will are said to follow from the Demons’s worldviews. The book investigates what these Demons - and others - can and cannot tell us about our world.

 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
Part I Thought Experiments
6
2 Thought Experiments in Ancient Greece
7
3 What Thought Experiments Represent
17
4 Models and Thought Experiments
33
5 The Function of Thought Experiments
47
6 What Thought Experiments Tell Us and Dont Tell Us About the World
51
7 Enter the Demons
54
Reversibility and Irreversibility
126
17 Indeterminism
131
18 Entropy and Evolution
143
19 The PastFuture Asymmetry
153
20 What Maxwells Demon Tells Us and Does not Tell Us About the World
167
Part IV Nietzsches Demon
170
21 The Eternal Recurrence of Events
173
22 Landsbergs Demon
177

Part II Laplaces Demon
63
Causal and Predictive Determinism
65
9 Causality Determinism and the Block Universe
73
10 The TimeReversal Invariance of Fundamental Laws
76
11 Determinism and Its Implications
81
12 Determinism and Free Will
101
13 What Laplaces Demon Tells Us and Does not Tell Us About the World
112
Part III Maxwells Demon
115
14 Local and Cosmic Arrows of Time
117
15 Maxwells Demon
123
23 Physical and Phenomenal Time
191
24 The Evolution of the Universe
205
25 Time and Change
209
26 Is There a Master Arrow of Time?
213
27 What Landsbergs Demon Tells Us and Does not Tell Us About the Arrows of Time
222
Part V Conclusion
226
28 Conclusion
227
Bibliography
231
Index
241
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About the author (2016)

Friedel Weinert is professor of history and philosophy of science at the University of Bradford in the UK. He is the author of several books about the interactions of science and philosophy – The Scientist as Philosopher (2004); Copernicus, Darwin and Freud (2009); The March of Time (2013)– as well as editor of Laws of Nature (1995) and co-editor of Compendium of Quantum Physics (2009) and Evolution 2.0 (2012).

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