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Appearance and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics Paperback – August 21, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0195115154 ISBN-10: 0195115155 Edition: CA res. please inc. 7.25% tax

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; CA res. please inc. 7.25% tax edition (August 21, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195115155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195115154
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.6 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Superb--simply written, accessibile, yet accurate and even thorough. Can take students with no special knowledge all the way to the philosophically relevant portions of relativity and quantum mechanics."--Michael Levin, City College of New York

"Clear and engaging. Probably one of the few books in which quantum mechanics is explained in a manner non-science students find interesting."--Prakash Chenjeri, Southern Oregon University

"A well-explained and accessible text on philosophy of physics for non-science-major undergraduates. Appearance and Reality is an excellent introduction to the mysteries of quantum theory and relativity."--Robert Brosnan, ndiana University

"Contains some very good material on the philosophy of physics, and also possesses some good stuff on the theory of relativity. Should be quite useful for a philosophy of science course."--Stephen Joseph, Framingham State College

"A fine book. It is clear, accurate, and interesting."--David Detmer, Purdue University-Calumet

About the Author

Peter Kosso is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Northern Arizona University. He is the author of Reading the Book of Nature (1992) and Observability and Observation in Physical Science (1989).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Walid Mikhail on July 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Good overview of the special and general theory of relativity as well as quantum mechanics. No equations are used and the author is able to demonstrate these ideas very well.
However the author bias becomes very clear as he explains Bell's theorem . The author points out that no local hidden variable theory can explain the results presented by quantum mechanics. He seems to miss the point that quantum mechanics is NONLOCAL with or without hidden variables . He clearly is in the copenhagen camp but stresses that popular publications on the subject are incorrect in concluding that everything is indeterminate, after all, things such as mass,charge etc. are determinate.
The author seems to accept "in stride" the nonlocality in the copenhagen interpetation and then uses nonlocality as the biggest argument against the deBroglie-Bohm pilot wave interpetation stating that it is a "blatant" violation of the special theory of relativity. Apparently the instant collapse of the second wave function when the first is measured in EPR is more realistic in his view. He then corrects himself and states that it is really not a violation of the special theory "empirically".
These kind of inconsistencies and contradictions are rampant after page 140. In the end the best critisism the author could level at the Bohm interpetation is that it is "epistimological anti realism"
In summary his philosophical position of "realistic realism" ends up being that schrodinger's cat maybe both dead and alive but we know that it weighs ten pounds.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
I would imagine that the factor pivotal to appreciation of this book is the reader's stage of understanding of the issues discussed within this book.
Particulaly impressive was the conciseness and clearness of the explanations of both relativity and quantum mechanics, two subjects that I would imagine can be notoriously difficult to deal with when ill explained. Aside from aformentioned technicalities regarding quantum physics, perhaps the author could may have spent more time considering the epistemological issue of the very validity of, in particurlar relativity, the 'foundations of modern physics discussed'. They seemed briefly considered, yet tossed aside it seems due to the author's attitude that the apparent current non-existence of what may eventually supercede the areas of physics in question. So, basically, the book was themed upon evaluating reality using the best tools we have at this moment to evaluate what constitutes it.
None the less, as an indication of the perspective physics can provide as to the very nature of reality and existence, this book can be invaluable.
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