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Forces and Fields: The Concept of Action at a Distance in the History of Physics Paperback – June 17, 2005


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Forces and Fields: The Concept of Action at a Distance in the History of Physics + Concepts of Force (Dover Books on Physics) + Concepts of Mass in Classical and Modern Physics
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486442403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486442402
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,236,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jerry L. Martin on July 29, 2010
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I am not a philosopher of science, but I found this to be an extraordinarily good book -- much better than some highly-regarded recent studies of a similar kind. Hesse really makes clear the role of models in science and explains in language this non-scientist could (sometimes barely) understand, just how the successive Aristotelian, Cartesian, etc., models handled issues that involve action at a distance -- hence, the focus on forces and fields. This concept turns out to be a very useful focus for this kind of study, since it is both specific (which helps the reader get a handle on the scientific debates) and yet fundamental (so it sheds light on each theory as a whole).

This is not the condensceding sort of history of science that says, wasn't Aristotle dumb, and Descartes was full of mistakes, but sees how each provided a workable framework for handling the empirical observations and theoretical problems at the time. The reader comes to understand not only the particular theories and scientific "revolutions" better, but the nature of scientific theorizing itself. Very highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Kuchta on December 20, 2013
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An academic work, to be sure, but well worth the effort no matter what field you're working in. A great read alongside Michael Crowe's "A History of Vector Analysis."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By carlos torres on May 16, 2013
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This book is the one of the most complet and very well writen as long as I know, on this subject. I think it is well indicated to undergraduated and graduated students and physics specialists.
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This book is a tiptoe through the history of fields and forces and action at a distance. It makes NO conclusions. Its an intellectually superficial work of no worth except as a history reference.

It contains some extremely nasty religious nonsense in it such as:

It could plausibly be argued that far from Christian theology having hampered the study of nature for fifteen hundred years, it was Greek corruptions of biblical Christianity which hampered it. - Hesse

Likely her most insane statement since Greek Platonic physics and methodology is responsible for nearly 100% of the scientific method in the past 3000 years.

I would give this work 1 star, however it is a detailed history, but the author is intellectually corrupt and the work is slanted.
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