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Foundations of Relational Realism: A Topological Approach to Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Nature Hardcover – June 20, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0739180327 ISBN-10: 0739180320

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (June 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739180320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739180327
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,076,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A startling development in the last century has been the overflowing of theoretical and observational sciences into the fields of philosophy, particularly by quantum mechanics and cosmology. The present book is twice valuable on this fascinating subject in my opinion: on one hand for its clear and lucid exposition and application of Whitehead's ontology as a most attractive framework for this kind of query, and on the other hand, for its extension of the dialectics of ontology through an original use of advanced concepts from modern mathematics."

ROLAND OMNÈS, Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Physics at the University of Paris-Sud, author of The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics and Converging Realities (both Princeton University Press).

"This is a unique book in its scope, approach and method. A novel physical and philosophical interpretation of sheaf theory sheds new light on the quantum measurement problem, entanglement, locality and truth. A new systematic and rigorous relational realistic paradigm for natural philosophy has emerged, rooted on the same principles with Abstract (Modern) Differential Geometry, that transmutes the above into a fully fledged dynamical theory."

ANASTASIOS MALLIOS, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, University of Athens, author of Geometry of Vector Sheaves (Springer) and Modern Differential Geometry in Gauge Theories (Birkhäuser).

“Recommended reading for graduate students and researchers/faculty. One of the driving contentions in modern physics has been the inability to reconcile the dominance of classical thought in the theory of relativity with the indeterminate nature of quantum mechanics. Some would argue that one such attempt at a compromise had arrived in the form of quantum field theories, with multiple ideas for resolving the asymmetrical features between relativity and ordinary quantum mechanics. Here, Epperson and Zafiris decide to return to ordinary quantum mechanics and propose sheaf theory, a theory that grew out of the abstract algebra of topology and set theory, as a solution to the stubborn paradoxes found in quantization attempts. They then compare the theory's interpretive value to the category scheme found in Whitehead's Process and Reality (1929). Epperson's earlier work, Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (2004), is a good predecessor to the current book.”

CHOICE (March 2014, reviewed by C. Lee, Duke University)

"[Foundations of Relational Realism] contributes to a body of literature which seeks to apply sheaf theory (and in many cases, topos theory in particular) to the discussion of quantum non-locality. Particularly noteworthy are the research programs initiated by Butterfield and Isham, Doering and Isham, and Landsman et al., respectively, which seek (modulo subtle differences) to develop a sheaf-theoretic account of quantum mechanics, as well as recent work by Abramsky et al. which brings various types of quantum nonlocality and contextuality under a sheaf-theoretic rubric (but without absorbing the entire structure of quantum mechanics)."

METASCIENCE

From the Inside Flap

Among the many exotic interpretations of quantum theory--those entailing 'multiverse' cosmologies, 'time reversal,' 'retro-causality,' physical superpositions of alternative actual system states--lies a single core principle: That quantum theory's most emblematic feature is its invalidation of classical logic--the very foundation of intuitive, critical reasoning--at the level of fundamental physics. As a result, quantum mechanics has become widely popularized, and in many cases, marketed, as mystifying and essentially incomprehensible to non-specialists.

Yet at the heart of this popularization lies a paradox: The rules of classical logic purportedly invalidated by quantum mechanics are, at the same time, necessarily presupposed by quantum mechanics; indeed, they are the very rules used to formalize quantum mechanics in the first place. In their groundbreaking new book, Michael Epperson and Elias Zafiris provide a powerful new solution to this paradox by upgrading quantum theory's presupposed set theoretic, metrical structure, grounded in object elements, to a more refined category theoretic, topological structure grounded in object relations. To this end, the book presents a novel, intuitive interpretation of quantum mechanics, based on a revised decoherent histories interpretation, structured within a category theoretic topological formalism.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RSW on August 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This work presents a profound new epistemological view of the world - based on the subtle and under appreciated schemata of A. N. Whitehead - and backs it up with hard mathematics. It is consequently not an easy read but will greatly reward close study. It belongs on the shelf of every serious student of philosophy, mathematics or physics.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Timothy E. Eastman on February 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Leveraging rigorously-tested core quantum physics results, in combination with careful philosophical distinctions and new mathematical developments (topology and category theory), Drs. Epperson and Zafiris have achieved a uniquely viable interpretation of all known quantum experiments (including many rigorously- checked Bell inequality tests) in a way that is intuitively reasonable and avoids the usual exotica. In addition, their predictions on non-local quantum correlations associated with global topological phases have been confirmed in recent experiments. Epperson provides very readable yet in-depth philosophical and interpretive foundations (210 pages) followed by Zafiris' rigorous treatment of mathematical foundations (177 pages). This work is a must read for all those interested in the philosophy of physics, as well as those concerned with foundational philosophical questions impacted by such new physics results.
Tim Eastman, PhD, Physics
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christoph on February 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While it is good to use the Whitehead concept of an occasion of activity as an analytic device for interpretation of experiments, sad to say Epperson and Zafiris have not come to grips with the basic fallacy of the famous Bell argumentation. They uncritically accept the Bell argumentation and so their book is largely drivel, dressed up in fancy language and very technical theorizing. I am sorry to report this, but I think it best to speak plainly about such an important matter.
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More About the Author

Michael Epperson did his doctoral work in philosophy of science and philosophy of religion at The University of Chicago, and earned his Ph.D. there in 2003. His dissertation, "Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead," was written under the direction of philosopher David Tracy and physicist Peter Hodgson, Head of the Nuclear Physics Theoretical Group at the University of Oxford. It was published the following year by Fordham University Press, and re-released in paperback by Oxford University Press in 2012. His latest book, "Foundations of Relational Realism: A Topological Approach to Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Nature," co-authored with physicist and mathematician Elias Zafiris, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2013.

Epperson is the founding director of the Center for Philosophy and the Natural Sciences in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at California State University, Sacramento, where he is a Research Professor and Principal Investigator.

Epperson's philosophical interests also include ethics and just war theory, and his work in these areas includes the 2005 documentary film, "The 11th Day," (writer, producer) which chronicles the story of the Cretan civilian resistance against German occupation in World War II. The documentary received critical acclaim in publications including The Chicago Tribune, Canada's National Post, The Sacramento Bee, and Newsday. Exhibitions have included a special advance screening requested by members of the United States Congress in 2004, held at the Capitol, and at the British Embassy in Athens, Greece in 2009.

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