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The Philosophy of Physics (The Evolution of Modern Philosophy)
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The first chapter provides some background to Newtonian physics. The second, discusses Newton's concepts of mass, force, space, time and gravitation, and finishes with a technical section on Lagrange's analytical formulation of mechanics. The next chapter is strictly philosophical and offers an assessment of Kant's contribution to philosophy of nature in his Critique of Pure Reason. The chapter devoted to the 19th. Century deals successively with Non Euclidean geometries, field theories, and thermodynamics. It also reserves a long section for the work of the scientists-philosophers: Whewell, Peirce, Mach, and Duhem. The chapter on relativity stresses the geometrical approach, providing a detailed account of Minkoski's spacetime. It follows a review of the philosophical problems of special relativity, such as conventionality of simultaneity or the twin's paradox, and briefer sections on general relativity and relativistic cosmology. The chapter on quantum mechanics is quite technical and a bit tortuous. It begins with the older formalism of matrix and wave mechanics, and then it presents the standard Hilbert space formalism. There is a thorough analysis of philosophical problems, including the EPR argument, the measurement problem, hidden variables theories and quantum logic.
The last chapter contains general philosophical reflections on the nature of physical theories.Read more ›