Philosophical Concepts in Physics

Author: James T. Cushing
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 052157823X
Release Date: 1998-01-29
Genre: Science

This book examines a selection of philosophical issues in the context of specific episodes in the development of physical theories and presents scientific advances within their historical and philosophical contexts. Philosophical considerations have played an essential and ineliminable role in the actual practice of science. The book begins with some necessary introduction to the history of ancient and early modern science, but emphasizes the two great watersheds of twentieth-century physics: relativity and quantum mechanics. At times the term "construction" may seem more appropriate than "discovery" for the way theories have developed and, especially in later chapters, the discussion focuses on the influence of historical, philosophical and even social factors on the form and content of scientific theories.

Chemistry Education and Contributions from History and Philosophy of Science

Author: Mansoor Niaz
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9783319262482
Release Date: 2015-12-23
Genre: Science

This book explores the relationship between the content of chemistry education and the history and philosophy of science (HPS) framework that underlies such education. It discusses the need to present an image that reflects how chemistry developed and progresses. It proposes that chemistry should be taught the way it is practiced by chemists: as a human enterprise, at the interface of scientific practice and HPS. Finally, it sets out to convince teachers to go beyond the traditional classroom practice and explore new teaching strategies. The importance of HPS has been recognized for the science curriculum since the middle of the 20th century. The need for teaching chemistry within a historical context is not difficult to understand as HPS is not far below the surface in any science classroom. A review of the literature shows that the traditional chemistry classroom, curricula, and textbooks while dealing with concepts such as law, theory, model, explanation, hypothesis, observation, evidence and idealization, generally ignore elements of the history and philosophy of science. This book proposes that the conceptual understanding of chemistry requires knowledge and understanding of the history and philosophy of science. “Professor Niaz’s book is most welcome, coming at a time when there is an urgently felt need to upgrade the teaching of science. The book is a huge aid for adding to the usual way - presenting science as a series of mere facts - also the necessary mandate: to show how science is done, and how science, through its history and philosophy, is part of the cultural development of humanity.” Gerald Holton, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics & Professor of History of Science, Harvard University “In this stimulating and sophisticated blend of history of chemistry, philosophy of science, and science pedagogy, Professor Mansoor Niaz has succeeded in offering a promising new approach to the teaching of fundamental ideas in chemistry. Historians and philosophers of chemistry --- and above all, chemistry teachers --- will find this book full of valuable and highly usable new ideas” Alan Rocke, Case Western Reserve University “This book artfully connects chemistry and chemistry education to the human context in which chemical science is practiced and the historical and philosophical background that illuminates that practice. Mansoor Niaz deftly weaves together historical episodes in the quest for scientific knowledge with the psychology of learning and philosophical reflections on the nature of scientific knowledge and method. The result is a compelling case for historically and philosophically informed science education. Highly recommended!” Harvey Siegel, University of Miami “Books that analyze the philosophy and history of science in Chemistry are quite rare. ‘Chemistry Education and Contributions from History and Philosophy of Science’ by Mansoor Niaz is one of the rare books on the history and philosophy of chemistry and their importance in teaching this science. The book goes through all the main concepts of chemistry, and analyzes the historical and philosophical developments as well as their reflections in textbooks. Closest to my heart is Chapter 6, which is devoted to the chemical bond, the glue that holds together all matter in our earth. The chapter emphasizes the revolutionary impact of the concept of the ‘covalent bond’ on the chemical community and the great novelty of the idea that was conceived 11 years before quantum mechanics was able to offer the mechanism of electron pairing and covalent bonding. The author goes then to describe the emergence of two rival theories that explained the nature of the chemical bond in terms of quantum mechanics; these are valence bond (VB) and molecular orbital (MO) theories. He emphasizes the importance of having rival theories and interpretations in science and its advancement. He further argues that this VB-MO rivalry is still alive and together the two conceptual frames serve as the tool kit for thinking and doing chemistry in creative manners. The author surveys chemistry textbooks in the light of the how the books preserve or not the balance between the two theories in describing various chemical phenomena. This Talmudic approach of conceptual tension is a universal characteristic of any branch of evolving wisdom. As such, Mansoor’s book would be of great utility for chemistry teachers to examine how can they become more effective teachers by recognizing the importance of conceptual tension”. Sason Shaik Saeree K. and Louis P. Fiedler Chair in Chemistry Director, The Lise Meitner-Minerva Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ISRAEL

Philosophies of the Sciences

Author: Fritz Allhoff
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781119144816
Release Date: 2015-12-02
Genre: Science

A collection of essays discussing a wide range of sciences and the central philosophical issues associated with them, presenting the sciences collectively to encourage a greater understanding of their associative theoretical foundations, as well as their relationships to each other. Offers a new and unique approach to studying and comparing the philosophies of a variety of scientific disciplines Explores a wide variety of individual sciences, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology and economics The essays are written by leading scholars in a highly accessible style for the student audience Complements more traditional studies of philosophy of science

The Ashgate Companion to Contemporary Philosophy of Physics

Author: Dean Rickles
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317044314
Release Date: 2016-11-25
Genre: Philosophy

Introducing the reader to the very latest developments in the philosophical foundations of physics, this book covers advanced material at a level suitable for beginner and intermediate students. A detailed overview is provided of the central debates in the philosophy of quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, quantum computation, and quantum gravity. Each chapter consists of a 'state of the art' review written by a specialist in the field and introduces the reader to the relevant formal aspects along with the philosophical implications. These, and the various interpretive options, are developed in a self-contained, clear, and concise manner. Special care is given to situating the reader within the contemporary debates by providing numerous references and readings. This book thus enables both philosophers and physicists to engage with the most pressing problems in contemporary philosophy of physics in a fruitful way.

Shakespeare s Possible Worlds

Author: Simon Palfrey
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107058279
Release Date: 2014-05-22
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction

Simon Palfrey offers a new way of understanding Shakespeare's playworlds, with piercingly original readings of language, scenes, and characters.

Atom and Individual in the Age of Newton

Author: G. Freudenthal
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9789400945005
Release Date: 2012-12-06
Genre: Science

In this stimulating investigation, Gideon Freudenthal has linked social history with the history of science by formulating an interesting proposal: that the supposed influence of social theory may be seen as actual through its co herence with the process of formation of physical concepts. The reinterpre tation of the development of science in the seventeenth century, now widely influential, receives at Freudenthal's hand its most persuasive statement, most significantly because of his attention to the theoretical form which is charac teristic. of classical Newtonian mechanics. He pursues the sources of the parallels that may be noted between that mechanics and the dominant philosophical systems and social theories of the time; and in a fascinating development Freudenthal shows how a quite precise method - as he descriptively labels it, the 'analytic-synthetic method' - which underlay the Newtonian form of theoretical argument, was due to certain interpretive premisses concerning particle mechanics. If he is right, these depend upon a particular stage of con ceptual achievement in the theories of both society and nature; further, that the conceptual was generalized philosophically; but, strikingly, Freudenthal shows that this concept-formation itself was linked to the specific social relations of the times of Newton and Hobbes.

Physics the Human Adventure

Author: Gerald James Holton
Publisher:
ISBN: UOM:39015054066082
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Science

Physics, the Human Adventure is the third edition of the classic text Introduction to Concepts and Theories in Physical Science. Authored by Gerald Holton, the text was a landmark in science education. It was the first modern textbook in physics (or in any other science) to make full and effective use of the history and philosophy of science in presenting for both the general and the science-oriented student an account of the nature of physical science. A second edition, prepared by Stephen G. Brush, brought the book up to date by increasing the coverage of topics in modern physics and by taking account of recent scholarly research in the history of science. In the new book Physics, The Human Adventure, each of the chapters has been reworked to further clarify the physics concepts and to incorporate recent physical advances and research. The book shows the unifying power of science by bringing in connections to chemistry, astronomy, and geoscience. In short, the aid of the new edition is to teach good physics while presenting physical science as a human adventure that has become a major force in our civilization. New chapters discuss theories of the origin of the solar system and the expanding universe; fission, fusion, and the Big Bang -- Steady State Controversy; and thematic elements and styles in scientific thought.

Heinrich Hertz Classical Physicist Modern Philosopher

Author: D. Baird
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9789401588553
Release Date: 2013-03-14
Genre: Science

The sub-title of this symposium is accurate and, in a curious way, promises more than it states: Classical Physicist, Modem Philosopher. Heinrich Hertz, as the con summate experimentalist of 19th century technique and as brilliant clarifying critic of physical theory of his time, achieved one of the fulfilments but at the same time opened one of the transition points of classical physics. Thus, in his 'popular' lecture 'On the Relations Between Light and Electricity' at Heidelberg in the Fall of 1889, Hertz identified the ether as henceforth the most fundamental problem of physics, as the conceptual mystery but also the key to understanding mass, electric ity, and gravity. Of Hertz's demonstration of electric waves, Helmholtz told the Physical Society of Berlin: "Gentlemen! I have to communicate to you today the most important physical discovery of the century. " Hertz, philosophizing in his direct, lucid, pithy style, once wrote "We have to imagine". Perhaps this is metaphysics on the horizon? In the early pages of his Principles of Mechanics, we read A doubt which makes an impression on our mind cannot be removed by calling it metaphysical: every thoughtful mind as such has needs which scientific men are accustomed to denote as metaphysical. (PM23) And at another place, concerning the terms 'force' and 'electricity' and the alleged mystery of their natures, Hertz wrote: We have an obscure feeling of this and want to have things cleared up.

The Quantum Vacuum

Author: Luciano Boi
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9781421402475
Release Date: 2011-10-28
Genre: Science

A vacuum, classically understood, contains nothing. The quantum vacuum, on the other hand, is a seething cauldron of nothingness: particle pairs going in and out of existence continuously and rapidly while exerting influence over an enormous range of scales. Acclaimed mathematical physicist and natural philosopher Luciano Boi expounds the quantum vacuum, exploring the meaning of nothingness and its relationship with physical reality. Boi first provides a deep analysis of the interaction between geometry and physics at the quantum level. He next describes the relationship between the microscopic and macroscopic structures of the world. In so doing, Boi sheds light on the very nature of the universe, stressing in an original and profound way the relationship between quantum geometry and the internal symmetries underlying the behavior of matter and the interactions of forces. Beyond the physics and mathematics of the quantum vacuum, Boi offers a profoundly philosophical interpretation of the concept. Plato and Aristotle did not believe a vacuum was possible. How could nothing be something, they asked? Boi traces the evolution of the quantum vacuum from an abstract concept in ancient Greece to its fundamental role in quantum field theory and string theory in modern times. The quantum vacuum is a complex entity, one essential to understanding some of the most intriguing issues in twentieth-century physics, including cosmic singularity, dark matter and energy, and the existence of the Higgs boson particle. Boi explains with simple clarity the relevant theories and fundamental concepts of the quantum vacuum. Theoretical, mathematical, and particle physicists, as well as researchers and students of the history and philosophy of physics, will find The Quantum Vacuum to be a stimulating and engaging primer on the topic.

Conceptual Change

Author: G.A. Pearce
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9789401025485
Release Date: 2012-12-06
Genre: Science

During Hallowe'en of 1970, the Department of Philosophy of the Univer sity of Western Ontario held its annual fall colloquium at London, On tario. The general topic of the sessions that year was conceptual change. The thirteen papers composing this volume stem more or less directly from those meetings; six of them are printed here virtually as delivered, while the remaining seven were subsequently written by invitation. The programme of the colloquium was to have consisted of major papers delivered by Professors Wilfrid Sellars, Stephan Korner, Paul Ziff and Hilary Putnam, with shorter commentary thereupon by Professors Robert Binkley, Joseph Ullian, Jerry Fodor and Robert Barrett, respec tively. And that is the way it happened, with one important exception: at the eleventh hour, Sellars and Binkley exchanged roles. This gave Binkley the rather unusual and challenging task of providing a suitable Sellarsian answer to a question not of his own asking - for Binkley's paper was written under Sellars' original title. Sellars' own contribution to the vo lume is perhaps more nearly what he would have presented as main speaker than a direct response to Binkley. However, it has seemed best, on balance, to attempt no further stylistic accommodation of the one paper to the other; their mutual philosophical relevance will be evident in any case. The editors would here like to extend special thanks to both Sellars and Binkley for their extraordinary efforts under the circumstances.