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Appearance and Reality : An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics - Peter Kosso

Appearance and Reality

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics


Published: 1st August 1997
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Appearance and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics addresses quantum mechanics and relativity and their philosophical implications, focusing on whether these theories of modern physics can help us know nature as it really is, or only as it appears to us. The author clearly explains the foundational concepts and principles of both quantum mechanics and relativity and then uses them to argue that we can know more than mere appearances, and that we can know to some extent the way things really are. He argues that modern physics gives us reason to believe that we can know some things about the objective, real world, but he also acknowledges that we cannot know everything, which results in a position he calls "realistic realism." This book is not a survey of possible philosophical interpretations of modern physics, nor does it leap from a caricature of the physics to some wildly alarming metaphysics. Instead, it is careful with the physics and true to the evidence in arriving at its own realistic conclusions. It presents the physics without mathematics, and makes extensive use of diagrams and analogies to explain important ideas. Engaging and accessible, Appearance and Reality serves as an ideal introduction for anyone interested in the intersection of philosophy and physics, including students in philosophy of physics and philosophy of science courses.

"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

Preface Introduction 1: Physics and Philosophy Why This Will Require Both Physics and Philosophy Standards of Proof From Physics to Philosophy Useful Philosophical Concepts Philosophical Issues Philosophical Evidence 2: Appearance and Reality Scientific Observation The Conceptual Influence The Physical Influence Nature as It Is Philosophical Arguments about Realism Return to Bohr 3: The Special Theory of Relativity The Principle of Relativity Space and Time Relative and Absolute Properties The Foundations of the Special Theory of Relativity Consequences of the Absolute Speed of Light The Relativity of Simultaneity Time Dilation Length Contraction Mitch's Paradox Nothing Can Go Faster Than the Speed of Light Summary of the Special Theory of Relativity 4: The General Theory of Relativity General Covariance and the Principle of Equivalence Consequences of General Covariance and the Principle of Equivalence The Bending of Light Gravitational Red-shift (Time Dilation) The Curvature of Spacetime Mach's Principle Summary of the General Theory of Relativity 5: Relativity and Realism Two Separate Questions The Way Nature Is How Do We Know the Theory is True? Summary 6: Quantum Mechanics Probability, Cause and Effect, and Determinism Particles and Waves The State Function, Complementarity, and the Uncertainty Principle Spin and the EPR Experiment Bell's Proof Summary of Quantum Mechanics 7: Quantum Mechanics and Realism What to Make of Bell's Proof The Quantum/Classical Distinction The Copenhagen Interpretation The Measurement Problem Alternative Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics The Many-words Interpretation The Consciousness Interpretation It's All Quantum Mechanics Bohm's Theory Summary 8: Realistic Realm Two Kinds of Questions: Metaphysics and Epistemology The Metaphysical Issue The Epistemological Issue It's Not the End of the World References and Suggested Reading Philosophical Background Relativity Quantum Mechanics Historical and Biographical Accounts Primary Sources

ISBN: 9780195115154
ISBN-10: 0195115155
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 1st August 1997
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.37 x 15.55  x 1.12
Weight (kg): 0.29