The systematic study of the physical world had its orgins in philosophy; two-and-a-half millennia later, the scientific advances of the twentieth century are bringing the two fields closer together again. In this brilliant new textbook, Lawrence Sklar gives a broad overview of contemporary philosophy of physics which readers at all levels, especially students, should find accessible and engaging. Professor Sklar provides a clear and accurate guide to the key
topics: the nature of space and time, the problems of probability and irreversibility in statistical mechanics, and, of course, the many notorious problems raised by quantum mechanics. He discusses
sophisticated scientific questions, but avoids the use of technical formalism, so that the discussion will be accessible to those without a training in philosophy or physics.
`Excellent introduction. Ideal for a first course in the subject.'
Dr W.H. Newton-Smith, University of Oxford
`A careful, clear, yet sophisticated introduction. It will meet the needs of able students with a particular concern for the physical sciences.'
Barry Gower, Durham University
`Clear, useful, accessible'
M. Smithhurst, University of Southampton
`splendid book. ... One of the book's many attractions is its balanced view of the relationship between physics and philosophy. ... Sklar's book is certainly serious; it is also genuinely introductory. ... this book is an expository tour de force.'
`Highly readable, informative and ... valuable ... a useful addition to a very good series, the Dimensions of Philosophy Series ... The main value of this volume is that it will provide an excellent introductory and intermediate textbook, which covers all of the key issues with which students must become familiar. The level of discussion of physical theory is ... clear and accurate throughout so that it will provide a
stimulus for those students of physics who would like to know much more about the conceptual foundations of major branches of physical theory ... a superb teaching aid. Sklar has the merit of writing clearly, vigorously and with some wit, and
this makes the volume very readable.'
Philosophy and the Physical Sciences
1: The relation of science to philosophy
2: Modern physics and philosophy
3: Philosophy of physics and general philosophy
4: The aim and structure of this book
Space, Time, and Motion
5: Traditional philosophical problems of space and time
6: The debate between Newton and Leibniz
7: From space and time to spacetime
8: How do we know the true geometry of the world
9: What kind of being does spacetime have?
The Introduction of Probability into Physics
10: Philosophers on probability and statistical explanation
11: From thermodynamnics to statistical mechanics
12: The problems of irreversibility and attempts to solve it
13: The problem of `The Direction of Time'
The Quantum Picture of the World
14: The experimental basis of quantum theory
15: Early attempts to interpret the theory: The uncertainty principle
16: What is measurement in quantum theory?
17: The problem of hidden variables and determinism
18: The inseparability of systems
Reflections on the Interdependence of Philosophy and Science
Series: Dimensions of Philosophy S
Number Of Pages: 260
Published: 17th December 1992
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97
Weight (kg): 0.33