1st Edition

Philosophy and the New Physics

By Jonathan H Powers Copyright 1982

    First Published in 1982 Philosophy and the New Physics is a compact and yet remarkably rich excursion through the history of physics from Newtonian mechanics to quantum physics. The theory of relativity, quantum mechanics and ideas about the ‘fundamental constituents’ of matter have attracted a great deal of philosophical comment. Indeed, the originators of some of these theories thought they were solving philosophical problems as well as scientific ones. Classical physics is often portrayed as epitomizing ‘mechanistic materialism’, and the revolution in modern physics is variously claimed to vindicate ‘logical positivism’, ‘operationalism’, ‘organicism’, ‘dialectical materialism’ and ‘Buddhist metaphysics’. In this book Jonathan Powers criticizes all of these claims and argues that such varied and conflicting interpretations are possible because of ineradicable elements of conventionality in scientific theories. This is a must read for scholars and researchers of philosophy of science and philosophy in general.

    List of Figures Acknowledgements New Preface Preface Note to the Second Printing Introduction 1. Physics, Metaphysics, and Mathematics 2. The Classical Framework 3. The Meaning of Relativity 4. The New World of Quantum Physics 5. Physics, Ideology and Absolute Truth Notes Bibliography Appendix Name Index Subject Index


    Jonathan Powers