|Philosophy of Physics|
In General > s.a. philosophy of science;
physics [ultimate theories]; theory.
* History: Einstein was influenced by Mach, Hume, and other philosophers; Weyl by Kant and Leibniz; Boltzmann of course participated in discussions with Mach and others; and the Vienna Circle (which incuded Moritz Schlick, Hans Hahn, Kurt Gödel, Rudolf Carnap, Otto Neurath) was very influential; But more recently, the philosophers' emphasis has shifted from ontology and epistemology to ethics, and philosophy has become less directly related to fundamental issues in physics.
* Einstein's view: Physicists need philosophy, especially at a time when they question the foundations of physics; It promotes independence of judgment.
* Description of reality: Scientific methodology is based on two descriptive levels, ontic (reality as it is) and epistemic (observed properties and phenomena).
* Examples of questions: (On a general background of philosophy of science) What is 4D Minkowski? How did it affect our Newtonian views? What do distributions in statistical mechanics mean? Is there a measurement problem in quantum mechanics?
* Physicalism: The claim that there is nothing in the world but the physical; Philosophers who defend physicalism have to confront a well-known dilemma, known as Hempel's dilemma, concerning the definition of 'the physical': If 'the physical' is whatever current physics says there is, then physicalism is most probably false; But if 'the physical' is whatever the true theory of physics would say that there is, we have that physicalism is vacuous and runs the risk of becoming trivial.
Specific Areas and Topics
> s.a. cosmology; history of physics;
@ Statistical mechanics and thermodynamics: de Regt BJPS(96) [role of philosophy in scientific work].
@ Quantum theory: Percival qp/00-conf [John Bell, speakable and unspeakable]; Karakostas a0905 [atomism vs holism]; Maudlin 19; > s.a. foundations of quantum mechanics.
@ Field theory: Teller SHPMP(97) [essay review]; Lyre SHPMP(04) [gauge theory, holism and structural realism].
@ Quantum gravity: Zimmermann phy/01, phy/01, phy/01 [lqg].
@ Related topics: Nicolescu EJST(06)phy [levels of reality]; Amelino-Camelia a1206 [The OPERA data and phenomenology of philosophy of science]; Hall a1306 [existence of universes]; > s.a. Epistemology; geometry; Holism; inflation; Ontology; renormalization; time; uncertainty.
@ General: Kosso 97 [II]; d'Espagnat 06 [r PT(07)jun]; Butterfield & Earman 06 [handbook]; Huggett 10; Batterman 13 [r CP(13)]; List & Pivato a1508 [framework for the formal philosophical analysis of physical systems]; Liu 16.
@ II: Reynolds a1507/AJP [using the dark matter problem as an illustration].
@ Determinism and free will: Peres FP(86); Panković PLA(88); Szabó qp/95; 't Hooft qp/07 [free will defined as 'unconstrained initial state'].
@ Physicists: Jeans 43; Bergmann AJP(43)oct, AJP(43)dec; Heisenberg 62; Heitler 63; Holton Daed(68); Bunge ed-71, 73; Toraldo di Francia 81; Wu IJMPA(89); Howard PT(05)dec [Einstein]; Plonitsky 06 [Bohr, r SHPMP(09)]; Stenholm 11 [Bohr and Wittgenstein]; Lo Surdo a1109 [mathematical physicist]; Krauss SA(12)apr; Stenger et al SA(15)may [validity of philosophy in modern theoretical physics]; Rovelli FP(18)-a1805-talk [philosophy and physics need each other]; Boughn a1905 [experimentalist, pragmatic point of view].
@ Philosophers: Stebbing 58; Capek 61; Carnap 66; Margenau 78; Torretti 91, 99; Sklar 92; Redhead 95.
@ Philosophy-physics relationship: Rudolph & Stamatescu ed-94; Cushing 98; Zimmermann phy/01-conf; Zajonc ed-04; Svozil phy/04-conf [Feyerabend etc]; Stenholm 11 [quantum uncertainty and linguistic ambiguity]; news pt(12)jun [intellectual conflict between physics and philosophy]; de Haro FS(20)-a1307-conf; Ihnatovych a1406 [philosophy and the questions raised by XX century physics]; Neves a1611 [Nietzsche for physicists].
@ Metaphysics: Jones 82; Pollard AJP(84)oct; Rosen AJP(86)aug; Scerri AJP(89)aug; Clifton & Regehr Zyg(90); Stenger 95.
@ The Vienna Circle: Oberdan BJPS(98); Sigmund 17.
@ Related topics: Gregory 88 [and language]; Stapp qp/95 [moral values]; Uebel BJPS(96), Perez a1012; Vicente BJPS(11) [physicalism and Hempel's dilemma]; Esfeld a1403 [Humeanism, generalized from Bohmian quantum mechanics to general theories]; Kulikov a1407 [conceptual preconditions]; Miković a1509 [platonic metaphysics is preferable over a materialistic metaphysics]; Conitzer Erk-a1802 [further facts].
> Online resources: see Hans Halvorson's guide.
"Philosophy of science is of no more use to scientists
than ornithology is to birds" – attributed to R Feynman;
"Philosophy has done science more harm than good" – S Weinberg.
"To tell you the truth, I think most of my colleagues are terrified of talking
like being caught coming out of a pornographic cinema" – M Tegmark
"The physicist cannot simply surrender to the philosopher the critical contemplation of theoretical
for he himself knows best and feels more surely where the shoe pinches" – A Einstein.
– journals – comments
– other sites – acknowledgements
send feedback and suggestions to bombelli at olemiss.edu – modified 3 jun 2020