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Appearance and Reality

Appearance and Reality - 98 edition

Appearance and Reality - 98 edition

ISBN13: 9780195115154

ISBN10: 0195115155

Appearance and Reality by Peter Kosso - ISBN 9780195115154
Cover type: Paperback
Edition: 98
Copyright: 1998
Publisher: Oxford University Press
International: No
Appearance and Reality by Peter Kosso - ISBN 9780195115154

ISBN13: 9780195115154

ISBN10: 0195115155

Cover type: Paperback
Edition: 98

List price: $64.95

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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.

  • Covers both quantum mechanics and relativity
  • Argues for a philosophical conclusion about realism

Author Bio

Kosso, Peter : Northern Arizona University

Peter Kosso is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Northern Arizona University. He is the author of Reading the Book of Nature (1992), and Observability and Observation in Physical Science (1989).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


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?

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

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
Quantum Mechanics
Historical and Biographical Accounts

Primary Sources