The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Physics

Hardcover | January 16, 2013

EditorRobert Batterman

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This Oxford Handbook provides an overview of many of the topics that currently engage philosophers of physics. It surveys new issues and the problems that have become a focus of attention in recent years. It also provides up-to-date discussions of the still very important problems thatdominated the field in the past.In the late 20th Century, the philosophy of physics was largely focused on orthodox Quantum Mechanics and Relativity Theory. The measurement problem, the question of the possibility of hidden variables, and the nature of quantum locality dominated the literature on the quantum mechanics, whereasquestions about relationalism vs. substantivalism, and issues about underdetermination of theories dominated the literature on spacetime. These issues still receive considerable attention from philosophers, but many have shifted their attentions to other questions related to quantum mechanics and tospacetime theories. Quantum field theory has become a major focus, particularly from the point of view of algebraic foundations. Concurrent with these trends, there has been a focus on understanding gauge invariance and symmetries. The philosophy of physics has evolved even further in recent years with attention being paid to theories that, for the most part, were largely ignored in the past. For example, the relationship between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics - once thought to be a paradigm instance of unproblematictheory reduction - is now a hotly debated topic. The implicit, and sometimes explicit, reductionist methodology of both philosophers and physicists has been severely criticized and attention has now turned to the explanatory and descriptive roles of "non-fundamental,' phenomenological theories.This shift of attention includes "old' theories such as classical mechanics, once deemed to be of little philosophical interest. Furthermore, some philosophers have become more interested in "less fundamental' contemporary physics such as condensed matter theory. Questions abound with implicationsfor the nature of models, idealizations, and explanation in physics. This Handbook showcases all these aspects of this complex and dynamic discipline.

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This Oxford Handbook provides an overview of many of the topics that currently engage philosophers of physics. It surveys new issues and the problems that have become a focus of attention in recent years. It also provides up-to-date discussions of the still very important problems thatdominated the field in the past.In the late 20th Ce...

Robert Batterman is Professor of Philosophy at The University of Pittsburgh. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the author of The Devil in the Details: Asymptotic Reasoning in Explanation, Reduction, and Emergence (Oxford, 2002). His work in philosophy of physics focuses primarily upon the area of condensed matter br...

other books by Robert Batterman

Format:HardcoverDimensions:608 pages, 9.75 × 6.75 × 0.98 inPublished:January 16, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195392043

ISBN - 13:9780195392043

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Olivier Darrigol: For a Philosophy of Hydrodynamics2. Mark Wilson: What is Classical Mechanics Anyway?3. Sheldon Smith: Causation in Classical Mechanics4. Leo P. Kadanoff: Theories of Matter: Infinities and Renormalization5. Craig Callender and Tarun Menon: Turn and Face the Strange . . . Ch-ch-changes: Philosophical Questions Raised by Phase Transitions6. Jonathan Bain: Effective Field Theories7. Robert Batterman: The Tyranny of Scales8. Sorin Bangu: Symmetry9. Gordon Belot: Symmetry and Equivalence10. Simon Saunders: Indistinguishability11. Margaret Morrison: Unification in Physics12. Guido Bacciagaluppi: Measurement and Classical Regime in Quantum Mechanics13. David Wallace: The Everett Interpretation14. Laura Ruetsche: Unitary Equivalence and Physical Equivalence15. Oliver Pooley: Substantivalist and Relationalist Approaches to Spacetime16. Jon Byron manchak: Global Spacetime Structure17. Chris Smeenk: Philosophy of Cosmology