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October 9, 2006

Philosophy of Physics

Posted by David Corfield

Next month sees the publication of The North Holland Handbook of Philosophy of Physics. Interaction between philosophers and practitioners is very good in this field. For one, as I pointed out in another post, philosophers of physics tend to know a lot more about physics than philosophers of mathematics do about mathematics. Second, as the blurb says,

Some of the best work in the philosophy of physics is being done by physicists, as witnessed by the fact that several of the contributors to the volume are theoretical physicists: viz., Ellis, Emch, Harvey, Landsman, Rovelli, t Hooft, the last of whom is a Nobel laureate.

One of the chapters of the Handbook would provide some further background to classical mechanics for John’s course. It’s Jeremy Butterfield’s On Symplectic Reduction in Classical Mechanics. (John once gave some lectures the Hamiltonian way, but only has notes for his Lagrangian course.) Jeremy is one of the editors of the Handbook and is a philosopher of physics based in Oxford.

In the aforementioned post, I also suggest there that philosophers of physics could be doing much more to influence the direction of mainstream analytic philosophy, such as disrupting received ideas of metaphysics. Jeremy is someone who has attempted to do precisely this.

Posted at October 9, 2006 9:56 AM UTC

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Re: Philosophy of Physics

Philosophy is an expensive pastime - $215!!!!

Posted by: Arun on October 10, 2006 1:59 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Philosophy of Physics

Philosophy, an expensive pasttime? Isn’t this the profession which doesn’t even have to buy wastebaskets and erasers? ;-)

Posted by: Blake Stacey on October 10, 2006 3:00 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Philosophy of Physics

Oh, a most interesting book indeed. But it is too expensive for me. :(


Posted by: Christine Dantas on October 10, 2006 2:02 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Philosophy of Physics

Only CDN$159. You may well find you can read most for nothing, e.g., Symmetries and invariances in classical physics, either on the arXiv or on the PhilSci preprint server. You’ll notice that there hasn’t been the same sustained exponential growth in the use of the server as there was for the ArXiv, at least for mathematics.

Posted by: David Corfield on October 10, 2006 2:45 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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