The Physicist S World

Author: Thomas Grissom
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9781421401195
Size: 24.32 MB
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A concise survey of the field of physics, Grissom’s book offers students and professionals alike a unique perspective on what physicists do, how physics is done, and how physicists view the world.

The Island Of Knowledge

Author: Marcelo Gleiser
Publisher: Basic Civitas Books
ISBN: 0465031714
Size: 17.18 MB
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A natural philosophy expert who is also a physics and astronomy professor discusses the limits of scientific explanations and how our knowledge of the universe and its nature will always remain necessarily incomplete. 15,000 first printing.

The Grand Design

Author: Stephen Hawking
Publisher: Bantam
ISBN: 0553907077
Size: 43.43 MB
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? What is the nature of reality? Is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation? In this startling and lavishly illustrated book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about these and other abiding mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by brilliance and simplicity. According to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history. The authors explain that we ourselves are the product of quantum fluctuations in the early universe, and show how quantum theory predicts the “multiverse”—the idea that ours is just one of many universes that appeared spontaneously out of nothing, each with different laws of nature. They conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a “theory of everything”: the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, which, if confirmed, would represent the ultimate triumph of human reason.

Contemporary Physics And The Limits Of Knowledge

Author: Morton Tavel
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 9780813530772
Size: 29.88 MB
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"An elegant read for anyone interested in understanding modern physics. Tavel has a genuine knack for making the difficult and obscure clear and exciting." --Joseph C. Pitt, author of Thinking about Technology "You will never look at scientific theories in the same way again." --John Hubiscz, North Carolina State University Introductory physics is not often a popular class among liberal arts majors. With its lively prose and analogies from the arts, humanities, and social sciences, however, Contemporary Physics and the Limits of Knowledge is guaranteed to enlighten and delight nonscience majors. Morton Tavel contends that every one of the six topics that he explores--symmetry, special and general relativity, statistical physics, quantum mechanics, and chaos--has played a role in telling us what we are unable to know about the physical world. He explains what each of the topics reveals about our attempts to pinpoint reality, and how each scientific revelation forces us to acknowledge a narrowing rather than a broadening of our knowledge. Chaos theory, for example, reveals a way to understand the randomness that seems so prevalent in natural phenomena such as weather. This development unifies our understanding of many phenomena that had been previously thought unrelated. Yet, chaos represents a significant diminution in what we can hope to predict about the course of natural events. It has increased our knowledge or understanding of a phenomena, but has seriously eroded our long-held, Newtonian vision of prediction and control. Tavel emphasizes the features of physics that make it a very human endeavor and serve to build bridges to all other intellectual disciplicnes. Morton Tavel is a professor of physics at Vassar College.

The Great Knowledge Transcendence

Author: Dengjian Jin
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 1137527943
Size: 73.49 MB
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This book illustrates the unnaturalness of modern science and technology by tracing their cognitive, evolutionary, and religious origins. It elaborates that all premodern knowers faced inherent limits, and the West was able to develop modern science and technology because of its inherent contradictions forcing the transcendence of limitations.

Human Nature And The Limits Of Science

Author: John Dupré
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199248060
Size: 61.38 MB
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John Dupre warns that our understanding of human nature is being distorted by two faulty and harmful forms of pseudo-scientific thinking. Not just in the academic world but increasingly in everyday life, we find one set of experts seeking to explain the ends at which humans aim in terms of evolutionary theory, and another set of experts using economic models to give rules of how we act to achieve those ends. Dupre charges this unholy alliance of evolutionary psychologists and rational-choice theorists with scientific imperialism: they use methods and ideas developed for one domain of inquiry in others where they are inappropriate. He demonstrates that these theorists' explanations do not work, and furthermore that if taken seriously their theories tend to have dangerous social and political consequences. For these reasons, it is important to resist scientism - an exaggerated conception of what science can be expected to do for us. To say this is in no way to be against science- just against bad science. Dupre restores sanity to the study of human nature by pointing the way to a proper understanding of humans in the societies that are our natural and necessary environments. He shows how our distinctively human capacities are shaped by the social contexts in which we are embedded. And he concludes with a bold challenge to one of the intellectual touchstones of modern science: the idea of the universe as causally complete and deterministic. In an impressive rehabilitation of the idea of free human agency, he argues that far from being helpless cogs in a mechanistic universe, humans are rare concentrations of causal power in a largely indeterministic world. Human Nature and the Limits of Science is a provocative, witty, and persuasive corrective to scientism. In its place, Dupre commends a pluralistic approach to science, as the appropriate way to investigate a universe that is not unified in form. Anyone interested in science and human nature will enjoy this book, unless they are its targets.

Time As Dimension And History

Author: Hubert Griggs Alexander
Publisher: Read Books Ltd
ISBN: 1473339529
Size: 43.11 MB
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This volume contains a fascinating treatise on the concept of time. It deals with the contemporary notions of time and explores the treatment of the concept throughout history, philosophy, mythology, etc. It contains fascinating insights into development of ideas related to time throughout history and is highly recommended for those with an interest in horology and related concepts. Contents include: "Key Concepts in the Temporal Complex", "Beginnings of Temporal Notions in Human Experience", "Calendric Time-Patterns", "Linguistic Evidence for Time Concepts", "Religious and Mythological Contributions to the Time-Conecpt", "Temporal Dualism in Greek Philosophy", "Plato", "Aristotle", "Post-Aristotelian Suggestions", et cetera. Many vintage books such as this are increasingly scarce and expensive. We are republishing this volume now in an affordable, modern edition complete with a specially commissioned new introduction.

The End Of Science

Author: John Horgan
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465050859
Size: 13.95 MB
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In The End of Science, John Horgan makes the case that the era of truly profound scientific revelations about the universe and our place in it is over. Interviewing scientific luminaries such as Stephen Hawking, Francis Crick, and Richard Dawkins, he demonstrates that all the big questions that can be answered have been answered, as science bumps up against fundamental limits. The world cannot give us a “theory of everything,” and modern endeavors such as string theory are “ironic” and “theological” in nature, not scientific, because they are impossible to confirm. Horgan’s argument was controversial in 1996, and it remains so today, still firing up debates in labs and on the internet, not least because—as Horgan details in a lengthy new introduction—ironic science is more prevalent than ever. Still, while Horgan offers his critique, grounded in the thinking of the world’s leading researchers, he offers homage, too. If science is ending, he maintains, it is only because it has done its work so well.

The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions

Author: Thomas S. Kuhn
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226458148
Size: 23.80 MB
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A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age. This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.