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E. B. Davies [9]E. Brian Davies [5]
  1. E. Brian Davies (2010). Why Beliefs Matter: Reflections on the Nature of Science. Oup Oxford.
    This book discusses deep problems about our place in the world with a minimum of jargon. It argues that 'absolutist' ideas dating back to Plato continue to mislead generations of mathematicians, physicists and theologians, and reveals the underlying reasons for the current conflicts between science and religion.
     
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  2. E. B. Davies (2009). Some Reflections on Newton's Principia. British Journal for the History of Science 42 (2):211-224.
    This article examines the text of Principia Mathematica to discover the extent to which Newton's claims about his own contribution to it were justified. It is argued that for polemical reasons the General Scholium, written twenty-six years after the first edition, substantially misrepresented the methodology of the main body of the text. The article discusses papers of Wallis, Wren and Huygens that use the third law of motion as set out by Newton in Book 1. It also argues that Newton's (...)
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  3. E. Brian Davies, The Mechanical Philosophy 1660 - 1675.
    We study the state of mechanics and astronomy between 1660 and 1675 in order to understand the extent of the commitment to the mechanical philosophy of Kepler prior to the writing of Principia.
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  4. E. Brian Davies, Epistemological Pluralism.
    A number of those actively involved in the physical sciences anticipate the creation of a unified approach to all human knowledge based on reductionism in physics and Platonism in mathematics. We argue that it is implausible that this goal will ever be achieved, and argue instead for a pluralistic approach to human understanding, in which mathematically expressed laws of nature are merely one way among several of describing a world that is too complex for our minds to be able to (...)
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  5. E. Brian Davies, Scientific Understanding.
    Many of those actively involved in the physical sciences adopt a reductionist point of view, in which all aspects of the world are ultimately controlled by physical laws that are expressed in terms of mathematical equations. In this article we adopt a pluralistic approach to human understanding in which mathematically expressed laws of nature are merely one way among several of describing a world that is too vast and complex for our minds to be able to grasp in its entirety.
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  6. E. B. Davies (2005). A Defence of Mathematical Pluralism. Philosophia Mathematica 13 (3):252-276.
    We approach the philosophy of mathematics via a discussion of the differences between classical mathematics and constructive mathematics, arguing that each is a valid activity within its own context.
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  7. E. B. Davies (2005). Some Remarks on the Foundations of Quantum Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (3):521-539.
    Although many physicists have little interest in philosophical arguments about their subject, an analysis of debates about the paradoxes of quantum mechanics shows that their disagreements often depend upon assumptions about the relationship between theories and the real world. Some consider that physics is about building mathematical models which necessarily have limited domains of applicability, while others are searching for a final theory of everything, to which their favourite theory is supposed to be an approximation. We discuss some particular recent (...)
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  8. E. Brian Davies (2005). A Defence of Mathematical Pluralism. Philosophia Mathematica 13 (3):252-276.
    We approach the philosophy of mathematics via an analysis of mathematics as it is practised. This leads us to a classification in terms of four concepts, which we define and illustrate with a variety of examples. We call these concepts background conventions, context, content, and intuition.
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  9. E. B. Davies (2003). Empiricism in Arithmetic and Analysis. Philosophia Mathematica 11 (1):53-66.
    We discuss the philosophical status of the statement that (9n – 1) is divisible by 8 for various sizes of the number n. We argue that even this simple problem reveals deep tensions between truth and verification. Using Gillies's empiricist classification of theories into levels, we propose that statements in arithmetic should be classified into three different levels depending on the sizes of the numbers involved. We conclude by discussing the relationship between the real number system and the physical continuum.
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  10. E. B. Davies (2003). Quantum Mechanics Does Not Require the Continuity of Space. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 34 (2):319-328.
  11. E. B. Davies (2003). Science in the Looking Glass: What Do Scientists Really Know? Oxford University Press.
    In this wide-ranging book, Brian Davies discusses the basis for scientists' claims to knowledge about the world. He looks at science historically, emphasizing not only the achievements of scientists from Galileo onwards, but also their mistakes. He rejects the claim that all scientific knowledge is provisional, by citing examples from chemistry, biology and geology. A major feature of the book is its defense of the view that mathematics was invented rather than discovered. A large number of examples are used to (...)
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  12. E. B. Davies (2003). The Newtonian Myth. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (4):763-780.
    I examine Popper’s claims about Newton’s use of induction in Principia with the actual contents of Principia and draw two conclusions. Firstly, in common with most other philosophers of his generation, it appears that Popper had very little acquaintance with the contents and methodological complexities of Principia beyond what was in the famous General Scholium. Secondly Popper’s ideas about induction were less sophisticated than those of Newton, who recognised that it did not provide logical proofs of the results obtained using (...)
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  13. E. B. Davies, The Role of Astronomy in the History of Science.
    We discuss the extent to which the visibility of the heavens was a necessary condition for the development of science, with particular reference to the measurement of time. Our conclusion is that while astronomy had significant importance, the growth of most areas of science was more heavily influenced by the accuracy of scientific instruments, and hence by current technology.
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  14. E. B. Davies (2001). Building Infinite Machines. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):671-682.
    We describe in some detail how to build an infinite computing machine within a continuous Newtonian universe. The relevance of our construction to the Church-Turing thesis and the Platonist-Intuitionist debate about the nature of mathematics is also discussed.
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