Philosophy and the Origin and Evolution of the Universe

Kluwer Academic Publishers (1991)
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Abstract

Modern cosmology, though a confluence of relativity theory and elementary particle physics, and with the help of very sophisticated mathematical models, tries to encompass the Universe as a whole, and to propose theories regarding its origin and evolution. But this cannot work without the evolution of several philosophical issues, concerning the epistemological status of this enterprise, its implicit or explicit extra-scientific presuppositions, as well as the real sense and interpretation of the theories and principles involved. This book provides a survey of these different aspects, for it gives some essential elements of the scientific background necessary for understanding the main issues of modern cosmology, and at the same time offer a discussion of the problems arising in it; problems which are never purely scientific, nor purely philosophical. Science and philosophy are therefore again deeply interrelated, at the moment where man tries to understand the Universe and his place in it. And this not only because the legitimacy of calling cosmology a science implies the acceptance of intellectual approaches which overstep the usual criteria of physical science and have a deep philosophical connotation, but also because the evolutionary way of thinking, strongly backed by cosmology, reinforces the role of this approach in the philosophy of science and in philosophy in general.

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Alberto Cordero
CUNY Graduate Center

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