An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics: Locality Fields, Energy, and Mass [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 57 (3):631-633 (2004)


That theme is that effects should be spatiotemporally local to their causes, and so electromagnetic and strong nuclear forces in particular cannot act at a distance. Lange’s key step in arguing for spatiotemporal locality is to argue that fields produced by these forces are ontologically real, contacting the objects causing, and affected by, those fields. In the process of his argument, Lange discusses classical, special-relativistic, and quantum mechanics, as well as metaphysical topics such as realism and causality. Lange also provides a sociological critique of the sometimes inconsistent, sometimes dismissive, attitudes of some scientists and textbooks toward questions of realism. Lange generally succeeds in convincing the reader that such questions are relevant to both philosophy and physics.

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Nathaniel Goldberg
Washington and Lee University

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