In Michael Heidelberger & Friedrich Stadler (eds.), History of Philosophy of Science: New Trends and Perspectives. Vienna Circle Institute yearbook (9). Springer. pp. 239-243 (2002)

Miklós Rédei
London School of Economics
The main claim of this talk is that mathematical physics and philosophy of physics are not different. This claim, so formulated, is obviously false because it is overstated; however, since no non-tautological statement is likely to be completely true, it is a meaningful question whether the overstated claim expresses some truth. I hope it does, or so I’ll argue. The argument consists of two parts: First I’ll recall some characteristic features of von Neumann’s work on mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics and will claim that von Neumann’s motivation and results are essentially philosophical in their nature; hence, to the extent von Neumann’s work exemplifies what is considered to be mathematical physics, mathematical physics appears as formally explicit philosophy of physics. The second argument is based on a rather trivial interpretation of what mathematical physics is. That interpretation implies that mathematical physics shares some key characteristic features with philosophy of physics which make the two almost indistinguishable.
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