The final work of a distinguished physicist, this remarkable volume examines the emotive significance of time, the time order of mechanics, the time direction of thermodynamics and microstatistics, the time direction of macrostatistics, and the time of quantum physics. Coherent discussions include accounts of analytic methods of scientific philosophy in the investigation of probability, quantum mechanics, the theory of relativity, and causality. "[Reichenbach’s] best by a good deal."—Physics Today. 1971 ed.
Written by an internationally renowned philosopher, this volume offers a three-part philosophical interpretation of quantum physics. The first part reviews the basics of quantum mechanics, outlining their philosophical interpretation and summarizing their results; the second outlines the mathematical methods of quantum mechanics; and the third section blends the philosophical ideas of the first part and the mathematical formulations of the second part to develop a variety of interpretations of quantum mechanics. 1944 edition.
The present state of the discussion on relativity -- The theory of motion according to Newton, Leibniz, and Huyghens -- Casualty and probability -- Aims and methods of modern philosophy of nature -- The principle of causality and the possibility of its empirical confirmation -- Rationalism and empiricism -- The freedom of the will -- On the explication of ethical utterances.
Hans Reichenbach was a formidable figure in early-twentieth-century philosophy of science. Educated in Germany, he was influential in establishing the so-called Berlin Circle, a companion group to the Vienna Circle founded by his colleague Rudolph Carnap. The movement they founded—usually known as "logical positivism," although it is more precisely known as "scientific philosophy" or "logical empiricism"—was a form of epistemology that privileged scientific over metaphysical truths. Reichenbach, like other young philosophers of the exact sciences of his generation, was deeply impressed (...) by the far-reaching changes in physics brought about by Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Reichenbach responded to scientific advances by doing fundamental work in space-time theories, in quantum mechanics, in statistical mechanics, and in the development of probability theory—making him the most important philosopher of physics in the first generation of logical empiricism. Forced from his academic position by the Nazi race laws in 1933, Reichenbach wrote _Experience and Prediction_ at the University of Istanbul, where had had fled, expressly to introduce logical positivism to English speakers. In the two decades following World War II, during the explosion of scientific advances in North America, logical positivism was the reigning theory of the philosophy of science and Reichenbach was at the peak of his career. But, inevitably, support for logical positivism began to wane as it became obvious that the justification of scientific theories could not be entirely resolved by relying on strictly formal, technical processes. The growth of the discipline of the history of philosophy of science, which has created an audience of scholars eager for seminal classics in scientific philosophy, and the evidence supporting a historicist paradigm within logical positivism are two important reasons to make _Experience and Prediction_ available once again. "Hans Reichenbach's_ Experience and Prediction_ is one of the most important books in twentieth-century philosophy of science. Its author was, along with Rudolf Carnap, one of the two principal ambassadors to North America of the exciting new European philosophical movement known here under the names 'Logical Positivism' and 'Scientific Philosophy.' In 1938, when the book was published, Reichenbach was an exile from his native Germany, teaching in Istanbul, Turkey, and about to emigrate to the United States to take up a prestigious position at UCLA. He wrote_ Experience and Prediction_ in English as his calling card to his new American colleagues. More than any other single book,_ Experience and Prediction_ set the agenda for the new discipline of the philosophy of science that was to emerge after World War II as, perhaps, the most exciting new area in North American philosophy. Many of the problems still at the focus of discussion were given their classic formulations in this book. Long out of print,_ Experience and Prediction_ appears here in a new edition accompanied by a splendid historical introduction by the noted young philosopher and historian of the philosophy of science, Alan Richardson. A jewel of a book may once again be appreciated in its proper setting." —Don A. Howard, University of Notre Dame. (shrink)
Hans Reichenbach, a philosopher of science who was one of five students in Einstein's first seminar on the general theory of relativity, became Einstein's bulldog, defending the theory against criticism from philosophers, physicists, and popular commentators. This book chronicles the development of Reichenbach's reconstruction of Einstein's theory in a way that clearly sets out all of its philosophical commitments and its physical predictions as well as the battles that Reichenbach fought on its behalf, in both the academic and popular press. (...) The essays include reviews and responses to philosophical colleagues, such as Moritz Schlick and Hugo Dingler; polemical discussions with physicists Max Born and D. C. Miller; as well as popular articles meant to clarify aspects of Einstein's theories and set out their philosophical ramifications for the layperson. At a time when physics and philosophy were both undergoing revolutionary changes in content and method, this book is a window into the development of scientific philosophy and the role of the philosopher. (shrink)
SummaryThe following two questions are examined: 1o Do the unobservable parameters possess precise, though unknown, values ? 2o If these unobservable values were known, would it be possible to make precise predictions of the reults of later measurements ?The answer is shown to be negative; the questions, therefore, are not meaningless, being capable of a falsification. The inquiry leads to the establishment of a principle of anomaly, more precisely speaking, of causal anomaly, which is to be added to Heisenberg's principle (...) of indeterminacy. This principle states that the principle of action by contact is violated whenever definite values are assigned to the unobserved quantities, i. e., when an exhaustive interpretation of quantum mechanics is used. The two most important exhaustive interpretations are given by the corpuscle and the wave interpretation; each leads to causal anomalies, though for different places.The causal anomalies can be eliminated by the use of a restrictive interpretation, which separates statements about unobserved quantities, as a third propositional class, from true or false statements. Bohr and Heisenberg have called such statements meaningless, without being able to eliminate them completely; these statements arte thus merely shifted into the metalanguage. In another version of the restrictive interpretation such statements are assigned a third truth value, the value indeterminate, and quantum mechanics is then presented in the form of a three‐valued logic.The inquiry is carried through without the presupposition of any philosophical conception; every interpretation is examined with respect to the consequences to which it leads. ‐ H. R.'. (shrink)
La philosophie scientifique de nos jours prend son point de départ, non dans les propositions certaines des mathématiques, suivant l’exemple de Descartes, mais dans les énoncés probabilitaires des sciences empiriques, dont le modèle est la physique. Les mathématiques sont certaines, mais vides de contenu : ce sont de pures tautologies qui n’imposent aucune restriction au réel. Les éпоncés de la physique sont doués de contenu, mais ils ne sont pas certains parce qu’ils formulent des prédictions : ils ne sont pas (...) à considérer comme des propositions vraies, mais comme les mises d’un joueur, et, comme tels, ils relèvent d’une logique probabilitaire, dont la logique classique n’est qu’un cas très particulier. (shrink)