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Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger was one of the most distinguished scientists and philosophers of the twentieth century, and his lectures are legendary. Here the texts of two of Schrödinger's most famous lecture series are made available again. In the first, entitled "Nature and the Greeks," Schrödinger offers a historical account of the scientific world picture. In the second, called "Science and Humanism," he addresses fundamental questions about the link between scientific and spiritual matters. As Roger Penrose confirms, these are the profound thoughts of a great mind, and as relevant today as when they were first published in the 1950s.
Foreword; Part I. Nature and the Greeks: 1. The motives for returning to ancient thought; 2. The competition, reason v. senses; 3. The pythagoreans; 4. The Ionian enlightenment; 5. The religion of Xenophanes, Heraclitus of Ephesus; 6. The atomists; 7. What are the special features? Part II. Science and Humanism: 1. The spiritual bearing of science on life; 2. The practical achievements of science tending to obliterate its true import; 3. A radical change in our ideas of matter; 4. Form, not substance, the fundamental concept; 5. The nature of our 'models'; 6. Continuous descriptions and causality; 7. The intricacy of the continuum; 8. The makeshift of wave mechanics; 9. The alleged break-down of the barrier between subject and object; 10. Atoms or quanta - the counter-spell of old standing, to escape the intricacy of the continuum; 11. Would physical indeterminacy give free will a chance? 12. The bar to prediction, according to Niels Bohr; Literature.
Posted July 2, 2014