Niels Bohr's Philosophy of Physics

Niels Bohr's Philosophy of Physics

by D. R. Murdoch
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521333202

ISBN-13: 9780521333207

Pub. Date: 11/05/1987

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This book gives a clear and comprehensive exposition of Niels Bohr's philosophy of physics. Bohr's ideas are of major importance, for they are the source of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics; yet they are obscure, and call for the sort of close analysis that this book provides.

The book describes the historical background of the physics from which

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Overview

This book gives a clear and comprehensive exposition of Niels Bohr's philosophy of physics. Bohr's ideas are of major importance, for they are the source of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics; yet they are obscure, and call for the sort of close analysis that this book provides.

The book describes the historical background of the physics from which Bohr's ideas grew. The core of the book is a detailed analysis of Bohr's arguments for complementarity and of the interpretation which he put upon it. Special emphasis is placed throughout on the contrasting views of Einstein, and the great debate between Bohr and Einstein is thoroughly examined. The book traces the philosophical influences on Bohr, and unravels the realist and anti-realist strands in his thinking. Bohr's philosophy is critically assessed in the light of recent developments in the foundations of quantum physics (the work of Bell and others) and in philosophy (the realism-anti-realism debate) and it is revealed as being much more subtle and sophisticated than it is generally taken to be.

While the book will be of interest to specialists, it is written in a style that will make it accessible to those who have no specialist knowledge of the relevant physics and philosophy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521333207
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
11/05/1987
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.91(d)

Table of Contents

Prefaceix
Acknowledgements
1Wave-particle duality1
1.1The quantum hypothesis1
1.2Einstein's hypothesis of light-quanta5
1.3Wave-particle duality, 1905-107
1.4Wave-particle duality, 1911-2210
1.5The Compton effect12
2Niels Bohr and wave-particle duality16
2.1Bohr and the 'old' quantum theory16
2.2Bohr's attitude to the light-quantum hypothesis19
2.3Bohr's attitude to the Compton effect22
2.4The Bohr--Kramers--Slater theory23
2.5The failure of spatio-temporal pictures29
2.6Discontinuity and univisualisability31
3From duality to complementarity34
3.1A matter of waves34
3.2Quantum mechanics and the correspondence principle37
3.3The continuity-discontinuity duality44
3.4The uncertainty principle46
3.5Complementarity: summer 192754
4The meaning of complementarity57
4.1Wave-particle complementarity and kinematic-dynamic complementarity58
4.2Complementarity and consistency61
4.3The correlations between the two kinds of complementarity66
4.4The ontological significance of wave-particle complementarity67
4.5Models and visualisability71
4.6Bohr's view of models74
4.7A critique of wave-particle complementarity77
5The foundations of kinematic-dynamic complementarity80
5.1The mutual exclusiveness of kinematic and dynamic properties80
5.2The indeterminability of the measurement interaction85
5.3The distinction between object and instrument87
5.4Wholeness: the integrity of the conditions of observation90
5.5The nature of observation94
5.6The 'cut' and the classical concepts97
5.7The necessity of describing the instrument in classical terms99
5.8The microphenomenalist reading103
5.9Observation and objectivity104
5.10A brief assessment of Bohr's argument108
6Bohr's theory of measurement109
6.1The objective-values theory of measurement109
6.2The measurement problem112
6.3The solution to the Bohrian measurement puzzle114
6.4Bohr's interpretation of the state vector118
6.5Von Neumann's theory of measurement122
6.6The subjective theory of measurement126
6.7Difficulties with the objective-values theory128
7Bohr's theory of properties134
7.1The interactive-properties theory134
7.2The dispositional-properties theory135
7.3The relational-properties theory137
7.4The positivist argument for the indefinability thesis139
7.5The ontic argument for the indefinability thesis140
7.6The semantic argument for the indefinability thesis145
7.7The substance of the semantic argument147
7.8Difficulties with the strong meaning condition149
7.9The logic of the semantic argument152
8Einstein versus Bohr155
8.1The fifth Solvay Conference, 1927155
8.2The sixth Solvay Conference, 1930157
8.3Einstein's delayed-choice experiment161
8.4The EPR experiment163
8.5The EPR argument165
8.6Bohr's response to the EPR argument168
8.7Einstein's response to Bohr's defence172
8.8A preliminary summing-up175
9The sequel to the Bohr-Einstein debate179
9.1Completeness and hidden states179
9.2Completeness and non-locality181
9.3The scope of non-locality185
9.4Value independence and separability189
9.5The Bohrian response to the Bell--Wigner argument191
9.6Einstein's philosophy of physics195
10Bohr's philosophy of physics200
10.1Realism in the interpretation of physics200
10.2Bohr and scientific realism207
10.3Bohr and empirical realism210
10.4A weaker form of realism213
10.5The mathematical structure of physical reality216
10.6Bohr: an instrumentalistic realist222
10.7The philosophical grounds of the indefinability thesis222
10.8Hoffding and the historical roots of Bohr's pragmatism225
10.9The Kantian elements in Bohr's philosophy229
10.10The pragmatist strain231
11An appraisal of Bohr's philosophy of physics236
11.1Einstein or Bohr? The final verdict236
11.2The notions of correspondence and complementarity243
11.3Alternatives to Bohr's theory of matter and radiation245
11.4Many worlds and quantum logic248
Notes259
Index288

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