Reexamining the Quantum-Classical Relation: Beyond Reductionism and Pluralism

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Overview

Classical mechanics and quantum mechanics are two of the most successful scientific theories ever discovered, and yet how they can describe the same world is far from clear: one theory is deterministic, the other indeterministic; one theory describes a world in which chaos is pervasive, the other a world in which chaos is absent. Focusing on the exciting field of 'quantum chaos', this book reveals that there is a subtle and complex relation between classical and quantum mechanics. It challenges the received view that classical and quantum mechanics are incommensurable, and revives another, largely forgotten tradition due to Niels Bohr and Paul Dirac. By artfully weaving together considerations from the history of science, philosophy of science, and contemporary physics, this book offers a new way of thinking about intertheory relations and scientific explanation. It will be of particular interest to historians and philosophers of science, philosophically-inclined physicists, and interested non-specialists.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521857208
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/27/2008
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Alisa Bokulich is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Boston University. Her research focuses on the history and philosophy of physics, as well as broader issues in the philosophy of science.

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Table of Contents

1. Intertheoretic relations: are imperialism and isolationism our only options?; 2. Heisenberg's closed theories and pluralistic realism; 3. Dirac's open theories and the reciprocal correspondence principle; 4. Bohr's generalization of classical mechanics; 5. Semiclassical mechanics: putting quantum flesh on classical bones; 6. Can classical structures explain quantum phenomena?; 7. A structural approach to intertheoretic relations; References; Index.

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