Niels Bohr's Philosophy of Physics

Niels Bohr's Philosophy of Physics

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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

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139242253
  • 9781139242257

Table of contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. Wave-particle duality; 2. Niels Bohr and wave-particle duality; 3. From duality to complementarity; 4. The meaning of complementarity; 5. The foundations of kinematic-dynamic complementarity; 6. Bohr's theory of measurement; 7. Bohr's theory of properties; 8. Einstein versus Bohr; 9. The sequel to the Bohr-Einstein debate; 10. Bohr's philosophy of physics; 11. An appraisal of Bohr's philosophy of physics; Notes; Index.
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Review quote

'The breadth and clarity of Murdoch's analysis makes this book a worthy addition to Bohrian scholarship.' Nick Herbert, New Scientist
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