Contemporary Physics and the Limits of Knowledge

Author: Morton Tavel
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 9780813530772
Format: PDF, Kindle
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"An elegant read for anyone interested in understanding modern physics. Tavel has a genuine knack for making the difficult and obscure clear and exciting." --Joseph C. Pitt, author of Thinking about Technology "You will never look at scientific theories in the same way again." --John Hubiscz, North Carolina State University Introductory physics is not often a popular class among liberal arts majors. With its lively prose and analogies from the arts, humanities, and social sciences, however, Contemporary Physics and the Limits of Knowledge is guaranteed to enlighten and delight nonscience majors. Morton Tavel contends that every one of the six topics that he explores--symmetry, special and general relativity, statistical physics, quantum mechanics, and chaos--has played a role in telling us what we are unable to know about the physical world. He explains what each of the topics reveals about our attempts to pinpoint reality, and how each scientific revelation forces us to acknowledge a narrowing rather than a broadening of our knowledge. Chaos theory, for example, reveals a way to understand the randomness that seems so prevalent in natural phenomena such as weather. This development unifies our understanding of many phenomena that had been previously thought unrelated. Yet, chaos represents a significant diminution in what we can hope to predict about the course of natural events. It has increased our knowledge or understanding of a phenomena, but has seriously eroded our long-held, Newtonian vision of prediction and control. Tavel emphasizes the features of physics that make it a very human endeavor and serve to build bridges to all other intellectual disciplicnes.

The Limits of Knowledge and the Limits of Science

Author: José Carlos Bermejo Barrera
Publisher: Univ Santiago de Compostela
ISBN: 8498873975
Format: PDF, ePub
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This is an essay on the possibility and limits of knowledge, in general, and scientific knowledge, in particular. In Chapter 1 the postulates of Kantian critical philosophy are broadened to make contact with modern cognitive theories; it is argued that all knowledge should be regarded as an exclusively human product rather than the work of a transcendental being. On this basis the fundamental question posed in this text concerns the limits of knowledge defined by the limitations of instruments of observation, classificationn and analysis, and the limitations of researchers as individuals and as scientific communities. In this last respect, it is argued that current systems for the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge, while making such knowledgem while making such knowledge possible, also favour its sterility. Two specific areas of science are analysed from these points of view: psychiatry and standard cosmology.

Doing Educational Research

Author: Kenneth George Tobin
Publisher: Sense Publishers
ISBN: 9077874488
Format: PDF
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Doing Educational Research explores a variety of important issues and methods in educational research. Contributors include some of the most important voices in educational research. In the handbook these scholars provide detailed insights into one dimension of the research process that engages both students as well as experienced researchers with key concepts and recent innovations in the domain. The editors and authors believe that there is a need for a handbook on educational research that is both practical as it introduces beginning scholars to the field and innovative as it pushes the boundaries of the conversation about educational research at this historical juncture. In this collection the editors and authors explore a variety of topics from methodologies such as ethnography, action research, hermeneutics, historiography, psychoanalysis, literary criticism to issues such as social theory, epistemology, and paradigms. Readers will be pleased with the way the book addresses complex topics in an accessible and readable manner.

Contemporary Physics Plays

Author: Jenni G. Halpin
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319751484
Format: PDF, ePub
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This book analyzes recent physics plays, arguing that their enaction of concepts from the sciences they discuss alters the nature of the decisions made by the characters, changing the ethical judgements that might be cast on them. Recent physics plays regularly alter the shape of space-time itself, drawing together disparate moments, reversing the flow of time, creating apparent contradictions, and iterating scenes for multiple branches of counterfactual history. With these changes both causality and responsibility shift, variously. The roles of iconic scientists, such as Albert Einstein and Werner Heisenberg, are interrogated for their dramatic value, placing history and dramatic license in tension. Cold War strategies and the limits of espionage highlight the emphatically personal involvement of ordinary individuals. This study is vital reading for those interested in physics plays and the relationship between the sciences and the humanities.

Limits of Economic and Social Knowledge

Author: S. DeCanio
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 1137371935
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The book aims to show that the deterministic vision embodied in conventional economic modelling is neither consistent with nor supported by the state of the art in mathematics, logic, and physical science. DeCanio recognizes that economic agents are intrinsically free and somewhat unpredictable, which is essential for economic and social theory.

The World View of Contemporary Physics

Author: Richard F. Kitchener
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 9780887067419
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Although early twentieth century physics produced two revolutionary new conceptions of the nature of the physical universe relativity theory and quantum theory more recent developments in the physical sciences have made it imperative for physicists to re-examine the older world view of physics and the assumptions upon which it was based. However, theorizing about the nature and status of reality has been the province of philosophers for centuries. Philosophers, trained in metaphysics, provided a different perspective for viewing and a unique method for solving some of these problems. Ideally, therefore, both philosophers and physicists should work together in dialogue fashion on this important issue. These two groups come together for the first time in this book to examine the questions: What is the world view of contemporary physics? Does it need a new metaphysics? If so, what kind of metaphysics does it need? Internationally known scholars, including Ilya Prigogine and Fritjof Capra, who are recognized as experts in this interdisciplinary field, address such related topics as the nature of the mind, our place in society, and the nature of ethics."

Science and Religion

Author: J.W. Fennema
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400920210
Format: PDF, ePub
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The world is increasingly becoming . one. It is, at the same time, one endangered ecosystem and one thriving market place with material and spiritual goods on competitive display. And the good and evil things of life cannot easily be sorted out. The world is becoming one also in the sense that it is better understood today than it was in earlier times, that the material good and the spiritual good, though seemingly belonging to different realms of fact defined by their respective modes of existence, together constitute effectively one and the same reality: the modem world of science, technology, computerized administration and power, that calls upon humankind to struggle for a 'just, participatory and sustainable society' * , and to strive for a society of the future that will be the world over both long-lived and worth living. The Second European Conference on Science and Religion, held on 10-13th. March, 1988, on the campus of the Universiteit Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands, was meant to be a modest market place, a forum, where standpoints and opinions could be presented and criticized. It was meant to offer an opportunity to meet and to make acquaintances in the expectation that the exchange of thoughts would lead to new conceptual horizons that would challenge what so far had been considered as hard fact or what until now had been looked upon as a distinctive feature of a well-established view either of the kingdom of the sciences or of the realm of religion.

God and Contemporary Science

Author: Philip Clayton
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
ISBN: 9780802844606
Format: PDF, Mobi
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It is widely believed that contemporary science has ruled out divine action in the world. Arguing that theology can and must respond to this challenge, Philip Clayton surveys the available biblical and philosophical resources. Recent work in cosmology, quantum physics, and the brain sciences offers exciting new openings for a theology of divine action. If Christian theism is to make use of these opportunities, says Clayton, it must place a greater stress on divine immanence. In response to this challenge, Clayton defends the doctrine of panentheism, the view that the world is in some sense "within" God although God also transcends the world. God and Contemporary Science offers the first book-length defense of panentheism as a viable option within traditional Christian theology. Clayton first defends a "postfoundationalist" model of theology that is concerned more with the coherence of Christian belief than with rational obligation or proof. He makes the case that the Old and New Testament theologies do not stand opposed to panentheism but actually support it at a number of points. He then outlines the philosophical strengths of a panentheistic view of God's relation to the world and God's activity in the world. The remainder of the book applies this theological position to recent scientific developments: theories of the origin of the universe; quantum mechanics, or the physics of the very small; the debate about miracles; and neuroscientific theories of human thought.

The Awakened Ones

Author: Gananath Obeyesekere
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527306
Format: PDF, ePub
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While a rational consciousness grasps many truths, Gananath Obeyesekere believes an even richer knowledge is possible through a bold confrontation with the stuff of visions and dreams. Spanning both Buddhist and European forms of visionary experience, he fearlessly pursues the symbolic, nonrational depths of such phenomena, reawakening the intuitive, creative impulses that power greater understanding. Throughout his career, Obeyesekere has combined psychoanalysis and anthropology to illuminate the relationship between personal symbolism and religious experience. In this book, he begins with Buddha's visionary trances wherein, over the course of four hours, he witnesses hundreds of thousands of his past births and eons of world evolution, renewal, and disappearance. He then connects this fracturing of empirical and visionary time to the realm of space, considering the experience of a female Christian penitent, who stares devotedly at a tiny crucifix only to see the space around it expand to mirror Christ's suffering. Obeyesekere follows the unconscious motivations underlying rapture, the fantastical consumption of Christ's body and blood, and body mutilation and levitation, bridging medieval Catholicism and the movements of early modern thought as reflected in William Blake's artistic visions and poetic dreams. He develops the term "dream-ego" through a discussion of visionary journeys, Carl Jung's and Sigmund Freud's scientific dreaming, and the cosmic and erotic dream-visions of New Age virtuosos, and he defines the parameters of a visionary mode of knowledge that provides a more elastic understanding of truth. A career-culminating work, this volume translates the epistemology of Hindu and Buddhist thinkers for western audiences while revitalizing western philosophical and scientific inquiry.

Classical Modern Philosophy

Author: Jeffrey Tlumak
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134475616
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Classical Modern Philosophy introduces students to the key philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and explores their most important works. Jeffrey Tlumak takes the reader on a chronological journey from Descartes to Kant, tracing the themes that run through the period and their interrelations. The main texts covered are: Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy Spinoza's Ethics Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding Leibniz's Discourse on Metaphysics and Monadology Berkeley's A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Kant's Critique of Pure Reason Classical Modern Philosophy is the ideal textbook to accompany a course in the history of modern philosophy, but each chapter can also be studied alone as an introduction to the featured philosopher or work. Jeffrey Tlumak outlines and assesses prominent interpretations of the texts, and surveys the legacy of each great thinker.