The Physicist and the Philosopher

Author: Jimena Canales
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400865778
Format: PDF, ePub
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On April 6, 1922, in Paris, Albert Einstein and Henri Bergson publicly debated the nature of time. Einstein considered Bergson's theory of time to be a soft, psychological notion, irreconcilable with the quantitative realities of physics. Bergson, who gained fame as a philosopher by arguing that time should not be understood exclusively through the lens of science, criticized Einstein's theory of time for being a metaphysics grafted on to science, one that ignored the intuitive aspects of time. The Physicist and the Philosopher tells the remarkable story of how this explosive debate transformed our understanding of time and drove a rift between science and the humanities that persists today. Jimena Canales introduces readers to the revolutionary ideas of Einstein and Bergson, describes how they dramatically collided in Paris, and traces how this clash of worldviews reverberated across the twentieth century. She shows how it provoked responses from figures such as Bertrand Russell and Martin Heidegger, and carried repercussions for American pragmatism, logical positivism, phenomenology, and quantum mechanics. Canales explains how the new technologies of the period—such as wristwatches, radio, and film—helped to shape people’s conceptions of time and further polarized the public debate. She also discusses how Bergson and Einstein, toward the end of their lives, each reflected on his rival’s legacy—Bergson during the Nazi occupation of Paris and Einstein in the context of the first hydrogen bomb explosion. The Physicist and the Philosopher is a magisterial and revealing account that shows how scientific truth was placed on trial in a divided century marked by a new sense of time.

The Physicist and the Philosopher

Author: Jimena Canales
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780691173177
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
On April 6, 1922, in Paris, Albert Einstein and Henri Bergson publicly debated the nature of time. Einstein considered Bergson's theory of time to be a soft, psychological notion, irreconcilable with the quantitative realities of physics. Bergson, who gained fame as a philosopher by arguing that time should not be understood exclusively through the lens of science, criticized Einstein's theory of time for being a metaphysics grafted on to science, one that ignored the intuitive aspects of time. "The Physicist and the Philosopher" tells the remarkable story of how this explosive debate transformed our understanding of time and drove a rift between science and the humanities that persists today. Jimena Canales introduces readers to the revolutionary ideas of Einstein and Bergson, describes how they dramatically collided in Paris, and traces how this clash of worldviews reverberated across the twentieth century. She shows how it provoked responses from figures such as Bertrand Russell and Martin Heidegger, and carried repercussions for American pragmatism, logical positivism, phenomenology, and quantum mechanics. Canales explains how the new technologies of the period--such as wristwatches, radio, and film--helped to shape people's conceptions of time and further polarized the public debate. She also discusses how Bergson and Einstein, toward the end of their lives, each reflected on his rival's legacy--Bergson during the Nazi occupation of Paris and Einstein in the context of the first hydrogen bomb explosion. "The Physicist and the Philosopher" is a magisterial and revealing account that shows how scientific truth was placed on trial in a divided century marked by a new sense of time.

The Physicist and the Philosopher

Author: Jimena Canales
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780691165349
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
""The Physicist and the Philosopher" explores the nature of time, the meaning of relativity, and the place of philosophical thought in a scientific age. Canales aims to reposition Einstein's work in a field of disputation and give Bergson back the significance he had in his contemporaries' minds."--Cathryn Carson, University of California, Berkeley "Like a stone cast on still waters, the Einstein-Bergson debate on the nature of time set off ever-widening ripples in physics and philosophy, but also in art, politics, and religion. In this fascinating book, Canales has written a kind of alternative intellectual history of the interwar decades of the twentieth century, one full of color and improbable conjunctions of people and ideas."--Lorraine Daston, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin "Is time too important to be left to the physicists and their measuring devices? That was the issue at stake in a 1922 debate between Albert Einstein and philosopher Henri Bergson, celebrated at the time and wonderfully recovered in Jimena Canales s new book. A fascinating look at a pivotal moment in how we think about one of the most fundamental features of the universe."--Sean Carroll, author of "From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time" "Sometimes past battles have repercussions that resonate long after memories have faded. In dramatic fashion, Jimena Canales demonstrates how a seemingly forgotten debate between Einstein and Bergson about the enigma of time changed the course of intellectual history."--Palle Yourgrau, Brandeis University "Whether readers side with Einstein s physics or Bergson s philosophy isn t the most important thing: this book opens up new ways of thinking about the relationship between science and the humanities that unsettle both."--Gerald Holton, Harvard University "This exciting, hugely interesting book opens out from a short but critical encounter between the philosopher Henri Bergson and the physicist Albert Einstein to consider their philosophies and the effects of their argument on the modern idea of time. Canales turns what is at first sight a limited debate into a major transatlantic encounter of profound implications. Well-researched, well-argued, and elegant, "The Physicist and the Philosopher" is a first-rate work of scholarship."--Stefanos Geroulanos, New York University ""The Physicist and the Philosopher" is a lively and engaging account of the meaning of time in the twentieth century. Canales uses the 1922 debate between Albert Einstein and Henri Bergson as a starting point from which to discuss an astonishing array of thinkers, technologies, and cultural developments. The book is an innovative, rich, and almost encyclopedic exploration of a crucially important question."--Edward Baring, author of "The Young Derrida and French Philosophy, 1945 1968""

Physics and Philosophy

Author: Werner Heisenberg
Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics
ISBN: 9780141182155
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg's classic account explains the central ideas of the quantum revolution, and his celebrated Uncertainty Principle. The theme of Heisenberg's exposition is that words and concepts familiar in daily life can lose their meaning in the world of relativity and quantum physics. This in turn has profound philosophical implications for the nature of reality and for our total world view. 'It carries the reader, with remarkable clarity, from the esoteric world of atomic physics to the world of people, language and the conception of our shared reality' Paul Davies.

My View of the World

Author: Erwin Schrödinger
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521090483
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A Nobel prize winner, a great man and a great scientist, Erwin Schrödinger has made his mark in physics, but his eye scans a far wider horizon: here are two stimulating and discursive essays which summarize his philosophical views on the nature of the world. Schrödinger's world view, derived from the Indian writings of the Vedanta, is that there is only a single consciousness of which we are all different aspects. He admits that this view is mystical and metaphysical and incapable of logical deduction. But he also insists that this is true of the belief in an external world capable of influencing the mind and of being influenced by it. Schrödinger's world view leads naturally to a philosophy of reverence for life.

After Physics

Author: David Z. Albert
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674731263
Format: PDF
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Here the philosopher and physicist David Z Albert argues, among other things, that the difference between past and future can be understood as a mechanical phenomenon of nature and that quantum mechanics makes it impossible to present the entirety of what can be said about the world as a narrative of “befores” and “afters.”

A Universe from Nothing

Author: Lawrence M. Krauss
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 1451624476
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Bestselling author and acclaimed physicist Lawrence Krauss offers a paradigm-shifting view of how everything that exists came to be in the first place. “Where did the universe come from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And finally, why is there something rather than nothing?” One of the few prominent scientists today to have crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. With a new preface about the significance of the discovery of the Higgs particle, A Universe from Nothing uses Krauss’s characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations to take us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved—and the implications for how it’s going to end. Provocative, challenging, and delightfully readable, this is a game-changing look at the most basic underpinning of existence and a powerful antidote to outmoded philosophical, religious, and scientific thinking.

A Tenth of a Second

Author: Jimena Canales
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226093204
Format: PDF, ePub
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In the late fifteenth century, clocks acquired minute hands. A century later, second hands appeared. But it wasn’t until the 1850s that instruments could recognize a tenth of a second, and, once they did, the impact on modern science and society was profound. Revealing the history behind this infinitesimal interval, A Tenth of a Second sheds new light on modernity and illuminates the work of important thinkers of the last two centuries. Tracing debates about the nature of time, causality, and free will, as well as the introduction of modern technologies—telegraphy, photography, cinematography—Jimena Canales locates the reverberations of this “perceptual moment” throughout culture. Once scientists associated the tenth of a second with the speed of thought, they developed reaction time experiments with lasting implications for experimental psychology, physiology, and optics. Astronomers and physicists struggled to control the profound consequences of results that were a tenth of a second off. And references to the interval were part of a general inquiry into time, consciousness, and sensory experience that involved rethinking the contributions of Descartes and Kant. Considering its impact on much longer time periods and featuring appearances by Henri Bergson, Walter Benjamin, and Albert Einstein, among others, A Tenth of a Second is ultimately an important contribution to history and a novel perspective on modernity.

Niels Bohr s Times

Author: Abraham Pais
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192522302
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The life of Niels Bohr spanned times of revolutionary change in science itself as well as its impact on society. Along with Albert Einstein, Bohr can be considered to be this century's major driving force behind the new philosophical and mathematical descriptions of the structure of the atom and the nucleus. Abraham Pais, the acclaimed biogrpaher of Albert Einstein, here traces Bohr's progress from his well-to-do origins in late nineteenth-century Denmark to his position at centre stage in the world political scene, particularly during the Second World War and the development of atomic weapons. Pais' description moves through the science as it was before Bohr, as it became because of Bohr, and thence to Bohr's scientific and philosophical legacy. That legacy is contained both in theory as it is now universally enshrined, as well as in its practice in such great Danish institutions as Riso. But more than that, Pais captures the essence of Bohr, the intensely private family figure who, despite appalling personal tragedy, became one of the most loved cultural figures of recent times.