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Physics and necessity : rationalist pursuits from the Cartesian past to the quantum present

Author: Olivier Darrigol
Publisher: Oxford, United Kingdom : Oxford University Press, 2014.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
This book recounts a few ingenious attempts to derive physical theories by reason only, beginning with Descartes' geometric construction of the world, and finishing with recent derivations of quantum mechanics from natural axioms.
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Olivier Darrigol
ISBN: 9780198712886 019871288X
OCLC Number: 883422579
Description: xiv, 400 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: 1. Rationalism in the history of mechanics. Descartes versus Newton --
Before Newton --
After Newton --
Conclusions --
2. The necessity of classical mechanics. Connected systems --
Molecular mechanics --
Continuum mechanics --
Collisions --
Conclusions --
3. From mechanical reduction to general principles. Varieties of mechanical reduction --
The energy principle --
The principle of least action --
Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics --
Conclusions --
4. Geometry. From Euclid to Helmholtz --
Improved foundations --
Conventions and necessities --
Conclusions --
5. Spacetime. From time to spacetime --
Rational spacetime --
The Helmholtzian approach, with morals --
Conclusions --
6. Numbers and math. From Descartes to the nineteenth century --
A historical sketch of quantity --
Helmholtz's Counting and measuring --
Poincaré on number and quantity --
Conclusions. 7. Classical field theories. Landau, Faraday, and Maxwell --
Toward a definition of Faradayan theories --
The vector, tensor, and scalar cases --
Energy-momentum considerations --
The super-Faradayan approach --
Conclusions --
8. Quantum mechanics. Historical necessity --
The deformation of classical mechanics --
Quantum logic --
Discreteness, probabilities, and information --
Conclusions --
9. Necessity, theories, and modules. The preconditions of necessity --
Theories and modules --
The necessity of modularity --
Conclusion : the possibility of necessity.
Other Titles: Physics & necessity
Responsibility: Olivier Darrigol.
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This book recounts a few ingenious attempts to derive physical theories by reason only, beginning with Descartes' geometric construction of the world, and finishing with recent derivations of quantum  Read more...

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In this excellently written book, Darrigol steps back to survey the history of necessity in physics, and the richness of the necessitarian programme despite that programme's (sometimes embarrassing) Read more...

 
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