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Everywhere and EverywhenAdventures in Physics and Philosophy$
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Nick Huggett

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379518

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379518.001.0001

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A Longish Introduction

A Longish Introduction

The Problem of Change

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 A Longish Introduction
Source:
Everywhere and Everywhen
Author(s):

Nick Huggett (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379518.003.0001

This chapter orients the reader to the material of the book by illustrating the interaction between physics and philosophy since their investigations by the ancient Greeks, and by explaining, in elementary terms, some basic philosophical and physical concepts. The example used is the question of change: what is change such that something can change and yet remain the same thing? The question is one of the oldest in philosophy (dating at least to the fifth century BC), but fundamental to physics: physics describes change, but how is to be described? The chapter explains what great philosopher‐physicists – Aristotle, Descartes and Newton – said as they developed physics in the form we recognize today. It goes on to explicate the idea of a ‘law of physics’, something that regulates physical change, using examples drawn on in the rest of the book. Finally contemporary ideas of ‘spacetime physics’ are introduced.

Keywords:   change, Aristotle, Newton, Descartes, spacetime, law

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