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Physics and Necessity - Rationalist Pursuits from the Cartesian Past to the Quantum Present | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Physics and Necessity: Rationalist Pursuits from the Cartesian Past to the Quantum Present

Olivier Darrigol

Abstract

Can we prove the necessity of our best physical theories by rational means, without appeal to experience? This question has haunted modern natural philosophy from Descartes to the present. Some of the greatest luminaries, including Descartes, Leibniz, Euler, d’Alembert, Kant, Helmholtz, Weyl, and Eddington argued for the rational necessity of the theories they were promoting. This book is a history of such arguments, with proper attention to their inherent flaws but with due respect to their ingenuity and structuring power. It also is an attempt to select and improve the best of these argument ... More

Keywords: rationalism, mechanics, geometry, spacetime, classical fields, quantum mechanics, physics and mathematics, principles, modules

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780198712886
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712886.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Olivier Darrigol, author
Research Director, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique