Idealization in Contemporary Physics.
SHANKS, Niall (Ed.)
Amsterdam/Atlanta, GA, 1998, 238 pp.
Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 63
Here is presented for the first time a comprehensive review and analysis of the several roles played by idealization procedures in the logic, mathematics and models that lie at the heart of modern, twentieth century physics. It is only through idealization of one form or another that the objects and processes of modern physics become tractable. The essays in this volume will be of interest to all those who are concerned with the uses of models in physics, and the relationships between models and the real world. The essays in this volume cover the role of idealization in all the main areas of modern physics, ranging from quantum theory, relativity theory and cosmology to chaos theory.
Contents: Niall SHANKS: Introduction. Michael BISHOP: An Epistemological Role for Thought Experiments. Izabella NOWAK & Leszek NOWAK: "Model(s)" and "Experiment(s)" as Homogeneous Families of Notions. Steven FRENCH & James LADYMAN: Semantic Perspective on Idealization in Quantum Mechanics. Chuang LIU: Decoherence and Idealization in Quantum Measurement. Stephan HARTMANN: Idealization in Quantum Field Theory. Robert Findlay HENDRY: Models and Approximations in Quantum Chemistry. Don HOWARD: Astride the Divided Line: Platonism, Empiricism, and Einstein's Epistemological Opportunism. George GALE: Idealization in Cosmology: A Case Study. Anna MAIDENS: Idealization, Heuristics and the Principle of Equivalence. Alexander RUEGER & David SHARP: Idealization and Stability: A Perspective from Nonlinear Dynamics. D. Lynn HOLT & R. Glynn HOLT: Towards a Very Old Account of Rationality in Experiment: Occult Practices in Chaotic Sonoluminescence.