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Philosophy and the Foundations of Dynamics

$30.99 (P)

  • Date Published: January 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521716307

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About the Authors
  • Although now replaced by more modern theories, classical mechanics remains a core foundational element of physical theory. From its inception, the theory of dynamics has been riddled with conceptual issues and differing philosophical interpretations and throughout its long historical development, it has shown subtle conceptual refinement. The interpretive program for the theory has also shown deep evolutionary change over time. Lawrence Sklar discusses crucial issues in the central theory from which contemporary foundational theories are derived and shows how some core issues (the nature of force, the place of absolute reference frames) have nevertheless remained deep puzzles despite the increasingly sophisticated understanding of the theory which has been acquired over time. His book will be of great interest to philosophers of science, philosophers in general and physicists concerned with foundational interpretive issues in their field.

    • Extensive treatment of the philosophical issues in dynamics, including a discussion on the crucial issues in the central theory from which contemporary foundational theories are derived
    • Shows how a single theory and its understanding can indicate deep evolutionary changes over time
    • Places dynamics within the context of general physical theories
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This work could be as influential in the 21st century as Ernst Mach's Die Mechanik (1901) was in the 20th, both in physics and philosophy … Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers/faculty."
    P. D. Skiff, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521716307
    • length: 279 pages
    • dimensions: 247 x 174 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The prehistory of classical dynamics
    3. The astronomical revolution
    4. Precursors to Newtonian dynamics
    5. The Newtonian synthesis
    6. Philosophical aspects of the Newtonian synthesis
    7. The history of statics
    8. The development of dynamics after Newton
    9. The 'Newtonian' approach after Newton
    10. From virtual work to Lagrange's equation
    11. Extremal principles
    12. Some philosophical reflections on explanation and theory
    13. Conservation principles
    14. Hamilton's equations
    15. Canonical transformations, optical analogies and algebraic structures
    16. The search for new foundations
    17. New directions in the applications of dynamics
    18. Spacetime formulations of Newtonian dynamics
    19. Formalizations: mass and force
    20. Relationist dynamics
    21. Modes of explanation
    22. Retrospective and conclusions.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Philosophy of Physics
  • Author

    Lawrence Sklar, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Lawrence Sklar is the Carl G. Hempel and William K. Frankena Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Space, Time and Spacetime (1992), Philosophy of Physics (1992), Physics of Chance (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and Theory and Truth (2000).

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