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Mind and Nature

Selected Writings on Philosophy, Mathematics, and Physics

Peter Pesic

Hermann Weyl (1885-1955) was one of the twentieth century's most important mathematicians, as well as a seminal figure in the development of quantum physics and general relativity. He was also an eloquent writer with a lifelong interest in the philosophical implications of the startling new scientific developments with which he was so involved. Mind and Nature is a collection of Weyl's most important general writings on philosophy, mathematics, and physics, including pieces that have never before been published in any language or translated into English, or that have long been out of print. Complete with Peter Pesic's introduction, notes, and bibliography, these writings reveal an unjustly neglected dimension of a complex and fascinating thinker. In addition, the book includes more than twenty photographs of Weyl and his family and colleagues, many of which are previously unpublished.

Included here are Weyl's exposition of his important synthesis of electromagnetism and gravitation, which Einstein at first hailed as "a first-class stroke of genius"; two little-known letters by Weyl and Einstein from 1922 that give their contrasting views on the philosophical implications of modern physics; and an essay on time that contains Weyl's argument that the past is never completed and the present is not a point. Also included are two book-length series of lectures, The Open World (1932) and Mind and Nature (1934), each a masterly exposition of Weyl's views on a range of topics from modern physics and mathematics. Finally, four retrospective essays from Weyl's last decade give his final thoughts on the interrelations among mathematics, philosophy, and physics, intertwined with reflections on the course of his rich life.

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Mind, Matter, and Method

Essays in Philosophy and Science in Honor of Herbert Feigl

Paul K. Feyerabend and Grover Maxwell, Editors

Mind, Matter, and Method was first published in 1966. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

This volume of twenty-six essays by as many contributors is published in honor of Herbert Feigl, professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota and director of the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science. Though the majority of the contributors are philosophers, there are also -- as benefits Mr. Feigl's varied intellectual interests -- representatives of psychology, psychoanalysis, and physics.

The first group of ten essays deals with the philosophy of mind, particularly with the mind-body problem, to which Mr. Feigl has devoted much attention. The eleven essays in the second part are concerned with problems of philosophical method, especially with induction and confirmation. The third part is comprised of five essays on the philosophy of the physical sciences. A biographical sketch of Mr. Feigl and a bibliography of his writings are also provided.

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Mobilizing Science: Movements, Participation, and the Remaking of Knowledge

Mobilizing Science theoretically and empirically explores the rise of a new kind of social movement—one that attempts to empower citizens through the use of expert scientific research. Sabrina McCormick advances theories of social movements, development, and science and technology studies by examining how these fields intersect in cases around the globe.

 

McCormick grounds her argument in two very different case studies: the anti-dam movement in Brazil and the environmental breast cancer prevention movement in the U.S.  These, and many other cases, show that the scientization of society, where expert knowledge is inculcated in multiple institutions and lay people are marginalized, gives rise to these new types of movements.  While activists who consequently engage in science often instigate new methods that result in new findings and scientific tools, these movements still often fail due to superficial participatory institutions and tightly knit corporate/government relationships. 

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The Nature of Scientific Explanation

In his newest work, distinguished philosopher Jude P. Dougherty challenges contemporary empiricisms and other accounts of science that reduce it to description and prediction.

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Nature's Suit

Husserl's Phenomenological Philosophy of the Physical Sciences

By Lee Hardy

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Neofinalism

Alyosha Ruyer

Although little known today, Raymond Ruyer was a post–World War II French philosopher whose works and ideas were significant influences on major thinkers, including Deleuze, Guattari, and Simondon. With the publication of this translation of Neofinalism, considered by many to be Ruyer’s magnum opus, English-language readers can see at last how this seminal mind allied philosophy with science.

Unfazed by the idea of philosophy ending where science began, Ruyer elaborated a singular, nearly unclassifiable metaphysics and reactivated philosophy’s capacity to reflect on its canonical questions: What exists? How are we to account for life? What is the status of subjectivity? And how is freedom possible? Ha

Neofinalism offers a systematic and lucidly argued treatise that deploys the innovative concepts of self-survey, form, and absolute surface to shape a theory of the virtual and the transspatial. It also makes a compelling plea for a renewed appreciation of the creative activity that organizes spatiotemporal structures and makes possible the emergence of real beings in a dynamic universe.


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Nervous Conditions

Science and the Body Politic in Early Industrial Britain

Nervous Conditions explores the role of the body in the development of modern science, challenging the myth that modern science is built on a bedrock of objectivity and confident empiricism. In this fascinating look into the private world of British natural philosophers—including John Dalton, Lord Kelvin, Charles Babbage, John Herschel, and many others—Elizabeth Green Musselman shows how the internal workings of their bodies played an important part in the sciences’ movement to the center of modern life, and how a scientific community and a nation struggled their way into existence. Many of these natural philosophers endured serious nervous difficulties, particularly vision problems. They turned these weaknesses into strengths, however, by claiming that their well-disciplined mental skills enabled them to transcend their bodily frailties. Their adeptness at transcendence, they asserted, explained why men of science belonged at the heart of modern life, and qualified them to address such problems as unifying the British provinces into one nation, managing the industrial workplace, and accommodating religious plurality.

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The New Political Sociology of Science

Institutions, Networks, and Power

Edited by Scott Frickel and Kelly Moore

In the twenty-first century, the production and use of scientific knowledge is more regulated, commercialized, and participatory than at any other time in history. The stakes in understanding these changes are high for scientist and nonscientist alike: they challenge traditional ideas of intellectual work and property and have the potential to remake legal and professional boundaries and transform the practice of research. A critical examination of the structures of power and inequality these changes hinge upon, this book explores the implications for human health, democratic society, and the environment.

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Notes for a Romantic Encyclopaedia

Das Allgemeine Brouillon

Novalis is best known in history as the poet of early German Romanticism. However, this translation of Das Allgemeine Brouillon, or “Universal Notebook,” finally introduces him to the English-speaking world as an extraordinarily gifted philosopher in his own right and shatters the myth of him as a mere daydreaming and irrational poet. Composed of more than 1,100 notebook entries, this is easily Novalis’s largest theoretical work and certainly one of the most remarkable and audacious undertakings of the “Golden Age” of German philosophy. In it, Novalis reflects on numerous aspects of human culture, including philosophy, poetry, the natural sciences, the fine arts, mathematics, mineralogy, history, and religion, and brings them all together into what he calls a “Romantic Encyclopaedia” or “Scientific Bible.” Novalis’s Romantic Encyclopaedia fully embodies the author’s own personal brand of philosophy, “Magical Idealism.” With meditations on mankind and nature, the possible future development of our faculties of reason, imagination, and the senses, and the unification of the different sciences, these notes contain a veritable treasure trove of richly poetic and philosophic thoughts.

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On Fact and Fraud

Cautionary Tales from the Front Lines of Science

David Goodstein

Fraud in science is not as easy to identify as one might think. When accusations of scientific misconduct occur, truth can often be elusive, and the cause of a scientist's ethical misstep isn't always clear. On Fact and Fraud looks at actual cases in which fraud was committed or alleged, explaining what constitutes scientific misconduct and what doesn't, and providing readers with the ethical foundations needed to discern and avoid fraud wherever it may arise.

In David Goodstein's varied experience--as a physicist and educator, and as vice provost at Caltech, a job in which he was responsible for investigating all allegations of scientific misconduct--a deceptively simple question has come up time and again: what constitutes fraud in science? Here, Goodstein takes us on a tour of real controversies from the front lines of science and helps readers determine for themselves whether or not fraud occurred. Cases include, among others, those of Robert A. Millikan, whose historic measurement of the electron's charge has been maligned by accusations of fraud; Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons and their "discovery" of cold fusion; Victor Ninov and the supposed discovery of element 118; Jan Hendrik Schön from Bell Labs and his work in semiconductors; and J. Georg Bednorz and Karl Müller's discovery of high-temperature superconductivity, a seemingly impossible accomplishment that turned out to be real.

On Fact and Fraud provides a user's guide to identifying, avoiding, and preventing fraud in science, along the way offering valuable insights into how modern science is practiced.

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