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Mathematical physics and philosophy of physics (with special consideration of J. von Neumann's work)

Rédei, Miklós ORCID: 0000-0001-5298-1443 (2002) Mathematical physics and philosophy of physics (with special consideration of J. von Neumann's work). In: Heidelberger, Michael and Stadler, Friedrich, (eds.) History of Philosophy of Science: New Trends and Perspectives. Vienna Circle Institute yearbook (9). Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, pp. 239-243. ISBN 9789048159765

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Identification Number: 10.1007/978-94-017-1785-4_18


The main claim of this talk is that mathematical physics and philosophy of physics are not different. This claim, so formulated, is obviously false because it is overstated; however, since no non-tautological statement is likely to be completely true, it is a meaningful question whether the overstated claim expresses some truth. I hope it does, or so I’ll argue. The argument consists of two parts: First I’ll recall some characteristic features of von Neumann’s work on mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics and will claim that von Neumann’s motivation and results are essentially philosophical in their nature; hence, to the extent von Neumann’s work exemplifies what is considered to be mathematical physics, mathematical physics appears as formally explicit philosophy of physics. The second argument is based on a rather trivial interpretation of what mathematical physics is. That interpretation implies that mathematical physics shares some key characteristic features with philosophy of physics which make the two almost indistinguishable.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2002 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Q Science > QC Physics
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2013 10:21
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 04:50

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