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Look Inside Heisenberg and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

Heisenberg and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics
The Physicist as Philosopher


  • Date Published: February 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521884846

£ 93.00

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About the Authors
  • Werner Heisenberg was a pivotal figure in the development of quantum mechanics in the 1920s, and also one of its most insightful interpreters. Together with Bohr, Heisenberg forged what is commonly known as the 'Copenhagen interpretation'. Yet Heisenberg's philosophical viewpoint did not remain fixed over time, and his interpretation of quantum mechanics differed in several crucial respects from Bohr's. This book traces the development of Heisenberg's philosophy of quantum mechanics, beginning with his positivism of the mid-1920s, through his neo-Kantian reading of Bohr in the 1930s, and culminating with his 'linguistic turn' in the 1940s and 1950s. It focuses on the nature of this transformation in Heisenberg's thought and its wider philosophical context, which have up until now not received the attention they deserve. This perspective on Heisenberg's interpretation of quantum mechanics will interest researchers and graduate students in the history and philosophy of twentieth-century physics.

    • Easy-to-follow introductory section to every chapter stating the key conclusions allows readers to pick and mix sections of interest
    • Clear language free of unnecessary technical jargon makes an enjoyable read
    • Includes material from German and French primary sources not previously translated into English
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… Camilleri has written an excellent and a scholarly high-level book that helps us understand the many important differences that existed among the main figures in the development of the Copenhagen Interpretation … an important work that may enlighten us in the ongoing discussion about the interpretation of quantum mechanics.' Metascience

    'This excellent work is well researched, balanced and clear … It offers a new perspective on Heisenberg's philosophical commitments, especially of his later years and adds new depth and detail to his legacy as philosopher-physicist. It will be of considerable interest to anyone studying the history and philosophy of quantum mechanics.' Foundations of Physics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521884846
    • length: 212 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. The Emergence of Quantum Mechanics:
    2. Quantum mechanics and the principle of observability
    3. The problem of interpretation
    Part II. The Heisenberg-Bohr Dialogue:
    4. The wave-particle duality
    5. Indeterminacy and the limits of classical concepts: the turning point in Heisenberg's thought
    6. Heisenberg and Bohr: divergent viewpoints of complementarity
    Part III. Heisenberg's Epistemology and Ontology of Quantum Mechanics:
    7. The transformation of Kantian philosophy
    8. The linguistic turn in Heisenberg's thought

  • Author

    Kristian Camilleri, University of Melbourne

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