The theoretical practices of physics : philosophical essays by R. I. G. Hughes

By R. I. G. Hughes

R.I.G Hughes provides a sequence of 8 philosophical essays at the theoretical practices of physics. the 1st essays study those practices as they seem in physicists' treatises (e.g. Newton's Principia and Opticks) and magazine articles (by Einstein, Bohm and Pines, Aharonov and Bohm). via treating those courses as texts, Hughes casts the thinker of technology within the function of critic. This premise publications the next six essays which take care of a variety of issues of philosophy and physics akin to legislation, disunities, types and illustration, laptop simulation, clarification, and the discourse of physics.

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In order to reflect the fact that pure collective coordinates are being used. r. Theoretical Practice 41 of organized oscillations, and the short range interactions between individual particles’ (BP I: 626b). 5. P IV: Electron Interaction in Metals In P IV, the last paper in the series, Pines applies the quantum mechanical account of plasmas developed in BP III to the behaviour of the valence electrons in metals (otherwise known as ‘conduction electrons’). He begins by drawing attention to the assumptions this involves (P IV: 626a).

For Q. D. Leavis, the status of Wuthering Heights was not in doubt. It was an established classic. Newton’s Principia, which I examine in Essay 3, also fits that description, as does Einstein’s paper on the Brownian motion, which I examine in Essay 4, but some of my other examples (the Bohm–Pines quartet, for instance) do not. All of them, however, are examples of successful practice in one reasonably clear-cut sense. ⁵² Their success did not mean that they ⁵¹ An example: examination of Niels Bohr’s 1913 paper ‘On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules’ reveals that his model of the atom was not ‘devised in order to explain experimental laws about the line spectra of the various elements’, as, for example, Nagel claims (1961: 94).

Both sets of equations appear in the trio of papers that presented the mathematical foundations of GTR. So far, so good. We may assume that the field equations and equations of motion of GTR fall under ‘the concept of lawlike sentence’, as the D-N account of explanation requires. But, before the ‘antecedent conditions’ can be introduced, considerable work needs to be done. The field equations of §1 are supplemented by equations that define the field components σ μν in terms of the metric tensor gμν .

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