The Analysis of Matter

The Analysis of Matter

The Analysis of Matter

The Analysis of Matter

Synopsis

'The Analysis of Matter' was a companion volume to 'The Analysis of Mind'. Russell develops his views about the philosophy of science out of the theories of scientists such as Einstein, Bohr and Heisenberg.

Excerpt

The attempt to discover the philosophical outcome of modern physics is one which, at the present moment, is beset with great difficulties. For, while the theory of relativity has achieved, at least temporarily, a stable form, the theory of quanta and of atomic structure is developing with such rapidity that it is impossible to guess what form it will take a few years hence. In these circumstances, it is necessary to exercise judgment as to the parts of the theory which are definitively established and the parts which are likely to be modified in the near future. For one who, like the present author, is not a professional physicist, the exercise of such judgment is difficult, and is likely to be occasionally at fault. The subject of the relation of “matter” to what exists, and generally of the interpretation of physics in terms of what exists, is, however, not one of physics alone. Psychology, physiology, mathematical logic, and philosophy are all required, in addition to physics, for the adequate discussion of the theme with which this volume deals. Consequently certain shortcomings on the part of a single author, however regrettable they may be, are perhaps scarcely avoidable.

I am indebted to Mr R. H. Fowler, F.R.S., Mr M. H. A. Newman of St. John's College, Cambridge, and Mr F. P. Ramsey of King's College, Cambridge, for valuable help in regard to certain portions of the work; also to Dr D. M. Wrinch for kindly reading the whole in typescript and supplying many valuable criticisms and suggestions.

Certain portions of the book were delivered as the Tamer Lectures in Trinity College, Cambridge, during the Michaelmas Term, 1926. The book was, however, in preparation before . . .

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