Reflections of a Physicist

Reflections of a Physicist

Reflections of a Physicist

Reflections of a Physicist

Excerpt

The following ten papers are here added to those in the first, 1950, edition: namely those in chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 24, 25, and 26. The subject matter of these new papers adapted itself to the scheme of classification adopted in the first edition, making it possible to intersperse the new papers with the old ones by merely adding the new papers at the end of the appropriate subdivisions of the preceeding arrangement, the arrangement in each subdivision being chronological.

As with the first edition, I think that none of the new papers would have been possible without the operational point of view, and these papers may likewise be regarded as examples of what that point of view may lead to. But these new papers show, I believe, another aspect, reflecting my growing concern with questions raised by the Ames "demonstrations" at Hanover and by Cybernetics and recent inquiries into the possibility of reproducing brains by machines. The pressing question is: what are the inherent limitations imposed by our thinking mechanism? What is the significance of the fact that "abstractions" and "generalizations" and the very concepts of "time" and "space" occur only in conjunction with a human nervous system? I believe that the answer to these questions, or perhaps merely a just appreciation of the significance of the questions, will lead us across a threshhold into something new and revolutionary.

SEPTEMBER, 1955 . . .

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