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The Observable

Heisenberg’s Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics

History and Philosophy of Science. Heresy, Crossroads, and Intersections Band 1

Patrick Aidan Heelan

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Patrick Aidan Heelan’s The Observable offers the reader a completely articulated development of his 1965 philosophy of quantum physics, Quantum Mechanics and Objectivity. In this previously unpublished study dating back more than a half a century, Heelan brings his background as both a physicist and a philosopher to his reflections on Werner Heisenberg’s physical philosophy. Including considerably broader connections to the contributions of Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, and Albert Einstein, this study also reflects Heelan’s experience in Eugene Wigner’s laboratory at Princeton along with his reflections on working with Erwin Schrödinger dating from Heelan’s years at the Institute for Advanced Cosmology in Dublin.

A contribution to continental philosophy of science, the phenomenological and hermeneutic resources applied in this book to the physical and ontological paradoxes of quantum physics, especially in connection with laboratory science and measurement, theory and model making, will enrich students of the history of science as well as those interested in different approaches to the historiography of science. University courses in the philosophy of physics will find this book indispensable as a resource and invaluable for courses in the history of science.

Patrick Aidan Heelan (1926–2015), a Jesuit priest, held a PhD. in geophysics and seismology (St. Louis University, 1952) and a PhD. in philosophy (Catholic University Leuven, 1964). He joined Fordham’s philosophy department (1965), became chair of philosophy at Stony Brook (1970), served as Georgetown University’s Executive Vice President (1992–1995), and taught philosophy (1995–2013). He is author of Quantum Mechanics and Objectivity (1965) and Space-Perception and the Philosophy of Science (1983).

Babette Babich is Professor of Philosophy at Fordham University in New York City. She is author of Un politique brisé. Le souci d’autrui, l’humanisme, et les juifs chez Heidegger (2015) and The Hallelujah Effect: Philosophical Reflections on Music, Performance Practice, and Technology (2013) in addition to essays and monographs on philosophy of science, politics, ethics, and aesthetics.


Einband gebundene Ausgabe
Herausgeber Babette Babich
Seitenzahl 185
Erscheinungsdatum 28.10.2015
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-1-4331-3062-5
Verlag Peter Lang Publishing Inc. New York
Maße (L/B/H) 23,1/15,5/1,6 cm
Gewicht 420 g

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  • Contents: Observation, Description and Ontology: Strategy – Relativity: Model of a Scientific Revolution – Quantum Mechanics 1925: Revolution – Wave Mechanics 1926: Reaction – Search for a Paradigm - The Uncertainty Relations: Paradigm or Ontology of Nature? – The Philosophical Differences Between Heisenberg and Bohr – Complementarity - The Chicago Lectures 1929: Complementarity Adopted a Priori Role of Classical Physics – The Gifford Lectures 1955-56 and the New Aristotelianism – The Logical Status of Potentia – Objectivity and Realism in Quantum Mechanics – Observation, Description, and Ontology.