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Fysikens filosofi: Diskussioner om Einstein, relativitetsteorin och kvantfysiken i Sverige 1910-1970
Stockholm University.
1999 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The philosophy of physics : discussions about Einstein, the theory of relativity and the quantum physics in Sweden 1910-1970 (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation focuses on the reception of the Theory of Relativity and the Quantum Mechanics outside the field of physics, especially in the philosophical community. In the Swedish context, the study shows how the ideas and discussions about these theories belonged to different types of discourses, some existing long before the arrival of modern physics, some shortlived, and some surviving the earliest reception. In connection with this point of view, the thesis argues that the ideas about relativity and quantum physics must be understood not only as expressions of some individuals’ more or less adequate knowledge, but also as expressions of different thought-styles. One such thought-style was formed in Uppsala, where some philosophers strongly opposed both the relativity of the new physical space and time concepts and the ’uncertainty’ of quantum mechanics. The reason for this is shown to have been the philosophers’ inherited belief in an unambiguous and rational world-order beyond the subjectivism of empirical knowledge.

The investigation covers a long period of time and, in many ways, it indicates that the attitudes toward modern physics became more positive. The anti-Einstein campaign of the early 1920s was silenced by the increased public admiration of theoretical physicists in general and of Albert Einstein in particular. The initial naïveté in the interpretations of the new physical theories was gradually replaced by an awareness of the fact that it was a task for professionals only. The earlier philosophical interpretations were criticized. During the 1930s, the Uppsala philosophers were attacked both by members of the Vienna Circle and by some Swedish scientists. In the end, Swedish philosophy became orienteted towards the logical empiricism of the Western hemisphere, and the notion that there were some fundamental faults committed in modern physics was abandoned. Only a few persons outside the academic world maintained this opinion untill the 1970s.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Eslöv: B. Östlings bokförl. Symposion , 1999. , p. 464
Series
Kulturhistoriskt bibliotek, ISSN 99-1228966-8
National Category
History of Ideas
Research subject
History of Ideas
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-63822ISBN: 91-7139-432-X (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-63822DiVA, id: diva2:452717
Public defence
1999-05-07, 10:00
Opponent
Available from: 2011-10-31 Created: 2011-10-31 Last updated: 2018-05-02Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
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Output format
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