The Quest for Reality: Bohr and Wittgenstein - Two Complementary Views

ISBN : 9780198729105

Stig Stenholm
240 Pages
154 x 233 mm
Pub date
Mar 2015
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In both science and philosophy, the twentieth century saw a radical breakdown of certainty in the human worldview, as quantum uncertainty and linguistic ambiguity destroyed the comfortable certitudes of the past. As these disciplines form the foundation for a human position in the world, a major epistemological reorganization had to take place. In this book, quantum theorist Stig Stenholm presents Bohr and Wittgenstein, in physics and in philosophy, as central figures representing this revision. Each of them took up the challenge of replacing apparent order and certainty with a provisional understanding based on limited concepts in constant flux. Stenholm concludes that the modern synthesis created by their heirs is far from satisfactory, and the story is so far an unfinished one. The book will appeal to any researcher in either discipline curious about the foundation of modern science, and works to provoke a renewal of discussion and the eventual emergence of a reformed clarity and understanding.


1. Prelude: The modern stance
2. Twilight of the gods
3. The view from Copenhagen
4. Epistemological interlude
5. Wittgenstein enters the scene
6. Shaky foundations
7. Physics interface
8. Philosophical consequences
9. Metaphysics and reality
10. Concluding epilogue

About the author: 

Stig Stenholm has carried out distinguished work in quantum optics for 40 years, holding professorships and research positions at the universities of Stuttgart and Helsinki, at IBM Research Laboratory, San Jose, California, and at the Optical Sciences Center, Tucson, Arizona, before his retirement from KTH Stockholm in 2004. He has received the Alexander von Humboldt Award, Germany, and The Homen Prize in Physics from the Societas Scientiarum Fennica.

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