Natural science and metaphysics


Natural science and metaphysics

Abner Shimony

(Search for a naturalistic world view, v. 2)

Cambridge University Press, 1993

  • : hbk
  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references and index



Abner Shimony an eminent philosopher of science, whose work has exerted a profound influence in both the philosophy and physics communities. This two-volume collection of his essays written over a period of forty years explores the interrelations between science and philosophy. Shimony regards the knowing subject as an entity in nature whose faculties must be studied from the points of view of evolutionary biology and empirical psychology. He maintains that the twentieth century is one of the great ages of metaphysics, given the deep implications of quantum mechanics, relativity theory, and molecular biology. The first volume, Scientific Method and Epistemology, deals with the dialectic of subject and object, epistemic probability, induction and scientific theories, perception and conception, and fact and values. The focus of the second volume, Natural Sciences and Metaphysics, is on quantum mechanical measurement and non-locality, parts and wholes, time, and mind and matter.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Part I. Measurment in Quantum Theory: 1. Role of the observer in quantum theory
  • 2. Approximate measurement in quantum mechanics with Mary H. Fehrs
  • 3. Proposed neutron interferometer test of some non-linear variants of wave mechanics
  • 4. Desiderata for modified quantum mechanics
  • 5. Filters with infinitely many components
  • 6. Proposed neutron interferometer observation of the sign change of a spinor due to 2? precession with Michael A. Horne
  • Part II. Quantum Entaglement and Nonlocality: 7. Experimental consequences of local hidden-variable theories
  • 8. An exposition of Bell's theorem
  • 9. Contextual hidden variables theories and Bell's inequalities
  • 10. Controllable and uncontrollable nonlocality
  • 11. Events and processes in the quantum world
  • 12. An exchange on local beables: comment on Bell's theory with Michael A. Horne and John F. Clauser
  • 13. Physical and philosophical issues of the Bohr-Einstein debate
  • Part III. Complex Systems: 14. The methodology of synthesis: parts and wholes in low energy physics
  • 15. Some proposals concerning parts and wholes
  • 16. The non-existence of a principle of natural selection: reply to Sober
  • Part IV. Time: 17. Towards a revision of the protophysics of time
  • 18. The transient now
  • Part V. The Mental and the Physical: 19. Quantum physics and the philosophy of Whitehead
  • 20. Reflections on the philosophy of Bohr, Heisenberg and Schroedinger
  • 21. Wave-packet reduction as a medium of communication with Joseph Hall, Christopher Kim, and Brian MecElroy
  • Index.

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