New PDF release: A history of theories of ether and electricity. The

By Edmund T. Whittaker

The aim of this quantity is to explain the revolution in physics which came about within the first region of the 20 th century, and which integrated the discoveries of specified Relativity, the older Quantum concept, basic Relativity, Matrix Mechanics and Wave Mechanics.

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Extra info for A history of theories of ether and electricity. The classical theories

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But the habit is far more widespread. Thinkers like Monod himself who suppose themselves to be exposing it are as subject to it as anybody else. They are only dealing in different dramas. The trouble is not just that they are too feeble to be properly impartial, and need more heroism to complete the job—perhaps more cold baths, or practice in the martial arts…? Nor is it that we must provide for the heroism by letting machines which don’t have these distressing human weaknesses do our thinking for us.

Clearly, Monod thinks of a casino as embodying the total lack of order and purposive connexion which he takes as the basic condition of nature. This story is a gross insult to casinos. Real casinos are not chancy things at all but highly purposeful human artefacts, devices to produce a peculiar arrangement that is never normally found in nature—namely, a calculated disorder which can baffle prediction. How artificial this kind of ‘chance’ is can be seen from the amount of trouble it takes to produce it.

But he usually speaks of it more confidently still as simply ‘the future’. This makes possible the familiar kind of moral pressure by which it becomes our duty to produce something merely because it is already predestined: We hold the future still timidly, but perceive it for the first time, as a function of our own action. 17 Bernal is telling his readers to change their aims, their desires, not for the usual kinds of reason, arising out of new circumstances or new desires, but simply because their powers have changed.

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A history of theories of ether and electricity. The classical theories by Edmund T. Whittaker


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