By Edmund T. Whittaker
Particular, debatable, and often stated, this survey bargains hugely distinctive bills about the improvement of rules and theories in regards to the nature of electrical energy and area (aether). easily obtainable to common readers in addition to highschool scholars, lecturers, and undergraduates, it contains a lot details unavailable elsewhere.
This single-volume variation includes either The Classical Theories and the fashionable Theories, that have been initially released individually. the 1st quantity covers the theories of classical physics from the age of the Greek philosophers to the overdue nineteenth century. the second one quantity chronicles discoveries that resulted in the advances of contemporary physics, targeting specified relativity, quantum theories, normal relativity, matrix mechanics, and wave mechanics. famous historian of technological know-how I. Bernard Cohen, who reviewed those books for Scientific American, saw, "I be aware of of no different heritage of electrical energy that's as sound as Whittaker's. All those that have came upon stimulation from his works will learn this informative and exact historical past with curiosity and profit."
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Extra resources for A history of the theories of aether and electricity Vol 1
The first effect of 'Proofs and Refutations' is to dazzle and to numb. Margaret Marchi, who came to the LSE at the same time as I, has spent time from then till now trying to sort out what exactly is going on in that great work and to improve on it. This with the help and opposition of Lakatos. Her latest results are elsewhere in this volume. Briefly, what she regards as fundamental is Lakatos' discovery that new mathematical discoveries modify old mathematical discoveries. That is, what was regarded as true is now seen to be generally speaking false, and only true in some special cases.
This is the notion that immediate perception is the only true perception and that mediate perception, because it involves inference, is not really perception at all If a man in his study takes it for granted that he hears a coach go by outside then it seems clear that this should be said to be a perception It would be awkward to call it anything else. At the same time, the perception clearly involves inference, even if inference of a quite automatic, instantaneous and unselfconscious sort. Berkeley seems wrong to oppose perception and inference so sharply.
Lakatos was more than anything preoccupied with the history of ideas, and particularly the patterns of growth and change in ideas. His gossip was applied to the living and the dead with equal vivacity, and was usually concerned with a point of intellectual history. I arrived at the LSE in the fall of 1965 as a beginning graduate student, and attended his course in mathematical logic. I was constantly amazed and delighted to find that a subject I thought might be dry was actually - in Lakatos' version - roughly two-thirds gossip.