, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 69-75
Date: 13 Oct 2012

Ruetsche on the pristine and adulterated in quantum field theory

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It might seem that philosophy of science has fallen on hard times. When not being pilloried by famous scientists, philosophy of science receives scant attention from the educated public. This is not to say that work in philosophy of science is not flourishing; but surely what is flourishing most—in terms of number of jobs, number of publications, etc.—is the philosophy of the specific sciences, such as physics and biology. So does “general philosophy of science” have a future? Will that subject cease to exist, to be completely replaced by philosophical investigation of the specific sciences?

Judging by its title, Laura Ruetsche’s book Interpreting Quantum Theories would seem to confirm the trend toward fragmentation in philosophy of science. And indeed, the book does discuss quantum theory in great detail and depth; it would certainly make for difficult reading for somebody with no college-level training in physics. But if you thought that Ruetsche’s book adds another nail to the coffin ...