David Hilbert's Lectures on the Foundations of Physics 1915-1927

Relativity, Quantum Theory and Epistemology

  • Tilman Sauer
  • Ulrich Majer

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages 1-24
  2. Tilman Sauer, Ulrich Majer
    Pages 25-72
  3. Tilman Sauer, Ulrich Majer
    Pages 73-307
  4. Tilman Sauer, Ulrich Majer
    Pages 309-374
  5. Tilman Sauer, Ulrich Majer
    Pages 375-434
  6. Tilman Sauer, Ulrich Majer, Arne Schirrmacher
    Pages 435-501
  7. Tilman Sauer, Ulrich Majer, Heinz-Jürgen Schmidt
    Pages 503-707
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 709-795

About this book


Volume 5 has three parts, dealing with General Relativity, Epistemological Issues, and Quantum Mechanics. The core of the first part is Hilbert’s two semester lecture course on ‘The Foundations of Physics’ (1916/17). This is framed by Hilbert’s published ‘First and Second Communications’ on the ‘Foundations of Physics’ (1915, 1917) and by a selection of documents dealing with more specific topics like ‘The Principle of Causality’ or a lecture on the new concepts of space and time held in Bucharest in 1918. The epistemological issues concern the intricate relation between nature and mathematical knowledge, in particular the question of irreversibility and objectivity (1921) as well as the subtle question whether what Hilbert calls the ‘world equations’ are physically complete (1923). The last part deals with quantum theory in its early, advanced and mature stages. Hilbert held lecture courses on the mathematical foundations of quantum theory twice, before and after the breakthrough in 1926. These documents bear witness to one of the most dramatic changes in the foundations of science.


01A55, 01A60, 01A75, 81-03, 81P05, 83-03, 83C05, 83C10 Hilbert history and philosophy of physics quantum theory relativity theory

Editors and affiliations

  • Tilman Sauer
    • 1
  • Ulrich Majer
    • 2
  1. 1.Einstein Papers ProjectCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaU.S.A.
  2. 2.Philosophisches SeminarUniversität GöttingenGöttingenGermany

Bibliographic information