Rise and Fall of Physical Theories

  • Peter Mittelstaedt
Part of the Fundamental Theories of Physics book series (FTPH, volume 174)


Classical physics, which is assumed here as represented by classical mechanics, is usually considered as the correct physical theory of our ordinary everyday experience (OE). This experience refers to the dimensions and processes of the human life, to slow motions, to time intervals that are comparable with hours, days, and years etc. and to distances that correspond almost to the dimensions of human beings. The world as we know it through ordinary experience determines what we call intuitive or comprehensible. We do not want to begin by spelling out the meaning of the word “intuitive” and its history. Rather, this concept will find its bearing in ordinary experience (OE), which, as pre-scientific experience, precedes all scientific cognition. This vague sense of intuitive and comprehensible is not only used in popular science but also corresponds largely to the usage of the terms in the literature of modern physics. This does not rule out the possibility that individual physicists interested in fundamental questions have understood these concepts in a deeper sense and in line with the philosophical tradition. Such an interpretation, however, seems initially to have been limited to Quantum Mechanics and will therefore be omitted for the present purpose.


Quantum Mechanic Classical Mechanic Modern Physic Euclidean Geometry Classical Physic 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Mittelstaedt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Theoretische PhysikUniversität zu KölnKölnGermany

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