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Seeing Double: Shared Identities in Physics, Philosophy, and Literature

Seeing Double: Shared Identities in Physics, Philosophy, and Literature Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book for 2002

The separateness and connection of individuals is perhaps the central question of human life: What, exactly, is my individuality? To what degree is it unique? To what degree can it be shared, and how? To the many philosophical and literary speculations about these topics over time, modern science has added the curious twist of quantum theory, which requires that the elementary particles of which everything consists have no individuality at all. All aspects of chemistry depend on this lack of individuality, as do many branches of physics. From where, then, does our individuality come?

In Seeing Double, Peter Pesic invites readers to explore this intriguing set of questions. He draws on literary and historical examples that open the mind (from Homer to Martin Guerre to Kafka), philosophical analyses that have helped to make our thinking and speech more precise, and scientific work that has enabled us to characterize the phenomena of nature. Though he does not try to be all-inclusive, Pesic presents a broad range of ideas, building toward a specific point of view: that the crux of modern quantum theory is its clash with our ordinary concept of individuality. This represents a departure from the usual understanding of quantum theory. Pesic argues that what is bizarre about quantum theory becomes more intelligible as we reconsider what we mean by individuality and identity in ordinary experience. In turn, quantum identity opens a new perspective on us.

Synopsis:

An exploration of the relationship between quantum theory and concepts of individuality and identity from ancient Greece to the present.

About the Author

Peter Pesic is a Tutor and Musician-in-Residence at St. John's College, Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780262162050
Subtitle:
Shared Identities in Physics, Philosophy, and Literature
Author:
Pesic, Peter
Publisher:
The MIT Press
Location:
Cambridge, Mass.
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
Individuality
Subject:
Metaphysics
Subject:
Identity
Subject:
Quantum Theory
Subject:
Identity (psychology)
Subject:
Philosophy and science
Subject:
Psychology and philosophy
Subject:
Psychology and literature.
Subject:
General science
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series Volume:
MCR 31F
Publication Date:
20020201
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
11
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
8.24x5.62x.72 in. .83 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science

Seeing Double: Shared Identities in Physics, Philosophy, and Literature Used Hardcover
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Product details 192 pages MIT Press - English 9780262162050 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , An exploration of the relationship between quantum theory and concepts of individuality and identity from ancient Greece to the present.
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