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Discovery or Construction?

Soler Gil, Francisco José

Discovery or Construction?

Astroparticle Physics and the Search for Physical Reality

Series: Philosophie und Geschichte der Wissenschaften - Volume 73

Year of Publication: 2012

Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2012. 232 pp., 45 fig.
ISBN 978-3-631-63720-3 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.310 kg, 0.683 lbs

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Book synopsis

Are the phenomena of physics discovered or rather constructed? If physical phenomena are to be understood as constructions, then physics is nothing more than useful fiction, lacking relevance for the characterisation of such a thing as «real» nature. This book puts forward two theses: First, that astroparticle physics is a very appropriate field for examining this issue; and second, that scientific research would unfold differently, depending on whether such research follows a realistic or a constructivist dynamics. In addition to the presentation of the key elements of astroparticle physics and the summary of evidence for the evaluation of the realistic and social constructivist positions at the present state of this discipline, this book provides some specific examples of research developments that will evolve in different ways in the near future, depending on whether astroparticle physicists pursue their research in the sense of realism or in the sense of social constructivism.


Contents: Science Wars – Scientific Realism – Social Constructivism – Phenomena Experiments and Theoretical Models in Astroparticle Physics – The MAGIC Collaboration – Calibration – Data Analysis – The Icecube Collaboration – Dynamics of Physical Research – Worldview of Physics – Social Forces – Philosophy of Experimental Physics.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Francisco José Soler Gil studied Physics and Philosophy at the University of Granada (Spain). He is a Doctor of Philosophy from the University Bremen (Germany) and has carried out research at the University of Bremen and the Technical University of Dortmund (Germany). He is currently a research staff member «Ramón y Cajal» at the University of Seville (Spain). He has published several books and articles on Philosophy of Physics.


Philosophie und Geschichte der Wissenschaften. Studien und Quellen. Bd. 73

Herausgegeben von Hans Jörg Sandkühler und Pirmin Stekeler-Weithofer