By Robert Kirkman
The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living.
by Robert Batterman
This Oxford Handbook provides an overview of many of the topics that currently engage philosophers of physics. It surveys new issues and the problems that have become a focus of attention in recent years. It also provides up-to-date discussions of the still very important problems that dominated the field in the past.
In the late 20th Century, the philosophy of physics was largely focused on orthodox Quantum Mechanics and Relativity Theory. The measurement problem, the question of the possibility of hidden variables, and the nature of quantum locality dominated the literature on the quantum mechanics, whereas questions about relationalism vs. substantivalism, and issues about underdetermination of theories dominated the literature on spacetime. These issues still receive considerable attention from philosophers, but many have shifted their attentions to other questions related to quantum mechanics and to spacetime theories. Quantum field theory has become a major focus, particularly from the point of view of algebraic foundations. Concurrent with these trends, there has been a focus on understanding gauge invariance and symmetries.
The philosophy of physics has evolved even further in recent years with attention being paid to theories that, for the most part, were largely ignored in the past. For example, the relationship between thermodynamics and statistical mechanics—once thought to be a paradigm instance of unproblematic theory reduction—is now a hotly debated topic. The implicit, and sometimes explicit, reductionist methodology of both philosophers and physicists has been severely criticized and attention has now turned to the explanatory and descriptive roles of “non-fundamental,” phenomenological theories. This shift of attention includes “old” theories such as classical mechanics, once deemed to be of little philosophical interest. Furthermore, some philosophers have become more interested in “less fundamental” contemporary physics such as condensed matter theory. Questions abound with implications for the nature of models, idealizations, and explanation in physics. This Handbook showcases all these aspects of this complex and dynamic discipline.
by Clive Hamilton
This book goes to the heart of the unfolding reality of the twenty-first century: international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have all failed, and before the end of the century Earth is projected to be warmer than it has been for 15 million years. The question “can the crisis be avoided?” has been superseded by a more frightening one, “what can be done to prevent the devastation of the living world?” And the disturbing answer, now under wide discussion both within and outside the scientific community, is to seize control of the very climate of the Earth itself.
Clive Hamilton begins by exploring the range of technologies now being developed in the field of geoengineering–the intentional, enduring, large-scale manipulation of Earth’s climate system. He lays out the arguments for and against climate engineering, and reveals the extent of vested interests linking researchers, venture capitalists, and corporations. He then examines what it means for human beings to be making plans to control the planet’s atmosphere, probes the uneasiness we feel with the notion of exercising technological mastery over nature, and challenges the ways we think about ourselves and our place in the natural world.
by Jonathan Lyons
Despite the West’s growing involvement in Muslim societies, conflicts, and cultures, its inability to understand or analyze the Islamic world threatens any prospect for East–West rapprochement. Impelled by one thousand years of anti-Muslim ideas and images, the West has failed to engage in any meaningful or productive way with the world of Islam. Formulated in the medieval halls of the Roman Curia and courts of the European Crusaders and perfected in the newsrooms of Fox News and CNN, this anti-Islamic discourse determines what can and cannot be said about Muslims and their religion, trapping the West in a dangerous, dead-end politics that it cannot afford.
In Islam Through Western Eyes, Jonathan Lyons unpacks Western habits of thinking and writing about Islam, conducting a careful analysis of the West’s grand totalizing narrative across one thousand years of history. He observes the discourse’s corrosive effects on the social sciences, including sociology, politics, philosophy, theology, international relations, security studies, and human rights scholarship. He follows its influence on research, speeches, political strategy, and government policy, preventing the West from responding effectively to its most significant twenty-first-century challenges: the rise of Islamic power, the emergence of religious violence, and the growing tension between established social values and multicultural rights among Muslim immigrant populations.
Through the intellectual “archaeology” of Michel Foucault, Lyons reveals the workings of this discourse and its underlying impact on our social, intellectual, and political lives. He then addresses issues of deep concern to Western readers — Islam and modernity, Islam and violence, and Islam and women — and proposes new ways of thinking about the Western relationship to the Islamic world.