The empirical successes of atomic, nuclear, and particle physics
have not reduced -- and may never fully resolve -- the
philosophical controversies about the inner constitution of matter.
This book examines these debates by exploring the particle concept
in physics. Are the particles of modern physics 'real' or are they
fictitious entities, their existence deduced merely by the careless
application of abstract theories? Or are the philosophers involved
in the debate about 'scientific realism' dedicating themselves to a
problem that has long been solved by physicists? Studies of the
experimental basis and theoretical relevance of the particle
concept reveal that these questions are far from easy to answer,
because, since the introduction of quantum theory, physical science
no longer possesses a single unambiguous particle concept. All
those interested in the 'true meaning' of such physical concepts
will find this book informative and thought provoking. It is
written at a level accessible to scholars, students and teachers of
science and philosophy.
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