Philosophy of Modern Physics
University of Queensland
Area of Study
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
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Host University Units2
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units6
Hours & Credits
OverviewCourse DescriptionIntroduction to the philosophy of science in the context of modern physics. Methodological principles, quantum physics & epistemology, quantum measurement, relativity & cosmology, time & causation. Grand unified theories, theory of everything.Course IntroductionIt is the business of physics to determine what kinds of things there are in the world and how they interact with each other. This has led to a new physics, quite different from the everyday world of Newton, a physics which challenges traditional philosophies. In this course aspects of physics will be presented intertwined with related philosophical issues. The objective of the course is to enable students of physics to appreciate the philosophical assumptions underlying the world view of modern physics and for students of philosophy to learn the essential facts and concepts underpinning modern physics. Physics students will be expected to develop skills of written expression, familiar to arts students, while philosophy students will develop conceptual and numerical reasoning skills familiar to students of the physical sciences. It is hoped that the experience will go some way to bridging the gap between students of science and the arts. This course is delivered jointly by Physics and Philosophy. The physics lectures will give an account for the non-specialist of the main theories of modern physics including special and general relativity, quantum physics and cosmology. The philosophy lectures will introduce students to some aspects of the philosophical discussion of science methodology before moving on to consider the metaphysical problems that these new theories suggest concerning the natures of matter, space, time and causation.Learning ObjectivesAfter successfully completing this course you should be able to:
Class Contact2 Lecture hours, 2 Contact hoursAssessment SummaryProblem Set(s): 20%Essay: 40%Final Exam: 40%
- appreciate the philosophical assumptions underlying the world view of modern physics and for students of philosophy to learn the essential facts and concepts underpinning modern physics.
- Physics students will be expected to develop skills of written expression, familiar to arts students, while philosophy students will develop conceptual and numerical reasoning skills familiar to students of the physical sciences.
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Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.