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Foundations of Relational Realism: A Topological Approach to Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Nature (Contemporary Whitehead Studies) Hardcover – 20 Jun 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (20 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739180320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739180327
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 3.9 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,934,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"A startling development in the last century has been the overflowing of theoretical and observational sciences into the fields of philosophy, particularly by quantum mechanics and cosmology. The present book is twice valuable on this fascinating subject in my opinion: on one hand for its clear and lucid exposition and application of Whitehead's ontology as a most attractive framework for this kind of query, and on the other hand, for its extension of the dialectics of ontology through an original use of advanced concepts from modern mathematics."

ROLAND OMNÈS, Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Physics at the University of Paris-Sud, author of The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics and Converging Realities (both Princeton University Press).

"This is a unique book in its scope, approach and method. A novel physical and philosophical interpretation of sheaf theory sheds new light on the quantum measurement problem, entanglement, locality and truth. A new systematic and rigorous relational realistic paradigm for natural philosophy has emerged, rooted on the same principles with Abstract (Modern) Differential Geometry, that transmutes the above into a fully fledged dynamical theory."

ANASTASIOS MALLIOS, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, University of Athens, author of Geometry of Vector Sheaves (Springer) and Modern Differential Geometry in Gauge Theories (Birkhäuser).

About the Author

Michael Epperson did his doctoral work in philosophy of science and philosophy of religion at The University of Chicago, and earned his Ph.D. there in 2003. His dissertation, Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, was written under the direction of philosopher David Tracy and physicist Peter Hodgson, Head of the Nuclear Physics Theoretical Group at the University of Oxford. It was published the following year by Fordham University Press, and re-released in paperback by Oxford University Press in 2012. He is currently Director of the Center for Philosophy and the Natural Sciences in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at California State University, Sacramento, where he is a Research Professor and principal Investigator.

Elias Zafiris holds a M.Sc. (Distinction) in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces from Imperial College at the University of London, and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Imperial College. He has published numerous papers on category-theoretic methods in quantum physics and complex systems theories, topological localization and modern differential geometry in quantum field theory and quantum gravity, generalized spacetime quantum theory, decoherence, and many other topics in the foundations of physics. He is a research professor in theoretical and mathematical physics at the Institute of Mathematics at the University of Athens, and is currently a visiting professor in the Department of Logic, Institute of Philosophy, Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. He is also a senior research fellow and Principal Investigator at the Center for Philosophy and the Natural Sciences in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at California State University, Sacramento.

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The strand of thinking ably represented here is that the success of quantum theory should lead us to recognise the inadequacy of our assumptions in physics. The central problem is succinctly characterised as: "The absence in quantum mechanics of a formal means of depicting local-global relations in an extensive continuum." If this phrase might mean something to you, then you may enjoy reading & learning from this book (as I did).

While I consider that the radical aspect presented, a purported need to replace set theory by category theory as basis, is ambitious (I would prefer to extend the current conceptual framework), nevertheless there is a wholly consistent thesis, very well described, & its core has been demonstrated 'not wrong' by the evidence in quantum experiments. If you can consider relations to be as fundamental as objects, then this is a good place to read about it. I haven't found anything so satisfying since encountering Bohmian mechanics.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important breakthrough in understanding the quantum world 27 Feb. 2014
By Timothy E. Eastman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Leveraging rigorously-tested core quantum physics results, in combination with careful philosophical distinctions and new mathematical developments (topology and category theory), Drs. Epperson and Zafiris have achieved a uniquely viable interpretation of all known quantum experiments (including many rigorously- checked Bell inequality tests) in a way that is intuitively reasonable and avoids the usual exotica. In addition, their predictions on non-local quantum correlations associated with global topological phases have been confirmed in recent experiments. Epperson provides very readable yet in-depth philosophical and interpretive foundations (210 pages) followed by Zafiris' rigorous treatment of mathematical foundations (177 pages). This work is a must read for all those interested in the philosophy of physics, as well as those concerned with foundational philosophical questions impacted by such new physics results.
Tim Eastman, PhD, Physics
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new view of the world 20 Aug. 2013
By RSW - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This work presents a profound new epistemological view of the world - based on the subtle and under appreciated schemata of A. N. Whitehead - and backs it up with hard mathematics. It is consequently not an easy read but will greatly reward close study. It belongs on the shelf of every serious student of philosophy, mathematics or physics.
2 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars sad to say, Epperson and Zafiris have been sucked in by the Bell fallacy 16 Feb. 2014
By Christoph - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While it is good to use the Whitehead concept of an occasion of activity as an analytic device for interpretation of experiments, sad to say Epperson and Zafiris have not come to grips with the basic fallacy of the famous Bell argumentation. They uncritically accept the Bell argumentation and so their book is largely drivel, dressed up in fancy language and very technical theorizing. I am sorry to report this, but I think it best to speak plainly about such an important matter.
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