Eddington’s 1927 Book

Eddington Book


The Nature of the Physical World







Chapter I.       The Downfall of Classical Physics

  1. The Structure of the Atom
  2. The FitzGerald Contraction
  3. Consequences of the Contraction
  4. Frames of Space
  5. “Commonsense” Objections
  6. Summary

Chapter II.      Relativity

  1. Einstein’s Principle
  2. Relative and Absolute Quantities
  3. Nature’s Plan of Structure
  4. Velocity through the Aether
  5. Is the FitzGerald Contraction Real?
  6. Summary

Chapter III.     Time

  1. Astronomer Royal’s Time
  2. Location of Events
  3. Absolute Past and Future
  4. The Absolute Distinction of Space and Time
  5. The Four-Dimensional World
  6. The Velocity of Light
  7. Practical Applications
  8. Summary

Chapter IV.     The Running-Down of the Universe

  1. Shuffling
  2. Time’s Arrow
  3. Coincidences
  4. Primary and Secondary Law
  5. Thermodynamical Equilibrium
  6. Are Space and Time Infinite?

Chapter V.      “Becoming”

  1. Linkage of Entropy with Becoming
  2. Dynamic Quality of the External World
  3. Objectivity of Becoming
  4. Our Dual Recognition of Time
  5. The Scientific Reaction from Microscopic Analysis
  6. Insufficiency of Primary Law

Chapter  VI.     Gravitation—the Law

  1. The Man in the Lift
  2. A New Picture of Gravitation
  3. A New Law of Gravitation
  4. The Law of Motion
  5. Relativity of Acceleration
  6. Time Geometry
  7. Geometry and Mechanics

Chapter  VII.    Gravitation—the Explanation

  1. The Law of Curvature
  2. Relativity of Length
  3. Predictions from the Law
  4. Non-Empty Space
  5. Non-Euclidean Geometry

Chapter VIII.   Man’s Place in the Universe

  1. The Sidereal Universe
  2. The Scale of Time
  3. Plurality of Worlds
  4. Formation of Planetary Systems

Chapter IX.     The Quantum Theory

  1. The Origin of the Trouble
  2. The Atom of Action
  3. Conflict with the Wave-Theory of Light
  4. Theory of the Atom
  5. Relation of Classical Laws to Quantum Laws (193)

Chapter X.      The New Quantum Theory

  1. The New Quantum Theory
  2. Transition to a New Theory
  3. Development of the New Quantum Theory
  4. Outline of Schrodinger’s Theory
  5. Principle of Indeterminacy
  6. A New Epistemology

Chapter XI.     World Building

  1. World Building
  2. Identical Laws
  3. Selective Influence of the Mind
  4. Three Types of Law

Chapter XII.    Pointer Readings

  1. Familiar Conceptions and Scientific Symbols
  2. Nature of Exact Science
  3. Limitations of Physical Knowledge
  4. Cyclic Method of Physics
  5. Actuality
  6. “What is Mr. X?”

Chapter XIII.   Reality

  1. The Real and the Concrete
  2. Mind-Stuff
  3. The Definition of Reality
  4. Physical Illustrations

Chapter XIV. Causation

  1. Causation
  2. Causation and Time’s Arrow
  3. Predictability of Events
  4. The New Epistemological Outlook
  5. The Principle of Indeterminacy
  6. Natural and Supernatural
  7. Volition
  8. Interference with Statistical Laws

Chapter XV.   Science and Mysticism

  1. Science and Mysticism
  2. Symbolic Knowledge and Intimate Knowledge
  3. Defence of Mysticism
  4. Reality and Mysticism
  5. Significance and Values
  6. Conviction
  7. Mystical Religion




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