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The Philosophy of Cosmology by Khalil Chamcham


The Philosophy of Cosmology by Khalil Chamcham

Following a long-term international collaboration between leaders in cosmology and the philosophy of science, this volume addresses foundational questions at the limit of science across these disciplines, questions raised by observational and theoretical progress in modern cosmology. Space missions have mapped the Universe up to its early instants, opening up questions on what came before the Big Bang, the nature of space and time, and the quantum origin of the Universe. As the foundational volume of an emerging academic discipline, experts from relevant fields lay out the fundamental problems of contemporary cosmology and explore the routes toward finding possible solutions. Written for graduates and researchers in physics and philosophy, particular efforts are made to inform academics from other fields, as well as the educated public, who wish to understand our modern vision of the Universe, related philosophical questions, and the significant impacts on scientific methodology.


'The editors of this volume boldly announce that this collection of essays by an international group of philosophers and physicists 'marks a beginning'

'a body of philosophical literature engaged with contemporary cosmology ...'
Currently, cosmology is at the pinnacle of innovation

; its rapid development requires engagement from physicists and philosophers of physics on foundational issues. What is speculative or meta-cosmology today, soon becomes the cosmology of tomorrow as theory struggles to keep up with discovery. Thus, the book begins with a section entitled 'Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology
and proceeds to delve further into more specialized topics in cosmological structures, gravity, quantum foundations, and

'methodological and philosophical issues'. It should be noted that the quality of the volume's essays varies, as well as the level of technical difficulty; some chapters are remarkably lucid while others are comprehensible only to specialists.'
L. B. McHenry, Choice

About the Author

Khalil Chamcham is a researcher at the University of Oxford. He acted as the executive director of the UK collaboration on the 'Philosophy of Cosmology' programme. His main research interests are in the chemical evolution of galaxies, nucleosynthesis, dark matter, and the concept of time. He has co-authored four books and co-edited ten, including From Quantum Fluctuations to Cosmological Structures (with David Valls-Gabaud, Martin A. Hendry and Paolo Molaro, 1997). Joseph Silk FRS is Homewood Professor at The Johns Hopkins University, Research Scientist at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, CNRS and Sorbonne Universities, and Senior Fellow at the Beecroft Institute for Particle Astrophysics at the University of Oxford. He has written seven popular books on cosmology, including The Big Bang, 3rd edition (2001), On the Shores of the Unknown: A Short History of the Universe (Cambridge, 2005), and The Infinite Cosmos: Questions from the Frontiers of Cosmology (2006). His research areas include dark matter, the formation of the galaxies, and the big bang theory. He has received numerous awards and prestigious international fellowships. John D. Barrow FRS is Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project to improve the appreciation of mathematics amongst the general public, teachers, and school students. The recipient of many distinguished prizes, his research interests are in cosmology, gravitation, and the interface between particle physics and astronomy. He is also a prolific author, the most recent of his twenty-two books being 100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know about Maths and the Arts (2014) and The Book of Universes (2011). Simon Saunders is Professor of Philosophy of Physics at the University of Oxford and a Tutorial Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He is the lead editor of Many Worlds? Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality (with Jonathan Barrett, Adrian Kent and David Wallace, 2010) and the author of more than sixty articles in philosophy of physics, with special emphasis on the foundations of quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and symmetries. He also works on structuralism in philosophy of science and metaphysics, focusing on the logic of identity. He is president-elect of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science.

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Book Info

Publication date

13th April 2017


Khalil Chamcham

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Cambridge University Press


526 pages


Cosmology & the universe
Philosophy of science
History of science



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