Sunday, August 20, 2006

"Defending Einstein" Is Out!

I know, I know, after your summer beach reading, you're up to here with Hans Reichenbach's early writings on the theory of relativity... but for that hard to buy for philosophy of science geek on your Chirstams list...

Hans Reichenbach was one of eight students in Albert Einstein's first seminar on the general theory of relativity at the University of Berlin in 1919. He was amongst the first philosophers to understand the theory in all of its mathematical detail and became Einstein's self-appointed bulldog in the popular media. Einstein's theory was attacked from all sides, physicists challenged its empirical claims, philosophers tried to argue that its foundations were self-refuting, cranks of all stripes came up with bizarre "disproofs." Reichenbach took them all on in physics journals, philosophical journals, and popular science magazines.

He saw Einstein's work not only as a radical strike in physics, but as a template for restructuring philosophy. He set about to clearly lay out what in the theory was philosophy and what was science, what in the theory was arbitrary linguistic convention and what was a matter of fact in the world, what in the theory was supported by observation and what still needed confirmation. Once this was done, he set out to pinpoint the errors in understanding of the opponents of relativity. And he took on all comers with intelligence, wit, and an ease of style that makes his writings a joy to read.

Get it quickly, sales have been is ranked amongst the top sellers on Amazon (if the "top sellers list" is extended to include include almost 1,000,000 titles).