The Frontiers Collection

The Unknown as an Engine for Science

An Essay on the Definite and the Indefinite

Authors: Pirner, Hans J.

  • A fresh vision of the (as yet) unknown
  • Well written and clearly structured investigation of how we arrive at secure scientific knowledge
  • Stands out for its wide range of examples, beginning with physics but extending to neuroscience, ecology and economics
  • Employs fuzzy logic and other methods developed in information science to handle uncertainty in science
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eBook $54.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-18509-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $69.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-18508-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $84.99
price for USA
  • Customers within the U.S. and Canada please contact Customer Service at 1-800-777-4643, Latin America please contact us at +1-212-460-1500 (Weekdays 8:30am – 5:30pm ET) to place your order.
  • Due: November 4, 2016
  • ISBN 978-3-319-38637-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
About this book

This book explores the limits of our knowledge. The author shows how uncertainty and indefiniteness not only define the borders confining our understanding, but how they feed into the process of discovery and help to push back these borders. Starting with physics the author collects examples from economics, neurophysiology, history, ecology and philosophy.

The first part shows how information helps to reduce indefiniteness. Understanding rests on our ability to find the right context, in which we localize a problem as a point in a network of connections. New elements must be combined with the old parts of the existing complex knowledge system, in order to profit maximally from the information. An attempt is made to quantify the value of information by its ability to reduce indefiniteness.

The second part explains how to handle indefiniteness with methods from fuzzy logic, decision theory, hermeneutics and semiotics. It is not sufficient that the new element appears in an experiment, one also has to find a theoretical reason for its existence. Indefiniteness becomes an engine of science, which gives rise to new ideas.

About the authors

Hans J. Pirner is a theoretical physicist, who obtained his degree in the US. After working at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, at CEA Saclay in Paris and at CERN in Geneva, he became professor of physics in Heidelberg in 1988 specializing in particle physics and nuclear physics. In the Marsilius-Kolleg, center of interdisciplinary research in Heidelberg, the problem of “vagueness” in analytic philosophy triggered his research of uncertainty at the edges of science.

Table of contents (5 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $54.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-18509-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $69.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-18508-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $84.99
price for USA
  • Customers within the U.S. and Canada please contact Customer Service at 1-800-777-4643, Latin America please contact us at +1-212-460-1500 (Weekdays 8:30am – 5:30pm ET) to place your order.
  • Due: November 4, 2016
  • ISBN 978-3-319-38637-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Unknown as an Engine for Science
Book Subtitle
An Essay on the Definite and the Indefinite
Authors
Translated by
Brewer, W.D.
Series Title
The Frontiers Collection
Copyright
2015
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing Switzerland
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-18509-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-18509-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-18508-8
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-38637-9
Series ISSN
1612-3018
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVII, 146
Number of Illustrations and Tables
23 b/w illustrations
Topics