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THE NATURE OF THE PHYSICAL WORLD vii This book is substantially the course of the Gifford Lectures which I delivered in the
 

Summary: THE NATURE OF THE PHYSICAL WORLD vii
PREFACE
This book is substantially the course of the Gifford Lectures which I delivered in the
University of Edinburgh in January to March 1927. It treats of the philosophical outcome
of the great changes of scientific thought which have recently come about. The theory of
relativity and the quantum theory have led to strange new conceptions of the physical
world; the progress of the principles of thermodynamics has wrought more gradual but no
less profound change. The first eleven chapters are for the most part occupied with the
new physical theories, with the reasons which have led to their adoption, and especially
with the conceptions which seem to underlie them. The aim is to make clear the
scientific view of the world as it stands at the present day, and, where it is incomplete, to
judge the direction in which modern ideas appear to be tending. In the last four chapters I
consider the position which this scientific view should occupy in relation to the wider
aspects of human experience, including religion. The general spirit of the inquiry
followed in the lectures is stated in the concluding paragraph of the Introduction (p.
xviii).
I hope that the scientific chapters may be read with interest apart from the later
applications in the book; but they are not written quite on the lines that would have been
adopted had they been wholly independent. It would not serve my purpose to give an
easy introduction the rudiments of the relativity and quantum theories; it was essential to

  

Source: Henry, Richard C.- Department of Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University

 

Collections: Physics