© 2016

Grete Hermann - Between Physics and Philosophy

  • Elise Crull
  • Guido Bacciagaluppi


  • Recent scholarship on an important figure little-known in the English-speaking world

  • First English translation of a key historical text in the foundations of quantum mechanics

  • Wide range of first-class contributors (Including some who knew Hermann personally)

  • Presents a rare synthesis of various aspects of Hermann's life and work


Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 42)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Hermann’s Background

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Fernando Leal
      Pages 17-34
  3. Hermann on Quantum Mechanics

  4. Discussions at the Hermann Workshop

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 171-171
    2. Dieter Krohn, Rene Saran, Fernando Leal
      Pages 173-196
    3. Elise Crull, Guido Bacciagaluppi
      Pages 197-218
  5. Translations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 219-219
    2. Grete Hermann
      Pages 223-237

About this book


This volume brings together recent scholarly contributions on Hermann by physicists, historians and philosophers of science, and philosophers and educators following in Hermann’s steps. Also included are translations of Hermann’s two most important essays, in the foundations of physics and in ethics. The former is here translated into English for the first time. Those interested in the many fields Hermann contributed to will find here a comprehensive discussion of her philosophy of physics that places it in the context of her wider work. Grete Hermann (1901-1984) was a pupil of mathematical physicist Emmy Noether, follower and co-worker of neo-Kantian philosopher Leonard Nelson, and an important intellectual figure in post-war German social democracy. She is also known for her work on the philosophy of modern physics in the 1930s, some of which emerged from intense discussions with Heisenberg and Weizsäcker in Leipzig. Hermann’s avowed aim was to counter the perceived threat to the Kantian notion of causality stemming from the new quantum mechanics. She not only succeeded to her satisfaction, but also discussed in depth the question of ‘hidden variables’ (including the first critique of von Neumann’s alleged impossibility proof) and provided an extensive analysis of Bohr’s notion of complementarity. Her work places her in the first rank among philosophers who wrote about modern physics in the first half of the last century.


Causality in quantum mechanics Complementarity Grete Henry-Hermann Heisenberg microscope Jakob Friedrich Fries Leonard Nelson

Editors and affiliations

  • Elise Crull
    • 1
  • Guido Bacciagaluppi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the HumanitiesUniversiteit UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Grete Hermann - Between Physics and Philosophy
  • Editors Elise Crull
    Guido Bacciagaluppi
  • Series Title Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
  • Series Abbreviated Title Stud. History, Philosophy (formerly: Australasian Stud....)
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-94-024-0968-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-024-1452-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-024-0970-3
  • Series ISSN 0929-6425
  • Series E-ISSN 2215-1958
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 281
  • Number of Illustrations 4 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Science
    Modern Philosophy
    Philosophy of Nature
    Political Philosophy
  • Buy this book on publisher's site