For millennia, natural philosophers and scientists have been actively engaged in the reductionist quest to specify the fundamental building blocks of matter and discern the dynamics of physical reality. During the last one hundred years, physicists have intensified this search, probing the deep interior of atoms, nuclei and the entities of which these are composed. Their progress in this endeavour was highlighted by the announced discovery of the Higgs boson, a watershed moment for particle physics. All of this, however, has come at a cost: an increasingly abstract, inherently mathematical description of nature at its most basic level. This book is an assessment of this cost, and a critique of the modern orthodoxy that the ever-evolving models of particle physics are leading us towards a truer understanding of the real world. We propose that the ancient reductionist quest has been unintentionally side-lined by quasirealism, a philosophical approach to interpreting reductionist scientific models that finds reality hiding in places where it might not actually be.
This book will be of particular interest to academics (students and researchers), science enthusiasts, science journalists, and science philosophers.