[SydPhil] HPS Research Seminar Series

Debbie Castle debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au
Mon Mar 11 09:28:51 AEDT 2013

Dear All
A reminder of tonight's HPS seminar

KRISTIAN CAMILLERI  (University of Melbourne)
The Physicist as Philosopher: Philosophical Ambitions in Cultural Context
Between 1880 and 1930, a new figure emerged on the European intellectual landscape - the philosopher-physicist. During this period many leading physicists, predominantly in the German-speaking world, cast themselves in the role of philosophers as they sought to come to grips with the transformation in the foundations of their discipline and even with wider questions. Einstein, Weyl, Schrödinger, and Bohr were among the more prominent physicists of this era who saw their work as physicists as deeply interconnected with philosophy. Recent historical scholarship has shed important light on the emergence of this intellectual tradition, which has its origins in the work of Helmholtz and Mach, but much of this has focused on the epistemological debates over the status of space, time and causality that took place in the 1920s and 30s. While this is certainly one important aspect of the kind of philosophical activity that physicists engaged in, it represents only part of a much larger story. In this paper, I argue that a more complete understanding of the philosopher-physicist requires that we pay attention not only to the new developments in physics and the rise of neo-Kantianism and logical positivism, but also to the formation of new societies, journals and institutional arrangements, the emergence of theoretical physics as a sub-discipline, and the wider cultural context in which physicists were forced to reflect on the value of science and its relationship to philosophy.
When: Monday 11th March 6pm to 8pm (approx)
Where: Science Meeting Room 450
Carslaw Building F07
Camperdown Campus

Debbie Castle | Administration Officer
Office Hours: 9am - 4.30pm:  Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday
Unit for History and Philosophy of Science
Faculty of Science
Rm No. 441 Carslaw Building, F07 | The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006
T +61 2 9351 4226
e debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au<mailto:debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au> | W http://sydney.edu.au/hps

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