Articles #Philosophy of physics


Transformation, the Situated Self and Philosophy of Physics

Transformation, the Situated Self and Philosophy of Physics

Most people, when they hear about determinism, imagine the universe as a whole unfolding with physical necessity from initial conditions that were laid down shortly after the Big Bang. There’s this metaphorical origin story that has God specifying the laws and then laying down each of the particles of which the universe was made at a particular position with a particular momentum, thereby fixing everything that will ever happen over the whole history of the universe. If one is thinking in this way, then one’s own life will appear as part of this unfolding totality and it seems that its sense of restless contingency will seem an illusion. If we take physics on its own terms, however, we come away with a very different picture of what determinism entails and our own place in the causal fabric of the world. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Jenann T Ismael

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Leibniz, Time and Physics

Leibniz, Time and Physics

Leibniz reports how, when still a schoolboy of 15 about to go up to university, he was “seduced by the ease with which everything could be understood” through the mechanical philosophy of Descartes and Gassendi, and “gave himself over to the moderns”. But he was well-versed in the Scholastics, and thought they still had much to offer on the problem of individuation (what makes a thing the individual it is), the problem of the composition of the continuum, and the problem of evil (why there is evil in the world if it was created by an omniscient, omnipotent, free and omnibenevolent deity)—three problems that remained central concerns for him throughout his career.' Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Richard T.W. Arthur.

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