This summer from 30 July to 3 August Don Howard, Professor at Notre Dame, will be delivering lectures at a seminar on Einstein’s Philosophy of Science. The seminar is in Germany at the Universität Tübingen.
Don Howard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame (USA) and Director and director of the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values. Co-editor of the Einstein-Studies and assistant editor on The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, Howard has made seminal contributions to the history of physics and an to the history of philosophy of science. The success of his lectures series “Albert Einstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian” testifies his ability to brilliantly reconcile didactic accessibility and scientific rigor.
The application deadline is next week, 20 June 2012. I’m very interested in this seminar and just submitted my application and I thought I’d share it with as many people that may be interested.
Concerning the lectures:
The influence of Einstein’s work as a physicist has been so wide and deep that it would be probably much easier to consider the developments on 20th century physics that were not influenced by it than vice versa. Beyond his monumental constructions, the special and the general theory of relativity, with the invention of modern scientific cosmology, Einstein can be considered as one of the fathers of quantum theory for his hypothesis of light quanta and for developing a new form of quantum statistics on account of their indistinguishability. As his biographer Abraham Pais aptly remarked, Einstein should be regarded as at least the “grandfather” of wave mechanics, by early recognizing the value of Louis de Broglie’s wave theory of particles in motion. Even if Einstein is usually considered to have lost the battle against quantum mechanics, his arguments against the completeness of the theory (such as the EPR argument) engendered an uninterrupted discussion up to this day.
The fame of Einstein as a philosopher of science is much more shaky. Doubts have been raised about the very possibility of finding a thread in the mass of essays and reviews, private correspondence and handwritten notes – in which Einstein’s epistemological reflections are dispersed. Was Einstein realist or an idealist? an empiricist or a conventionalist? a positivist or Kantian? or was he simply an “epistemological opportunist”?
In five lectures Don Howard will analyse some classical themes of Einstein’s epistemology: the principle theories/constructive theories distinction, the epistemological holism, the belief in simplicity as a guide to truth, the dialectic between realism, locality and separability in quantum mechanics.