The Physicist and the Philosopher

Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time

Author: Jimena Canales

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691173176

Category: Science

Page: 488

View: 5865


On April 6, 1922, in Paris, Albert Einstein and Henri Bergson publicly debated the nature of time. Einstein considered Bergson's theory of time to be a soft, psychological notion, irreconcilable with the quantitative realities of physics. Bergson, who gained fame as a philosopher by arguing that time should not be understood exclusively through the lens of science, criticized Einstein's theory of time for being a metaphysics grafted on to science, one that ignored the intuitive aspects of time. The Physicist and the Philosopher tells the remarkable story of how this explosive debate transformed our understanding of time and drove a rift between science and the humanities that persists today. Jimena Canales introduces readers to the revolutionary ideas of Einstein and Bergson, describes how they dramatically collided in Paris, and traces how this clash of worldviews reverberated across the twentieth century. She shows how it provoked responses from figures such as Bertrand Russell and Martin Heidegger, and carried repercussions for American pragmatism, logical positivism, phenomenology, and quantum mechanics. Canales explains how the new technologies of the period—such as wristwatches, radio, and film—helped to shape people’s conceptions of time and further polarized the public debate. She also discusses how Bergson and Einstein, toward the end of their lives, each reflected on his rival’s legacy—Bergson during the Nazi occupation of Paris and Einstein in the context of the first hydrogen bomb explosion. The Physicist and the Philosopher is a magisterial and revealing account that shows how scientific truth was placed on trial in a divided century marked by a new sense of time.

Bergson and History

Transforming the Modern Regime of Historicity

Author: Leon ter Schure

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 1438476256

Category: Philosophy

Page: 280

View: 4070


Explores the philosophy of history of Henri Bergson and shows its relevance to contemporary historical thought. Henri Bergson is famous for his explorations of time as duration, yet he rarely referred to history in his writings. Simultaneously, historians and philosophers of history have generally disregarded Bergson’s ideas about the nature of time. Modernity has brought change at an ever-accelerating rate, and one of the results of this has been a tendency toward presentism. Only the here and now matters, as past and future have been absorbed by the “omnipresent present” of the digital age. In highlighting the role of history in the work of Bergson, Bergson and History shows how his philosophy of life allows us to revise the modern conception of history. Bergson’s philosophy situates history within a broader framework of life as a creative becoming, allowing us to rethink important topics in the study of history, such as historical time, the survival of the past, and historical progress. “Bergson and History is groundbreaking and merits a wide readership in the humanities and social sciences. It is full of fresh and original insights. Ter Schure has read widely and deeply, and there is a productive engagement throughout the book with contemporary resources.” — Keith Ansell-Pearson, author of Bergson: Thinking Beyond the Human Condition

Teachers and Teaching

Time and the Creative Tension

Author: Kaustuv Roy

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3030246701

Category: Education

Page: 211

View: 4660


Against the backdrop of a historical debate between science and philosophy with regard to the nature of time, this book argues that our commonsense understanding of time is inadequate—especially for education. Teachers’ work is heavily imbued with the effects of clock time, and yet there is another time—duration—which remains out of sight precisely because our sights are filled with temporal things and projections of futurality. The book rests primarily on Henri Bergson’s work on time, and works toward intuition as phenomenological method for the discovery of a creative time in experience.

A Theory of Everything (That Matters)

A Short Guide to Einstein, Relativity and the Future of Faith

Author: Alister McGrath

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 1529377978

Category: Religion

Page: 192

View: 5309


On 29th May 1919, British astronomers tested Einstein's theory of relativity by measuring the path of the stars travelling near the sun during an eclipse. On 7th November 1919, the results of that experiment were announced in London, proving Einstein's theory of relativity. A Theory of Everything (that Matters) has been written in celebration of this 100th anniversary. With the confirmation of Einstein's theories at the beginning of the twentieth century, our understanding of the universe became much more complex. What does this mean for religious belief, and specifically Christianity? Does it mean, as so many people assume, the death of God? In A Theory of Everything (that Matters) Alister McGrath - Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University - explores these questions, giving an overview of Einstein's thought and scientific theories, including his nuanced thinking on the difference between the scientific enterprise and beliefs outside its realm. This groundbreaking book is for anyone intrigued by Einstein as one of the twentieth century's most iconic figures, who wants to know what his theories mean for religion, and who is interested in the conversation between science and religions more broadly. 'An excellent study of Einstein's theories in relation to his beliefs about God' - starred review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY