About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Einstein, the philosopher

So, I've been asked to give a lecture (this Tuesday, 9/27 at 7pm) on the Stony Brook University campus on the topic of Einstein and philosophy. The occasion is the 100th anniversary of the famous E=mc^2 equation, and there will be other speakers talking about the actual equation, as well as about Einstein and religion.

Anyway, my complete talk (slides and notes) is available here. What was most interesting in doing research for the talk was the realization of how much Einstein thought that philosophy is important to scientists and to the general public. He went so far as to state (1944) that "[the] independence created by philosophical insight is the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker of truth." Ouch! I wish more of my science colleagues (not to mention the public at large) were sympathetic to this message by a true Renaissance man.

1 comment:

  1. Hi; I believe Einstein was a mixed bag as a "Scientist" and human.... His achievements were greatly exagerated by his journalistic backers, and he was perhaps unduly maligned by his scientific detractors. One should mention, however, that much of this could have been avoided if he had credited his sources and help a little more assiduously, as in the case of his wife, and of Poincaire and DePetto.. Some of his shortcomings are part of the human equation, and to pretend that they don't exist is to do diservice to a very creative man, and even a nearly great thinker,,


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