At this meetup, we'll listen to and then discuss the first half of lecture 2 (about 30 minutes) of this five-lecture course. We can't reserve the large room, but in the past we've been able to use it anyway. If we can get the room, we'll listen to there. If not, we can sit anywhere and discuss it, so try to listen to it (up through "Johann Wilhelm Ritter") on your own beforehand.
The course is available as an MP3 for $4.49 from:
1. Newton to Kant:
Newton's physics and his philosophic legacy. The attack on the rational foundations of physics by 18th century philosophy. Hume's rejection of entities, identity and causality. Kant's "anti-Copernican" revolution. The primacy of consciousness. Kant's view of space and time.
2. Kant's Physics & the Early 19th Century:
Kant deduces the principles of physics from his "categories." The primacy of action over entities. The acausal idea of "action-at-a-distance." Kant's influence on English physics. Faraday's view of force and matter.
3. The Death of Classical Physics:
The transition to Kantian empiricism. Physics as the "mathematical description of appearances." Mach's positivism and its later influence. The rejection of atoms—after their existence was proven. Boltzman's tragic fight for classical physics.
4. Relativity: The Physics of Appearances
Einstein's subjectivism and rationalism. The rejection of induction. The constant speed of light and two possible approaches toward an objective theory. Einstein's "length contraction," "time dilation" and "relativistic mass." "The curvature of space."
5. Quantum Theory: The Physics of Nihilism
Kantian nihilism takes over in Germany. Physicists are "emancipated" from the constraints of identity, causality and logic. The development of quantum theory. Schrodinger's cat paradox. Prospects for the future.
Detailed course outline
"Mr. Harriman's understanding of the integration of physics and philosophy is unique and his presentation is clear, logical, well-illustrated and even emotionally powerful … It is a brilliant case study of the role of philosophy in perverting a science across centuries—and at the same time a revolutionary indication of how to untangle and reconstruct this science within a rational (Objectivist) framework." Dr. Leonard Peikoff