"Wittgenstein and Physics"

Location: St Cross College

Date: Saturday 22 November 2014

Time: 10:30 - 17:00


This inaugural event will be a one-day conference on Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy and how this developed in light of the emerging concepts in the physics of the time, since the very nature of Wittgenstein's career provides a unique progression through various of the key developments in both physics and philosophy in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Topics will cover his early years in Boltzmann's Vienna, then his study in Planck's (and then Einstein's) Berlin, then his move to Rutherford's Manchester and eventually his arrival to join the cohort of great physicists in Cambridge in the 1930s and 1940s.

The programme for the day is below:

MORNING CHAIR: Professor Ray Monk (University of Southampton)

10.30 am WELCOME

10.40 am Dr Rupert Read (University of East Anglia) - How to Admire Science and Despise Scientism: Wittgenstein's Contribution to the Great Challenge of His Time and Ours [VIDEO]

11.30 am Susan Edwards-McKie (Darwin College, Cambridge) - Wittgenstein’s Solution to Einstein’s Problem: Calibration across Systems [VIDEO]

12.20 pm Professor Carlo Penco (University of Genoa) - The Influence of Einstein on Wittgenstein's Thought Experiments [VIDEO]

1.15 pm   LUNCH BREAK

AFTERNOON CHAIR: Dr Graham Farmelo (Churchill College, Cambridge)

2.15 pm Dr Chon Tejedor (University of Hertfordshire/Regent's Park College, Oxford) - Wittgenstein, Induction and the Principles of the Natural Sciences [VIDEO]

3.05 pm Dr Richard Staley (University of Cambridge) - Boltzmann, Mach and Wittgenstein's Vienna [VIDEO]


4.30 pm SUMMARY OF THE DAY'S PROCEEDINGS - Dr Rupert Read (University of East Anglia) [VIDEO]

There will be a conference dinner at St Cross in the evening following the end of the conference with an after-dinner talk by Professor Terry Eagleton (scriptwriter for the film "Wittgenstein" directed by Derek Jarman).