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Physics at the edge... of philosophy: Lecture 5 video

Finally, the first principles from Vatche Sahakian on Vimeo.

In the 16th century, Kepler and Brahe founded a field that was to become one of the most important disciplines of our times: Physics as we know it today, the mother of all the Sciences. Since then we learned a great deal about the world around us. Still, physics amounts to only a handful of beautiful and profound ideas - in Einstein’s words, “God’s thoughts”... We will present a bird’s eye view of physics - with the benefit of hindsight - and talk about a few key principles upon which our modern understanding of the physical world is based.

But what are these ideas or divine thoughts? Are they the same or of the same kind as the first principles discussed by Aristotle? This is where philosophy will step in to clarify—and, of course, to further complicate—the role and the place of physics. We will call upon both Plato and Aristotle to discuss the most fundamental principles of knowledge, in the sense in which knowledge has been conceived in the West. But we will also talk about mythos, or thinking based on ambiguity that challenges the so-called rational, or scientific discourse.

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