Objectivist David Harriman Demolishes Skepticism and Mysticism
I’d like to share this great lecture by Dr. David Harriman on “The Crisis in Physics- and its Cause.”
Mr. Harriman has worked as a physicist for the U.S. Department of Defense and taught philosophy at California State University, San Bernardino. He is the editor of Journals of Ayn Rand. He has lectured on the scientific revolution, the concept of “space,” and the influence of Kantian philosophy on modern physics. He is currently writing a book, The Anti-Copernican Revolution and the Fall of Physics.
Here’s a preview of the lecture from Ayn Rand Institute:
For two centuries after Isaac Newton, the science of physics served as the leading example of the power of the human mind. Its basic content and method, and the life-saving technology that emerged from it, sent a message that resounded throughout the western world: man can live and prosper by the guidance of reason.
However, for the past century, theoretical physicists have been sending a different message. They have rejected causality in favor of chance, logic in favor of contradictions, and reality in favor of fantasy. The science of physics is now riddled with claims that are as absurd as those of any religious cult.
This lecture examines the historical development of such ideas and refutes the myth that they derive from experimental evidence. History shows that philosophers provided the irrational ideas, which physicists then incorporated into their theories. Philosophy is the inescapable foundation for physics, and the irrationalism of modern philosophy is the quicksand that engulfed physics in the 20th century. Mr. Harriman argues that our future depends upon saving physics—which can only be done by providing it with the solid ground of a rational philosophy.
You may watch the entire lecture HERE.
Harriman’s revolutionary book The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics is a groundbreaking solution to the problem of induction, based on Ayn Rand’s theory of concepts.
Here’s a preview of the book:
Inspired by and expanding on a series of lectures by Leonard Peikoff, David Harriman presents a fascinating answer to the problem of induction–that is, the epistemological question of how we know the truth of inductive generalizations.
Ayn Rand presented her revolutionary theory of concepts in her book Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. As Dr. Peikoff subsequently explored inductive reasoning, he sought out David Harriman, a physicist who has taught philosophy, for his expert knowledge of the scientific discovery process.
Here, Harriman presents the result of collaboration between scientist and philosopher. Beginning with a detailed discussion of the role of mathematics and experiment in validating generalizations in physics–looking closely at the reasoning of scientists such as Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Lavoisier, and Maxwell–Harriman skillfully identifies the method by which we discover laws of nature. Refuting the skepticism that is epidemic in contemporary philosophy of science, Harriman offers demonstrable evidence of the power of reason. He then argues that philosophy itself is an inductive science–the science that teaches the scientist how to be scientific.