Book ID: CBB193624080

The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time (2016)

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On April 6, 1922, in Paris, Albert Einstein and Henri Bergson publicly debated the nature of time. Einstein considered Bergson's theory of time to be a soft, psychological notion, irreconcilable with the quantitative realities of physics. Bergson, who gained fame as a philosopher by arguing that time should not be understood exclusively through the lens of science, criticized Einstein's theory of time for being a metaphysics grafted on to science, one that ignored the intuitive aspects of time. The Physicist and the Philosopher tells the remarkable story of how this explosive debate transformed our understanding of time and drove a rift between science and the humanities that persists today. Jimena Canales introduces readers to the revolutionary ideas of Einstein and Bergson, describes how they dramatically collided in Paris, and traces how this clash of worldviews reverberated across the twentieth century. She shows how it provoked responses from figures such as Bertrand Russell and Martin Heidegger, and carried repercussions for American pragmatism, logical positivism, phenomenology, and quantum mechanics. Canales explains how the new technologies of the period--such as wristwatches, radio, and film--helped to shape people's conceptions of time and further polarized the public debate. She also discusses how Bergson and Einstein, toward the end of their lives, each reflected on his rival's legacy--Bergson during the Nazi occupation of Paris and Einstein in the context of the first hydrogen bomb explosion. The Physicist and the Philosopher reveals how scientific truth was placed on trial in a divided century marked by a new sense of time.

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Reviewed By

Essay Review Antonio A. P. Videira (2017) Neither Einstein nor Bergson, but Both!. Science and Education (pp. 425-428). unapi

Review Joseph D. Martin (2015) Review of "The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (pp. 138-143). unapi

Review Fynn Ole Engler (2017) Review of "The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time". Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte (pp. 402-403). unapi

Review Pete A. Y. Gunter; Aimee Slaughter (2015) Review of "The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time". Physics in Perspective (pp. 259-263). unapi

Review Marco Giovanelli (2017) Review of "The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 732-733). unapi

Review Tilman Sauer (2017) Review of "The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time". HOPOS (pp. 163-167). unapi

Review Dimitris Kilakos (2017) Review of "The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time". Almagest (pp. 129-132). unapi

Review Emily Herring (2017) Review of "The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time". Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology (pp. 86-87). unapi

Review Daniel Wiley (2016) Review of "The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time". Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology (pp. 406-408). unapi

Citation URI
http://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB193624080/

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Authors & Contributors
Yourgrau, Palle
Fedi, Laurent
Salanskis, Jean-Michel
Canales, Jimena
Kaiser, David
Ansell-Pearson, Keith
Journals
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Tarikh-e Elm (The Iranian Journal for the History of Science)
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Science and Education
Publishers
Springer
Oxford University Press
Routledge
Basic Books
Beck
ENS Editions
Concepts
Philosophy
Time
Physics
Time perception
Relativity
Philosophy of science
People
Bergson, Henri Louis
Einstein, Albert
Gödel, Kurt
Deleuze, Gilles
Renouvier, Charles Bernard
Cavaillès, Jean
Places
France
United States
Times
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
21st century
11th century
20th century, late
Institutions
School of Milan
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