Thanks to a post from a kindly friend in Poland, I have just learned about a youtube presentation entitled “What is Physics?” presented at a recent conference in Salzburg, Austria. The presenter, Bill Gaede, is a physicist currently living in Argentina. I believe he does an excellent job throwing light on many basic issues from a perspective that I believe is critical to understanding Epicurus’ approach.
The presentation was part of the “Second Rational Physics Conference” held in Salzburg Austria earlier this month. The group sponsoring the conference has a web page here.
In my view, the points that Mr. Gaede makes, especially in parts one and two of this video, are compelling and persuasive. His perspective in my view is very consistent with what I understand of Epicurus’ own approach to physics, especially in regard to suspicion and rejection of abstract mathematical theories that cannot be tied firmly back to reality as we observe it . This presentation (again, especially in the first two fifteen minute installments) does an excellent job of presenting these same issues. I recommend this lecture to every fan of Epicurus as an explanation of Epicurean skepticism toward any scientific theories that are detached from reality, especially when those theories are used to undermine our confidence in our senses.
(Note: I had better include here that Mr. Gaede’s background is colorful, to say the least. I have not had time to look into the implications of the wikipedia article, but regardless of that this lecture stands or falls on its own. Even if the presenter had just arrived from Mars, there is nothing here that depends on “authority” for validation. I hope to learn much more about this group and its participants and I will keep this blog updated with what I find.)