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F16B4 Physics and Philosophy

Prior to Descartes, philosophy was seamless. After Descartes, natural philosophy (science) became an independent discipline. Still, the two domains of inquiry -- science and philosophy -- are closely intertwined, so much so that the quantum physicist Werner Heisenberg wrote a classic treatise that provides the title of this course: Physics & Philosophy. Specifically, revolutions in science often have profound implications for human self-perceptions and for our perceptions and understanding of reality. Among these are the Copernican Revolution, Einstein's relativity theory, Big Bang cosmology, and quantum mechanics. This course will discuss (in lay-person's terms) the aforementioned theories, the scientists who developed them, and the impact of those theories on how we perceive ourselves and our place in the cosmos.

Instructor: Dave Pruett is a Professor Emeritus of applied mathematics at JMU, a former NASA researcher, and author of Reason and Wonder: A Copernican Revolution in Science and Spirit (HB 2012, PB 2015).

Suggested Reading: Helpful but not required, any of the following: Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy (Harper Torchbooks, 1958); Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics (1975); Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters (1979); Michael Talbot, Mysticism and the New Physics (1981); Ken Wilber, ed., Quantum Questions, (Shambhala, 1985); Walter Isaacson, Einstein (2007); Alan Lightman, Einstein's Dreams (Warner Books, 1994). The course will cover roughly Chapters 2, 5-8, and 11 of the instructor's book: Dave Pruett, Reason and Wonder (inexpensive paperback and ebook, 2015).


Payment Information: Payment is due at time of registration and must be made by credit card (AMEX, MasterCard, Visa and Discover.) There is a $5 credit card convenience fee assessed at the time of payment. You will be redirected to the payment web site after clicking submit. Please have your credit card ready. Once payment is successfully completed, you will receive a payment receipt and a registration confirmation by email.

Withdrawal/Refund Policy: You may cancel your registration up to one week before the class start date, and receive a full refund (minus any credit card processing fees.) After that date, no refunds will be given.

For registration questions, please contact Lifelong Learning Institute at or 540/568.2923.

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