Ed spent most of his undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering wondering how scientists came to the conclusion that such things as mass,energy, force, and momentum – concepts unquestioningly employed every day by all engineering students – “exist” (in some sense of the word) in the world. His curiosity led him to pursue an undergraduate honours degree in philosophy at McGill University during which he developed an interest in the18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s account of the connection between natural science and metaphysics. Still in search of answers, Ed is currently researching for his MA the origins and development of the concept of mass in 17th and 18th century thinkers such as Christiaan Huygens and Sir Isaac Newton. He will be starting his PhD at Western this coming fall.
My current research focuses on the origins and evolution of the concept of mass throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The scientific and philosophical developments that characterize the shift between the Cartesian mathematical account of matter and Newton’s notion of quantity of matter, as well as the doxastic attitudes these philosophers took towards these measures, are instructive. In conjunction, they make quite vivid the importance of properly understanding the connections between our scientific and theoretical concepts and the more intuitive, widespread concepts they are often (and uncritically) thought of as representing. My overall mission is thus to use these critical examples from the history of physics and science to not only deepen our understanding of the robustness of our scientific concepts, but, more importantly, to promote a more nuanced understanding of scientific concepts among the public.
Fall 2021, Einstein for Everyone, Western University. (TA and grader)
Winter 2022, Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge, Western University. (TA and grader)