Video of Chris Smeenk’s lecture, Einstein’s Path to a New Theory, has been posted on the Rotman Institute of Philosophy YouTube channel. In November 1915, Einstein published a new theory of gravity. This lecture recounts the “rough and winding road” Einstein took in developing his theory, which ended with a dramatic race to the finish. Einstein’s approach was philosophical, partially guided by conceptual puzzles regarding space and motion. We will consider recent critical assessments of Einstein’s philosophy, along with the more general question of how philosophy can contribute to physics.

“Einstein’s Path to a New Theory” was the first in a series of lectures given at London Public Library, presented in celebration of the centenary of general relativity. Video of the other lectures, from Stathis Psillos, Doreen Fraser, and Wayne Myrvold, will be posted online shortly.


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