Picture of Unreason in Modern Physics: David Harriman Interview (MP3 download)

Unreason in Modern Physics: David Harriman Interview (MP3 download)

By Leonard Peikoff


From 1995 to 1999, Objectivist philosopher Leonard Peikoff hosted a radio talk show, “The Leonard Peikoff Show.” In this March 1999 episode, Peikoff interviews philosopher of science David Harriman on issues in modern physics and physics pedagogy.

Turning first to quantum mechanics and relativity, Harriman discusses some of the “strange ideas” that have come out of modern physics and urges listeners to use their common sense when evaluating popular books and TV shows on physics. He is critical of physicists, especially in the fields of relativity and quantum mechanics, who have given up trying to discover the nature of the physical world and instead only describe how physical phenomena appear to different observers.

Turning to physics in the classroom, Harriman argues that the current method of teaching not only makes physics boring but also fails to instruct students on the scientific method. Harriman outlines his own method of teaching, in which he attempts to recreate the process of discovery through teaching physics historically, emphasizing experimental and observational evidence to both motivate and instruct students. Harriman then discusses the hardships he has experienced in trying to start a private school using his methodology.

In response to Peikoff and questions from the radio audience, Harriman discusses topics such as:

  • Schrödinger’s cat
  • Einstein’s theory of relativity
  • Action at a distance
  • The big bang theory
  • Probability theory in quantum mechanics
  • Equations versus interpretation in physics
  • Kepler’s laws
  • Expansion of the universe
  • Lab work in the physics classroom
  • The scientific method

(MP3 download; 36 min., 26.23 MB)

The description of this product has not necessarily been reviewed or approved by Leonard Peikoff.

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