About David

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Click here for Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Welcome to my website.  For the most part, my intention is to use this site as a mode of disseminating my thought, and as a way to generate discussion.  I am a philosopher trained in physics, cosmology, astronomy —more generally, the sciences, mostly hard, some soft—, mathematics, and history.  My interests are numerous and difficult to reduce to a few words, so let me say this: There is no area of philosophy or physics that I do not, at least, mildly enjoy, and find worth discussing on occasion. As far as professional interests, I am particularly interested in contemporary physics, Immanuel Kant’s association with and contributions to science (especially in his attempt to establish a metaphysics for Newton’s physics), Kuhn (and the Kantianism of Kuhn’s work), physics’ role in cognition (Hofstadter’s “careenium” is interesting), scientific reasoning as epistemological goings-on (in its pure, philosophical sense, and in the sense of methods in science, a rich and variegated field itself), logic (and applications to physics, as with topos), and ontology/metaphysics of space-time (contemporary work by thinkers like Grodon Belot and Lawrence Sklar, and historical positions of thinkers like Newton and Descartes).  I am also interested in the following topics: religion versus science, philosophy versus physics/science, the demarcation problem in the philosophy of science, pseudoscience, and the limits of science.  A holistic mind, I have recently become very interested in the philosophy of education, legal issues and the philosophy of law —the unifying theme between my primary studies and these burgeoning interests being pragmatism…I am enrapt by pragmatism and its power, as well as its radical split from the analytic philosophical tradition and other philosophies.

I am currently taking (probably) a year off from PhD work to focus on teaching (philosophy) and to collect my third Master’s degree, this one from Harvard University in Mathematics for Teaching, with the idea that I may split time between teaching philosophy, physics, and mathematics.  I hold an adjunct professorship at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, PA.  I was recently awarded an M.A. in HPS from Indiana University Bloomington’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science, the first ever department of its kind, first instituted by Ludwig Wittgenstein’s student, Norwood Russell Hanson in 1960.   As of now, I will likely finish my Ph.D. in HPS or move to an institution that offers a joint Ph.D. (philosophy)/J.D., once I complete studies at Harvard.

My areas of specialization: contemporary philosophy of physics (especially space, time, and spacetime at micro (QM) and macro (GR) scales), Kant, the role of physics in cognition and consciousness, and Kuhn, and side interests in the philosophy of mathematics, the history of mathematics and its influence upon physics, and Newton.  My interest in Kant is not just centered in his pure philosophy, but in his attempt to build a metaphysics for Newton’s Principia; so Newton is not quite central to my interests, but he is very, very important to my interest in Kant.  The ancillary areas of competency that I am working develop are: logic, scientific reasoning, history of mathematics, metaphysics, and epistemology.

The manner in which some thinkers think (the style, the aesthetic, whatever you want to call it) interests me.  I call these “guilty pleasures”: On the side, I enjoy studying primary and secondary writings pertaining to the reasoning and thought of four thinkers: Daniel Dennett, Slavoj Žižek, Ayn Rand, and Friedrich Nietzsche.  Aside from Dennett, the subject matters and the positions on issues of these individuals are not of much interest to me, insofar as anything lacks interest to me.  From time to time, I like to examine the way in which these authors argue, because I see them as very original in their approaches, reasoning styles, and methods of argument.  I actually refer to my interest, here, as the “aesthetics of reason” of the mentioned thinkers, because there is a unique style and flavor in each of their general manners of persuasion, approach, and reasoning.  Aside from these names, it would be hard for me to name philosophers and thinkers that I most enjoy, because I have such a revelry for thought, per se, it is a hellish experience for me to rank thinkers above one another.  I do, however, believe there is one clear-cut thinker and book, which are, hands-down, the greatest thinker and the most important book ever, respectively: Immanuel Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason.

To give my readers some idea about me, I am generally interested in intellectual pursuits, not just history and philosophy of science.  I complement my more professional studies, including general philosophy, the sciences, medicine, and the like, with history, social theory, economics —I can be considered a dilettante in just about most areas of intellectual reading, while there are some others I would like to be so considered, e.g., art history, music composition theory, musicology, poetry, naturalism.  My love of knowledge is severe, and I always welcome conversation.  I also study and play chess at the tournament level.  (Hardly knowing how the pieces moved in 2008, I rose from the level of a legitimate 1100-level player to a peak of 1608 in very nearly two years’ time.)  I also enjoy reading as much fiction as I can justify spending time on, and thoroughly enjoy having a circle of literati around.  In fact, my love for fiction (and the humanities, more generally, to be fair) spurred me on to do an M.A. in Humanities, when deciding how reasonable a transition from the sciences to the humanities would be.

My general interests include hiking, classical music —but lots of others, too, though not quite as much—, art, travelling, cultural experiences, conversazione, drinking coffee, biking, grastonomical experiences that entail either a high degree of gustatory and olfactory excitement or are particularly foreign yet pleasant, and playing chess.  I am, by no means, an aficionado of much, at all; but I do enjoy these things.  Additionally, I very much enjoy natural settings, because they bring ease to my soul, especially if there is running water.

As a word of caution, if you read any of my writings, please keep in mind that the point of view of a given post’s or paper’s thesis may or may not be my personal position. I am genuinely committed to the advancement of truth, no matter where it may take me, and much of the internal dialogue that drives my thought is very truly a dialogue, wherein every effort is taken to subvert and overcome the opposing view. This is sentiment is a natural extension of my epistemology, so if you are interested in this aspect of my work, you may find particular interest in my epistemology.  In addition to these considerations, I take up positions foreign to my own judgment because I enjoy the dynamic tension that can be built by introducing creative new insights into an argument, regardless of which side that novelty may support. Therefore, it is probably more reasonable to suppose that the theses of most of my works are products of where I could find a creative addition to a dialogue, not the position I take, itself.


6 responses to “About David

  1. Pingback: Not-So-Faster-Than-Light Particles and the GZK Cutoff: Philosophical Considerations of Wayward Travels | milliern

  2. Hi David thank you for following my blog! It’s not the heady stuff you and my friend Matt talk about. I try to make a few caustic (but friendly) remarks on his blog which he usually ignores lol. We met on a course in the UK once and I was impressed by him. I tend to be interested in the links of a psychological nature between Gaia and humans and in that respect I try to read Hegel but struggle! Matt can get very poetic though now and then and then hes superbly so. Your my first American follower (excluding a close friend) the blog is a new venture. I think I have a poem called “Lost” that has a quote from Matt up the top have a look. Thanks again Tony.

  3. Thanks for your comment. Matt’s poetic nature definitely doesn’t diminish his philosophical project. Language is structured for very mundane, functional purposes, and isn’t particularly well suited for philosophy. In the end, scientist, philosopher, and poet, alike, are simply trying to understand the world, and there is no genuine difference between the enterprises. Each pushes language to limits in various ways.

    It’s nice to have you around. Take care.

  4. Hi David
    You know me already from chess.com (torrubirubi). I am happy to see that we share some interests. I did some work on history of science. I am interested in underrated hypotheses (especially on evolutionary hypotheses; on of my main focus is on palaeoanthropological ideas), and I am also very interested in philosophy of science. You can check my dissertation, it is published online.
    The dissertation is rather large. You will probably be interested in the work on Benoit de Maillet; you will find it in the Appendix. De Maillet’s ideas are great to understand how wrong historians of science can be in their analyses of hypotheses proposed in the past. Let me know what did you think about this specific chapter, if you have the time to go through it (it perhaps also interesting for you because the connection between De Maillet and Descartes, as you will see).
    Something else could be interesting for you in this dissertation: I presented there the first prove that apes are able to swim and to dive (the fact that they usually are kept in zoos on islands since centuries did people believe that they are not able to learn to swim – but they are, exactly as we humans). The thing is that nobody saw as necessary to check this “fact”.

    My interested in chess came among others from analogies that I see between the process of creating hypotheses in science and the process of finding moves in chess.

    • Hi, Renato.

      That’s a coincidence that we are both interested in the history of science. We studied the Telliamed at IU Bloomington, so I have some familiarity. I’ll have a look at your dissertation.

      Take Care!

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