2

I'm a theoretical physicist who largely works in areas relating to gravity. I also have some formal training in (philosophical) logic from taking some grad level classes. Other than that, though, I don't have an academic background in philosophy; everything else is self-study/recreational.

I wish to do some work, perhaps publishing some papers, in areas that crossover between physics and philosophy, e.g. on the nature of the cosmological constant problem or philosophical issues in General Relativity & quantum gravity. How would one currently working in physics go about making this move? Would it be best to try collaborate with other philosophers already working in these areas? If so, does anyone have advice how exactly to initiate these sorts of potential projects.

For reference, I'm based in the mathematics department at a UK university, but haven't had much interaction with the philosophy department excluding auditing courses. I've attended talks and conferences on these sorts of topics though. The point of view of any working philosophers would be most welcome, and what their position would be if contacted about the above from someone without a philosophy background.

3
  • Physicist Sean Carroll is interested in philosophy, is leaving CalTech next year to pursue his other interests. maybe drop him a line at CalTech and see what he has to say.
    – user4894
    Jun 19, 2021 at 19:41
  • John Earman is a philosopher who has done a lot of work related to general relativity (see for example his book Bangs, Crunches, Whimpers, and Shrieks: Singularities and Acausalities in Relativistic Spacetimes), though I don't know if he's done anything related to quantum gravity. You might also look into some of the names in the bibliography of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on quantum gravity.
    – Hypnosifl
    Jun 21, 2021 at 22:06
  • @Hypnosifl yes he's very well known, his work on GR is very good. Thanks for the link. I'm happily surprised that I'm aware of most of the names in the bibliography & their work, but the question was more a practical one, i.e. how to actually start up these collaborations. Jun 22, 2021 at 8:13

1 Answer 1

1

I'd say the main thing is find journals publishing on the topics you are interested in. And maybe contact some of those publishing them, to ask for feedback on what you put together. You are going to need to be up to speed on what's being published on these topics anyway.

The prerequisites for physics go deep, so I'd say it's unusual for a philosopher to turn to physics issues, rather than vice-versa. But, many, maybe most physicists, are very dismissive of philosophy. Hopefully that is changing, slowly.

Just network all you can, at conferences, contact authors & referees for advice. https://www.academia.edu/ may be useful.

1
  • 1
    It's quite obvious but I hadn't actually thought about/gotten around to contacting people currently publishing in relevant journals. Thanks for your answer! Jun 22, 2021 at 8:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.