Teaser: More Thoughts on Bergson and Einstein, Research Time, 21/09/2013

Just a short post on the weekend, because no one really reads on the weekends. So I thought something reasonably inconsequential to post, but that would still be interesting, is a teaser. An idea that I came across in research, and will probably mull over for a more detailed post later. It lets you see more of the process of research, because when we briefly come across an idea, a writer or philosopher doesn't automatically see its direct and detailed relevance. You have a suspicion that it can serve a more important purpose later on, but for now it's just a thought. Something that makes you go, "Hmm."

I came across an article among my collection of pdfs about the fight between Henri Bergson and Albert Einstein. The typical account of their confrontation, as anecdotally related to me and repeated here earlier this week, is that they disagreed over the notion of simultaneity and the right of a philosopher to interpret a scientific idea.

But there was more to their conflict than this, which was a fascinating thing to discover in this article. Einstein thought Bergson was a perfectly fine person, and while they disagreed, he never had any animosity to him or his work. Until they both got involved in the International Commission for Intellectual Cooperation, the League of Nations body whose closest analogue today is UNESCO.

Another example of the intertwining and confusion of a philosophical argument, often taken to be matters of pure thought, with social and political reality. More soon.

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