Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Philosophical Foundations of Law and Finance - 36th Weekly Meeting

Dear all

Follows a synopsis for the sumptuously philosophical 36th session of the Philosophical Foundations of Law and Finance, which will take place on Friday 6 November 2009 in room 5.16, 309 Regent Street (University of Westminster).

The time will be 6.00-8.00pm (or sort of….)

There will be some more reading from Plato’s Timaeus and the subject of scientific explanation will be re-introduced with Poincare's famous 1898 essay, "La Mesure du Temps" (The Measure of Time). Basically, Poincare's argument anticipated Einstein's special relativity by at least seven years. The link from physics to legal theory is through what the Buddhist Nagarjuna (200 AD) called conventionalism and what modern physicists call "gauge theory". Both are symmetry arguments, one in high-powered physics and the other in sophisticated legal reasoning.

As a pre-sessional object of contemplation consider the observed fact that: there is no objective sense in which we can say how long an hour is yesterday and today without further conventional concessions. We have no way to measure time objectively except through arbitrary convention. Poincare at the time of his essay wanted the world to use a 240 degree circle.

If the measure of time is merely conventional, does this tell us anything about the conventionality (read here, "invariant relativity") of law? And how the heck does the ancient Timaeus have anything to do with this?

Joe is also keen to re-present with some corrections the 4-fold (2 x 2 matrix) De Rerum Natura argument of John Scotus Erigena (800 AD).

Finally, some YouTube reference: on YouTube you can find an excellent (elegantly eloquent) debate between Father Copleston, the great historian of philosophy and true believer, and Bertrand Russell, the agnostic. Recommended for fans of the ontological argument for the existence of God.

At 8.00pm (…) the class will move to Vapiano (19-21 Great Portland Street, W1W 8QB).


Joe and Laura

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