Sunday 20th June 2021

This talk was originally scheduled for March 2021 and postponed because of flooding.

The topic: Film, thought experiments and philosophical experiences

Why might a philosopher want to go to the cinema? As a form of relief from philosophy, if you’re the famously tortured philosopher Wittgenstein. But, apart from offering a distraction, films can be effective in dramatizing philosophical problems. How do I know I’m not in The Matrix? Some would argue that films can even be said to ‘do’ philosophy. In this talk I will discuss one influential view on this, that films do philosophy by working like the thought experiments that can be found in written philosophical texts.


Our speaker:

Dr Chris Falzon is a Visiting Fellow in the School of Humanities and Languages (Philosophy) at the University of New South Wales. He received his PhD in Philosophy from the Australian National University in 1990, where he taught until 2000. From 2001 to 2018 he taught Philosophy at the University of Newcastle. He is the author of a number of books, including Philosophy Goes to the Movies (2013) and Ethics Goes to the Movies (2018). He has published widely on twentieth-century French philosophy, and philosophy and film.

Sunday 18th July 2021

The topic: Time through the Ages

The philosophy of time and its flow (the "Arrow of Time") have been a focus of ongoing debate for millennia. This talk will discuss some of the physical phenomena that physicists and philosophers have used to improve our understanding of time and its Arrow. It will take a historical view surveying some of the key changes in our understanding of time as our knowledge of the Universe has improved over the centuries.

In the 1680's Isaac Newton set the foundations of Classical Mechanics based upon concepts of separate universal "absolute space" and "absolute time". Classical Mechanics described a "clockwork Universe" in which free will did not exist. In the 1870's Ludwig Boltzmann provided the first explanation for the direction of the Arrow of Time using the concept of increasing "Entropy". In the 1900's Einstein's Special Relativity replaced Classical Mechanic's separate universal space and time with a personal "space-time" for each of us. The concepts of Entropy and space-time will be explained and how they help with a philosophy of time. 

The talk will discuss how gravity (black holes) can appear to stop time and can provide for time travel, how Quantum Physics also provides an alternate Arrow of Time and how the concept of time in Quantum Field Theory results in particles moving backwards in time and different travellers observing different things in the same region of space. We will also see how the Cosmological "Arrow of Time" appears to require the Universe to be destined to become an ocean of black holes which then evaporate. Finally the talk will describe how our recent understanding of Chaos has shown philosophers' who believed Classical Mechanics gave us a clockwork Universe were, in fact, wrong. 


Our speaker: 

Dr Kerry Hinton received an Honours Bachelor of Engineering in 1978, an Honours Bachelor of Science in 1980 and Master of Science Degree in Mathematical Sciences in 1982, all from the University of Adelaide. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, U.K., in 1984. Dr. Hinton’s PhD thesis researched the concept of Quantum Field particles in space-times where General Relativistic effects are significant. 

In 1984 he joined Telstra Research Laboratories (TRL), Victoria, Australia, where he used quantum physics to analyse study the behaviour of lasers used in communications systems. He also developed mathematical models for optical communications systems and networks.

In 2006, Dr. Hinton joined the Centre for Ultra Broadband Information Networks (Cubin), located at the University of Melbourne, Australia. In 2011 he joined the Centre for Energy Efficient Telecommunications (also at the University of Melbourne) researching the energy efficiency of the Internet, communications technologies and networks. 

In 2013 Dr. Hinton took on the role of Director of the CEET and continued in that role until July 2016 when CEET closed. Dr. Hinton has authored over 130 papers all in peer reviewed journals and conferences. Dr. Hinton is now an Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne and continues to undertake research in that capacity.

Over the years Dr. Hinton has maintained an interest in the philosophical foundations of quantum physics, quantum field theory and the use of mathematics to model the physical world.

He and his wife Annette have been living at Harrington on the Mid North Coast since Nov 2016.

For all inquiries please contact philosophyforumpmq@outlook.com