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Metaphysics in CERN

CERN is the world-leading laboratory for high energy physics; there are a lot of physical experiments simultaneously conducted here. However, physics does not answer questions about its own position in the entire human culture; those questions belong to metaphysics and require a completely different language. This is why physics (and wider - natural science) cannot be a self-sufficient space of cognition, it is fundamentally incomplete and requires philosophical reflection. I decided to see if any metaphysical interest in CERN can be excited. At the moment, the answer is not known to me. Scientific competition here is extremely pressing, so the scientists and engineers have to have a really great interest in philosophy, in my modest representation, to sacrifice even a bit of their time for thinking about the unnecessary issues. From another side, I definitely see here some people with alive interest to big questions of philosophy. So, I decided to initialize a metaphysical experiment in CERN. The questions under study are: "Is it possible to convey regular metaphysical discussions in CERN?", "How large could be a group of the interested people?", "What sort of problems will have the highest response?", etc. Following this idea, I sent an invitation letter to ~ 80 colleagues, suggesting to meet Friday 5:30 at the CERN restaurant, to hear my 30 min talk and then to discuss it. I entitled my talk as "Spiritual dimensions of scientific cognition". There were 8 attendants there, and I also received the same amount of encouraging emails from people who express their strong wish to be with us, but were out of CERN that time. Thus, at that point I am registering 20% of real interest! I think, this is a huge number, and I will do my best to keep this interest alive, and also attract CERN-wide audience. My coffee-table talk is available here.  At the moment, I see 2 possible formats for the conversations. One is these informal but still serious coffee-table discussions. Another relates to the CERN discussion club, ConCERNed, which is barely alive now, and where philosophical problems were never discussed before. The president of ConCERNed, Michael Dittmar, welcomed my idea to enter the club space; I appreciate that, and will use. My talk there is scheduled for September 12. Due to the vacation time and coming big accelerator conference, the coffee-table meetings will continue after my ConCERNed talk.




Алексей Буров

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