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New Faculty Lecture: Time and Visual Imagination: From Physics to Philosophy

November 2, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Poster for New Faculty Lecture featuring Jenann Ismael.

The Alexander Grass Humanities Institute would like to invite you to join us for our first New Faculty Lecture featuring Professor Jenann T. Ismael, Philosophy, JHU. Professor Ismael will deliver a talk entitled:

“Time and Visual Imagination: From Physics to Philosophy”

**NEW** Date: Thursday, November 2nd

Location: Scott-Bates Commons (Salon B) – 10 E. 33rd Street, Baltimore 21218

*All attendees should enter through the 33rd Street entrance (next to Insomnia Cookies)

Time: 6:00 PM (reception to follow)

Registration is required.

Register here

There are few scientific advances with the kind of revolutionary philosophical import of relativity.  Aside from its unparalleled beauty, the theory induced a profound change in our ideas of space and time, presenting them as different dimensions in a static four-dimensional manifold of events.

The reaction to the theory was immediate and divided. Some (e.g., Bergson) said that physics had lost touch with everything that is essential to time as we know it. Others (e.g., Einstein) said that physics had shown that the passage of time was an illusion.

I want to take a step back from the controversy to talk about the visual imagination because I think it is behind a misunderstanding about what relativity teaches us about the nature of time. I’ll start with a brief history of space-time theories, then I’ll spend the rest of the time talking about the images of time coming out of physics and the philosophical confusions to which they give rise.

The talk will be about the role of visualization and the power (both good or ill) of visual metaphors in thinking about time. No knowledge of physics will be supposed and there will be no equations or technical material.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Jenann T. Ismael is the William H. Miller III Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. She was previously a Philosophy Professor at Columbia University and an affiliate of the Zuckerman Institute. Jenann also taught at Stanford University (1996-98) and the University of Arizona (1998-2018). Her research interests are Philosophy of Physics, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Cognitive Science, and the Philosophy of Mind. 

Updated event: Attendees should note that this event will now take place on Thursday, Nov. 2nd.


November 2, 2023
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Scott-Bates Commons (Salon B)
10 E. 33rd Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
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