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Peter Lipton

Peter Lipton teaches the history and philosophy of science at Cambridge, and is a fellow of King’s College.

Thomas Kuhn

Peter Lipton, 19 July 2001

At a New York cocktail party shortly after the war, a young and insecure physics postgraduate was heard to blurt out to a woman he had met there: ‘I just want to know what Truth is!’ This was Thomas Kuhn and what he meant was that specific truths such as those of physics mattered less to him than acquiring metaphysical knowledge of the nature of truth. Soon afterwards, he gave up...

How nature works

Peter Lipton, 3 September 1998

Taken alone, the basic laws of physics suggest a bleak universe, a thin, cold soup of atoms in motion. From this point of view, the complex dynamic structures we actually find, animate and inanimate, seem a miracle, so prompting the famous argument for the existence of God, that such manifest design requires a Designer. The argument from design has serious weaknesses, but one may still wonder what to put in its place. Per Bak, a physicist at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, thinks he has the answer: self-organised criticality.

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