About this blog
In Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice through the looking glass’, Alice says the following to her royal hostess, the White Queen:
Alice: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’ Queen: ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice, when I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’
This blog is an attempt to induce in the reader the fundamental yet not unpleasant sense of doubt that Alice must have felt during her conversation with the White Queen. Perhaps the reader will not start believing in impossible things, but I hope my writings will inspire further thought about the matters discussed. The blog is not intended as a collection of answers to more or less difficult questions. Often the questions presented have no clear answers – or they have several (depending on whom you ask). The blog is intended to show which philosophical questions I find especially fascinating and intriguing.
Another large portion of the reader’s attention is driven towards matters of a more personal nature. For reasons to be expounded on in the section ‘More About me’ I am disabled and ride a tricycle. In this blog I’d like to share with you my experiences surrounding the challenges my disability sometimes brings with it. I believe knowledge of these experiences could perhaps be of help, but mostly I believe that the stories on this blog are interesting in their own right.
My name is a paradox in the flesh (and since I am my name in the flesh, I am squarely a paradox in the flesh). My first name, Fedde, is of a heathen Germanic origin; whereas my last name, Benedictus, is as catholic as, well, 16 of the previous popes. In 2010 I finished my physics studies at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands). Right after that I started a pilot-study in archaeology. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of applying Social Network Analysis to the rise of Christianity in the early Roman Empire. It turned out that such application is not feasible (I’ll explain why in a future blog post). Instead of following up on the archaeological pilot-study, I took a deep breath and dived headfirst into the rabbit hole: I did a PhD in the history/philosophy of physics/mathematics. In a sense, starting this blog is a collateral of that PhD. The blog gave me the chance to write about topics not very closely related to my research – whether they were to end up in my PhD-thesis or not. I defended my PhD-thesis in 2017. Currently I teach at Amsterdam University College and I am the managing editor for a theoretical physics journal – Foundations of Physics.
More About me
I have a brain tumour. Attempts at surgical removal of this tumour have resulted in the spasticity of my left bodyhalf. Because of this I have severe difficulty walking; problems with my balance and impaired eye-sight. I am what they call ‘disabled’, or, euphemistically, ‘differently abled’. Not only am I quite good at sitting in a wheelchair, the strength in my right leg allows my tricycle to reach velocities well above 25 km/h (provided the weather conditions are favourable).
I am available for giving talks to academic and non-academic audiences. My specialties lie in the field of the philosophy of physics/mathematics (with an emphasis on kantianism and probability theory) but there are numerous other topics from within my research that I’d be willing to give a talk about. Here I list some of them:
- philosophy of quantum mechanics
- philosophy of spactime theories (relativity)
- general philosophy of science
- history of science
- history of philosophy
Ik ben beschikbaar voor het geven van lezingen. Mijn specialiteit ligt op het gebied van de filosofie van de wis- en natuurkunde (met een nadruk op de filosofie van Kant en de wiskunde van de kansrekening) maar er zijn vele andere onderwerpen die in mijn onderzoek aan bod zijn gekomen waarover ik een interessant verhaal kan houden.