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Mr Nicholas Maxwell
  • Emeritus Reader in History and Philosophy of Science
  • Dept of Science & Technology Studies
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences
Research Summary

All my research work, and much of my teaching, since 1966, have been concerned, in one way or another, with two fundamental, inter-related problems:

Problem I:  How can human life exist  -  conscious, free, meaningful and of value  -  if the world really is more or less as modern physical science tells us it is?

Problem II:  What ought to be the overall aims and methods of science, and of academic inquiry more generally, granted that the basic task is to help humanity achieve what is of value  -  a more civilized world  -  by cooperatively rational means (it being assumed that knowledge and understanding are of value in themselves and form a part of civilized life)?

In connection with Problem II, I have devoted much of my working life to developing and attempting to communicate the argument that there is an urgent need to bring about a revolution in science, and in academic inquiry more generally, so that the fundamental aim becomes to seek and promote wisdom – wisdom being the capacity to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others, wisdom thus including knowledge, technological know-how and understanding, but much else besides.

Teaching Summary
For nearly thirty years, from 1966 to 1994 (the year of my early retirement), I taught undergraduate and graduate courses on themes related to my research interests.  During this time I also supervised a number of PhD students.
01-OCT-1994 Emeritus Reader in Philosophy of Science Science and Technology Studies University College London, United Kingdom
OCT-1993 – OCT-1994 Reader in Philosophy of Science Science and Technology Studies UCL, United Kingdom
1970 – 1993 Lecturer History and Philosopy of Science UCL, United Kingdom
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