As our scientific knowledge has grown in both depth and scope, it has supplanted both philosophy and religion in many parts of our culture as a source of world-view. But science confronts us with a vision of ourselves and our own place in the Cosmos that challenges our ideas about who we are. Many people have claimed that it tells us that free will is a pre-scientific fantasy and that the passage of time is an illusion. These claims are so directly at odds with our experience that they call into question whether the lessons of the science have been properly understood. They must be addressed if science is really to provide us with a world-view.
The reason that people make these claims is rooted in the fault-line between a view of the cosmos from outside of space and time and a view through the eyes of an agent whose actions are part of the causal fabric of the universe. This is a fault-line that runs through science as well, and expresses itself in a collection of controversies in contemporary cosmology.
My project focuses in on that fault-line. It looks at immanent and transcendent approaches to time, freedom, and physics. On the philosophical side, I want to bring new insight into how the two views- the immanent view and the transcendent view -are reconciled, and show how to recover the proper understanding of ourselves as agents in a universe of the kind that cosmology describes in transcendent terms. I will write three papers that will be presented as the Burman lectures in Sweden, and prepared in longer form for publication. On the scientific side, I will write two papers addressing scientific controversies associated with the relationship between immanent and transcendent approaches to physics. All of this work will lay the foundation for a book of my own that I hope will lay out a new way of seeing what science tells us about our place in the Cosmos, from both an immanent and transcendent perspective.