64. Susskind’s view on philosophical Feynman

Ever since my students days, I have been studying various things written by Richard Feynman. His 3 volumes of lectures in physics has been one of the ‘go-to sources’ on basic physics. I have also enjoyed reading many of his lectures on advanced topics including nanotechnology and computing. Apart from all this, I have also been impressed by Feynman’s viewpoint on science, society and human living.

In the passing, I have read that he did not like philosophers, but I always felt that Feynman’s thoughts were deeply philosophical without the frills of sophisticated language.

Recently, I came across a wonderful conversation with Leonard Susskind, who was a close friend of Feynman and an accomplished physicist himself. In this video (around 40.18 min), Susskind indeed highlights the point that Feynman was indeed deeply philosophical in nature. He emphasizes that what Feynman did not like is the way philosophical discourse was conducted especially in the context of philosophy of science. This point kind of reinforced my impression of Feynman, and was heartening to see.

I do admire Feynman for making science interesting, but I am also very well aware of the fact that Feynman has been criticized for being sexist. Feynman was a scientific genius, but he had his flaws.

Anyway, the whole conversation with Susskind is educative. The best part is when he explains why he likes teaching (around 1.06 hr in the video), and it is worth a watch.

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