Eric’s research at the Center, an abstract: One can (for the most part) formulate a model of a classical system in either the Lagrangian or the Hamiltonian framework. Though it is often thought that those two formulations are equivalent in all important ways, this is not true: the underlying geometrical structures one uses in each case to express the equations of motion are not isomorphic. This raises the question whether one of the two is a more natural framework for the representation of classical systems. If one restricts oneself to the family of classical system whose possible interactions with the environment satisfy a weak condition (which all known classical systems in fact do), the answer is yes: I state and sketch the proof of a theorem, in the context of the intrinsic geometry of tangent bundles, to the effect that Lagrangian mechanics is the more fundamental representation of any such system. I conclude with a brief discussion of the result’s relevance for several problems of philosophical interest, including: the type and amount of knowledge of a physical system one must have in order to determine structures of intrinsic physical significance it manifests; the seeming inevitability of the presence of arbitrary elements in every model we can construct of a physical system; and the cogency of structural realist accounts of physical systems.
After leaving the Center, Eric moved on to a post-doc at The Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, at the London School of Economics. He followed that up with at post-doc at Rotman Center for Philosophy, University of Western Ontario and then Senior Research Fellow, Radio and Geoastronomy Division, at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
He has also been a Visiting Scholar at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, an Erasmus Fellow in the Department of Letters and Philosophy, University of Florence, and was awarded the Black Hole Initiative Research Prize in May 2019. Jointly with his current position in Munich, Eric is a Senior Research Fellow at the Black Hole Initiative of Harvard University.