Education: Santa Clara University, B.A., 1990; University of Chicago, M.A., 1996, Ph.D., 2003.
Office—Department of Philosophy, California State University—Sacramento, Mendocino Hall, Rm. 3032, 6000 J. St., Sacramento, CA 95819-6033. E-mail—[email protected]
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA, teaching assistant in biology, 1987-88; Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix, AZ, teacher, 1990-93; Jesuit High School, Carmichael, CA, history teacher, 1994, 1997; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, faculty member, 1995-97, 2002-04; Loyola University, Chicago, faculty member, 2002-04; California State University, Sacramento, philosophy department faculty member, 2005—. Lumen Christi Institute, Chicago, program coordinator, 1998-2002, assistant director of program in science and religion, 2002-04; California State University, Sacramento, Center for Philosophy and the Natural Sciences, director, 2008—.
American Philosophical Association, American Theological Society, American Academy of Religion, Philosophy Honor Society, Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu, Phi Sigma Tau.
Biological Sciences Colloquium Fellow, Santa Clara University Biology Department, 1989-1990; University of Chicago Fellowship, 1996-99; Stephen and Ruth Durchlag Fellowship, 1997-98; Wabash Fellowship, Chicago Forum on Pedagogy and the Study of Religion, 2001-02. CTNS/Templeton Foundation philosophy of science research grant, 2007-08; Fetzer-Franklin Fund philosophy of science research grant, 2008-09.
(And producer) The 11th Day: Crete 1941 (film), 2003.
Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, Fordham University Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to books, including Physics and Whitehead: Process, Quantum, and Experience, edited by Timothy E. Eastman and Hank Keeton, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2003; Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, edited by Nicholas Rescher, Johanna Seibt, and Michel Weber, Ontos-Verlag; and World and Process. Contributor of articles to encyclopedias, including The Encyclopedia of Religion and War, edited by G. Palmer-Fernandez, Routledge (New York, NY), 2003; and The Encyclopedia of the Midwest, edited by Andrew R.L. Clayton and others, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2005. Contributor of book reviews to journals, including Journal of Religion and Process Studies.
Michael Epperson has degrees in English, philosophy, and metaphysics, with additional concentrations in the biological sciences. This educational experience has led him to an interest in the effects of scientific advances on philosophy and religion. As he explained in a faculty profile for the California State University—Sacramento Web site: "My focus is the exploration of the philosophical implications underlying recent innovations in contemporary science, particularly as regards novel interpretations of quantum mechanics, cosmology, and the study of complex adaptive systems. This exploration is, in part, a speculative metaphysical enterprise intended to contribute to the framework of a suitable bridge by which scientific, philosophical, and even theological concepts might not only be cross-joined, but mutually supported."
Unsurprisingly, Epperson's first book, Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, is about quantum physics and philosophy. Whitehead was a former mathematician turned philosopher who was profoundly affected by the advances in physics brought about by Albert Einstein. He consequently came up with a concept called "process philosophy" that reflects later advances in quantum mechanics (QM) in which absolute states are impossible to determine. For Whitehead, there was no such thing as an absolute truth, only "half-truths." This extends even to God, who is seen as a being subject to change and growth. The idea of process philosophy is captured in Whitehead's 1929 book, Process and Reality. Epperson's book discusses what he feels is the profound link between quantum mechanics and Whitehead's philosophy. As Abner Shimony, writing in the Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy, remarked: "Epperson enthusiastically develops one of the possible theses concerning the relation of QM to Whitehead's philosophy: that they mesh admirably."
"The first half of the book mainly summarizes aspects of quantum mechanics and gives brief accounts of opposing positions in current controversies," reported Joseph E. Earley, Sr., in the Review of Metaphysics. The critic added: "The second major part of the book considers a number of more or less technical aspects of Whitehead's mature system and explores their relationships to quantum theory" and "the last third of this book explores relationships between Whiteheadian philosophy and quantum mechanics in quite significant detail." Although Epperson states in his book that he aimed the text at readers who may or may not have a thorough understanding of quantum mechanics, Earley felt that "readers who have prior familiarity with one or both of these complex technical areas will find the present volume easier to read than will those who lack that advantage."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Review of Metaphysics, March, 2006, Joseph E. Earley, Sr., review of Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, p. 636.
SciTech Book News, December, 2004, review of Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, p. 48.
Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy, summer, 2005, Abner Shimony, review of Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead.
California State University Sacramento Web site,http://www.csus.edu/ (March 19, 2008), faculty profile of Michael Epperson.