Interview with Jim Schofield

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I come from a very working class background. My early years were spent in a slum in wartime Manchester, UK. We had nothing. Thanks to the Labour government of 1945 our family was given a new council house with a garden, we thought we'd found paradise, and I learned about socialism for the first time. I went to Grammar School and eventually on to University to study physics. But these origins have certainly affected my politics and worldview - how could they not?
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Christopher Caudwell's The Crisis in Physics hits the nail firmly on the head. This marxist-critique of the situation in the 1930s in Sub Atomic Physics was a significant step in the right direction, philosophically, and were it not for Caudwell's death fighting Franco in the Spanish Civil War, there is no doubt he would have taken this subject a great deal further. As it is, no further significant contributions have been forthcoming from surviving "marxists", so 73 years after his book was first published, I'm trying to do it!

Man Makes Himself by V. Gordon Childe is a fantastic piece of prehistorical archaeology, and the book has had a lasting effect on my thinking. How can we understand where we are today, without examining where we came from? Who we are and who we were? Historical context is key to understanding anything.

David Bohm's Chance and Causality in Modern Physics may not demolish the rampant idealism we now see in the field, but it shows that alternative explanations and interpretations of what we see at the Quantum level are both possible and necessary - this is just a 'theory' after all, it is surprising how little we really know.

Zeno's Paradoxes by Wesley Salmon is one of the best books on mathematics I've ever read, as it deals with it philosophically - a rare thing.

Das Kapital by Karl Marx is a vital work, to my research, and to understanding generally, because it shows how dialectical materialism works as a methodology for understanding the bigger picture - this is certainly his masterpiece.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Real Philosophy of Science attempts to present a general overview of my research over the past couple of decades - my holist approach to understanding reality, my attack on the idealism of Modern Physics and my attempt to develop dialectical materialism beyond Marxism into a new way of doing Science.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm an artist as well as a scientist, and this is very important to my writing, as often I think one discipline has something interesting to say about the other - in the spirit of holism! My son is a photographer and designer, and we work together on the art direction for SHAPE Journal. The covers are often old constructivist paintings or sculptures, as they seem to pose philosophical questions to me.
Describe your desk
Many piles of paper I can no longer read. Due to macular degeneration my eyesight is now extremely poor. I'm not sure how I'm still managing to write to be honest. I have a 50 inch screen which I press my nose against. The text is yellow on a black background. I do much of what I do using spatial memory - muscle memory. My work needs a lot of editing before it is ready to publish!
When did you first start writing?
I have been writing my whole life, and I had several articles published in prestigious journals in the 1980s. But it wasn't until I retired that I started to take my writing much more seriously, and it became my primary research method - thinking and writing are extremely useful tools if used correctly!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to publish all of my work, complete and unabridged. This is why I set up my own journal in 2009. I didn't want publishers or even peers telling me what was and wasn't suitable - it was all important - even the stuff that was wrong! This is a different approach to knowledge dissemination than we see in the academy or in book publishing. In order to equip people to understand for themselves what you're doing you have to give them everything, not just the highlights, or the bits that fit with the consensus, that are deemed suitable. The problem with scientific consensus, is that the consensus is always wrong!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It is too early to tell whether Smashwords has helped me. I'm keen to reach a new and bigger audience, but this can be difficult as an intellectual 'outsider', and someone who's work can seem obscure. The books I'm publishing here are deliberately more general, and try to explain things in layman terms. I save the more cutting edge research for my journal, as the average reader would struggle to comprehend it without the additional context these books provide. I do believe anyone can access this work if they want to - the more the merrier!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The biggest joy and surprise is that writing is investigative - you can use writing to find out new things.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I was a sculptor for many decades, but unfortunately my poor eyesight no longer allows me to work. I was always a hammer and chisel artist, and I think I'd lose a finger if I tried that now! I love programming, gardening and reading, but these pastimes too are increasingly difficult. I spend a lot of time watching science videos on YouTube, and even more time disagreeing with them.
What is your writing process?
I'm best in the morning. I get up very early each day and have a think, then begin working at my computer. I prefer writing by hand, but I can no longer read what I've read! I write a lot of short polemical essays these days, which are more suited to blogging than books, so I had to change my approach completely for The Real Philosophy of Science.
Published 2018-12-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Real Philosophy of Science
You set the price! Words: 38,290. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Philosophy of Science, Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Physics / Quantum Theory
The Real Philosophy of Science by Jim Schofield presents a damning indictment of contemporary physics and explores the historical reasons for science's flawed development. As both a philosopher and a theoretical physicist, Schofield offers unique insight into both these fields, sets out an alternative approach, and calls for a new intellectual revolution.