Born in 1838, Mach was a pioneer in the field of physics, having even made an impression on Einstein in his younger life who credited him with being the "Philosophical forerunner of relativity theory." His name is also associated with the speed of sound (as in traveling at Mach "insert-number-here") as well as the Doppler effect. Throughout his career, he was particularly interested in the biological and sensory relationship to physics and science, and naturally, this interest expanded to that of (...) the world of psychological perception and physiological psychology as well as philosophy. The Analysis of Sensations is about just that, the nature of the relationship of physics and the physical sciences to psychological phenomena of sense and perception. It's a fascinating read for anyone looking to expand their knowledge of how the two sides of the same coin meld harmoniously. (shrink)
Erkenntnis und Irrtum. Skizzen zur Psychologie der Forschung. Von E. MACH Emer. Professor an der Unlversltlt Wlen. LEIPZIG Verlag von Johann Ambrosius Barth 1905. INTRODUCTION XIII On a number of occasions Mach expressed the sentiment, especially in his correspondence, that America was the land of intellectual freedom and opportunity, the coming frontier for a new radical empiricism that would help to wash metaphysics out of philosophy. In 1901 he sponsored the German edition of Concepts and Theories of Modern Physics (1881) (...) 2 by J. B. Stallo, Cincinnati lawyer and philosopher. Mach warmly endorsed Stallo's book because his scientific aims so closely approximated his own, and because Stallo rejected the latent metaphysical elements and concealed ontological assumptions of the mechanical-atomistic inter pretation of the world. The second edition of Wiirmelehre was dedicated to Stallo in 1900. The fourth edition of Populiir-wissenschaftliche Vorlesungen (1910), containing seven new essays, was dedicated to Harvard Professor of physiology, philosophY, and psychology, William James. Mach had a strong intellectual affinity for James' pragmatism because, like himself, he recognized that James had come to radically empirical views from science. Both men took pure pre-conceptualized experience, from which the mental and physical predicates of experience are composed, to be neutral rather than real, unreal, objective or subjective. (shrink)
Pierre Duhem (1861-1916) gehörte zu jenen Wissenschaftlern, die im ausgehenden 19. Jahrhundert an der Umbildung der Physik im großen Stil arbeiteten und damit an der Vorbereitung der wissenschaftlichen Revolution beteiligt waren, die durch Planck und Einstein herbeigeführt wurde. Duhems klassisches Werk der modernen Wissenschaftstheorie hat auf die Entwicklung des logischen Empirismus nachhaltigen Einfluß ausgeübt. Das von Duhem beigezogene reichhaltige Material und seine konzisen Fallstudien stellen eine Fundgrube für jeden dar, der sich ernsthaft mit Wissenschaftstheorie beschäftigt.
xi should hope for "first and foremost" from any historical investigation, including his own, was that "it may not be too tedious. " II That hope is generally realized in Mach's historical writings, most of which are as lively and interesting now as they were when they appeared. Mach did not follow any existing model of historical or philosophical or scientific exposition, but went at things his own way combining the various approaches as needed to reach the goals he set (...) for himself. When he is at his best we get a sense of the Mach whom William James met on a visit to Prague, the Mach whose four hours of "unforgettable conversation" gave the forty year old, well traveled James the strongest "impression of pure intellectual genius" he had yet received, and whose "absolute simplicity of manner and winningness of smile" captivated him completely. 12 Consider, for example, the first few chapters of this book, Principles of the Theory of Heat, which Mach devotes to the notion of temperature, that most fundamental of all thermal concepts. He begins by trying to trace the path that leads from our sensations of hot and cold to a numerical temperature scale. (shrink)
Traduction de l’article de Ernst Mach, « Die Leitgedanken meiner naturwissenschaftlichen Erkenntnislehre und ihre Aufnahme durch die Zeitgenossen » [Les idées directrices de ma théorie scientifique de la connaissance et leur réception par mes contemporains], paru dans Scientia, 7 (1910), p. 225–240. Dans la première partie du texte, Mach expose sa théorie économico-biologique de la connaissance en en retraçant la genèse, des premières années de sa formation intellectuelle jusqu’à la rédaction de ses derniers ouvrages. Il indique également les points de (...) rapprochement possibles avec les doctrines de certains physiciens, mais aussi avec celles de philosophes dont il s’estime particulièrement proche. Dans la seconde partie du texte, Mach répond point par point à la polémique amorcée par Planck et donne ainsi une image plus complexe de sa pensée, loin du dogmatisme que l’on associe ordinairement au positivisme. (shrink)
It is undisputed that all scientific knowledge proceeds from sense perception. And the way in which sense perception is fostered by the graphic arts generally, and in particular by photography, likewise needs no further explanation here.
Historical studies convincingly demonstrate that the knowledge process [Erkenntnis] in natural science consists of the gradual adaptation of the thoughts to the facts. This adaptation happens through happy circumstances, which increasingly reveal the more general similarities and subtle differences of the facts. By this, the precision of the representation of the facts by the thoughts grows, so that the latter finally become an image of the former, which for certain intellectual purposes may completely substitute for them. The one who admits (...) this sober view of the meaning of natural science will assign to natural science teaching no other purpose, but to promote the aspired adaptation of thoughts with highest economy of work on shortcuts, by artificially bringing about those favorable circumstances avoiding the unfavorable historical coincidences and delays.One should in teaching first and foremost proceed psychologically; only secondarily and as much logically, as this is enabled through the psychological preparation so that it becomes a need. New concepts, theories, hypotheses, solutions of problems should only be introduced, when the need for this is felt in order to be able to master the topic. For each sentence, which appears during teaching, clarity and explicitness, but in general not indefeasibility from the point of view of the goal of teaching, should be required. (shrink)