I reject the widely held view that Duhem's 1906 book La Théorie physique is a statement of instrumentalistic conventionalism, motivated by the scientific crisis at the end of the nineteenth century. By considering Duhem's historical context I show that his epistemological views were already formed before the crisis occured; that he consistently supported general thermodynamics against the new atomism; and that he rejected the epistemological views of the latter's philosophical supporters. In particular I show that Duhem rejected Poincaré's account of (...) scientific language, Le Roy's view that laws are definitions, and the conventionalist's use of simplicity as the criterion of theory choice. Duhem regarded most theory choices as decidable on empirical grounds, but made historical context the main determining factor in scientific change. (shrink)
The explanation of the phenomenon of Brownian motion, given by Einstein in 1905 and based on the kinetic–molecular conception of matter, is considered one of the fundamental pillars supporting atomism in its victorious struggle against phenomenological physics in the early years of this century. Despite the importance of the subject, there exists no specific study on it of sufficient depth. Generally speaking, most histories of physics repeat the following scheme: the discovery made by Robert Brown in 1827 , of the (...) continuous movement of small particles suspended in a fluid did not arouse interest for a long time. Finally, at the close of the century, Gouy's research brought it to the attention of the physicists. Gouy was convinced that Brownian motion constituted a clear demonstration of the existence of molecules in continuous movement. Nevertheless, he did not work out any mathematized theory that could be subjected to quantitative confirmation. All nineteenth-century research remained at the qualitative level and yet it was able to clarify some general characteristics of the phenomenon: the completely irregular, unceasing, motion of the particles is not produced by external causes. It does not depend on the nature of the particles but only on their size. The first significant measurements, carried out by Felix Exner in 1900, appeared to deny the possibility of reconciling the kinetic theory with Brownian motion. The discovery of the ultra-microscope then allowed Zsigmondy to perceive the presence of movements, which were completely analogous to Brown's, in the particles of the colloids; these movements were rather smaller in size than those invesigated up to then. Thus Zsigmondy aroused interest in the phenomenon. Finally, in 1905, Einstein succeeded in stating the mathematical laws governing the movements of particles on the basis of the principles of the kinetic–molecular theory. The following year Smoluchowski arrived at conclusions which corresponded to Einstein's. These laws received a first, rough confirmation in the years immediately following by the work of The Svedberg, Seddig and, for some historians, Henri. Then in 1908 Jean Perrin gave it a definitive confirmation. (shrink)
One 1120 pages volume, with 4000 entries covering - Western philosophy: authors, schools, concepts and terminology; - religions, cultural anthropology, eastern philosophies; - Psychology and psychoanalysis; - linguistics and semiotics; - sociology and political theory.
The 'Enciclopedia Filosofica' is an encyclopaedia of philosophical topics promoted by the Centre for Philosophical Studies of Gallarate and published, in its third and last edition in 2006, by the Bompiani publishing house in Milan. The first edition of the 'Enciclopedia Filosofica' was promoted by the Centre for Philosophical Studies of Gallarate in the 1950s, seeing the light in 1957-58. A second edition, published by the Sansoni publishing house in Florence, was published in 1968-69 and reprinted in 1979. The third (...) and last edition, published by Bompiani in 2006, is intended to cover the whole of philosophical knowledge and related disciplines with over ten thousand entries edited by about a thousand academics, both Italian and non-Italian, and distributed in twelve volumes for a total of 12,496 pages. (shrink)
Although artificial intelligence techniques have been successfully applied to reproduce many rational features of human behaviour, a great barrier has been encountered in simulating human activities where intuition and emotion are involved. Art making and viewing are processes where typically rational and mechanical aspects interact with aesthetic and cognitive criteria. Can you make a computer understand and autonomously produce art?The main purpose of this paper is to present the most relevant approaches in the study of art perception and creation via (...) computer, focusing on the results achieved in artistic computer graphics. (shrink)