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Re: [xmca] Where is thinking

Yes and No. I was using the word "metaphysics" in the way Pragmatists use it. Strictly speaking, of course, *all* thinking contains metaphysical assumptions. So in that you and Kuhn are right and I was wrong.

Perhaps I could stop using the word Metaphysics to mean the reification of thought forms into independently existing substances, and others stop using the word Ontology to refer to personal identity formation? :)

But I disagree with you about your Kantian conclusion that "science is a purely logical". It was this Kantian belief (along with Euclid) that was overthrown by Einstein. The Logical positivists were wrong of course, because they interpreted the subject in Kantian terms, as an individual person and their private psyche having direct access to eternal reason.

Interstingly Einstein disagreed with Bridgman. Einstein said that within the context of a consistent theory, not every entity in the theory has to be subject to an operational definition. Einstein right, Bridgman wrong. But I think Bridgman got the right idea nonetheless.

Where Hegel and you are wrong, I believe, is the presumption that we are at the end of history (neither of you claim that of course, but it is a valid implication in both cases.) If the nature of time and space can be deduced completely from a critique of the cultural practices at any given time, e.g. in 1807 before the Michaelson-Morley experiment was possible, then obviously the practices whose critique will allow the Special Theory of Relativity to be deduced "by logic" i.e., critique of practice, are impossible. If "science is a purely logical" then that presumes that no further significant developments in social practices (such as the Michelson-Morlet experiment) can be made.

BTW Ed, I think we have to treat the Special Theory and the General Theory differently. There is absolutely nothing simple about the general theory and its tensor calculus!


Martin Packer wrote:
Oh Andy, I'm going to have to disagree with you once again!

At least, I'm going to disagree if by your statement here you mean to say
that Einstein was avoiding metaphysics. That was the interpretation the
logical positivists made, arguing that Einstein had exposed the fact
Newtonian physics had hidden metaphysical assumptions, but that, with his
operational definitions (Bridgman's term, but his ilustrations were from
Einstein), Einstein had finally showed that science was a purely logical (or
if you prefer practical) activity, free from metaphysics. What a mess that
has led us into!

I'm on Kuhn's side on this issue: every scientific paradigm has metaphysical
assumptions embedded in its practices. So we don't have metaphysics on the
one hand and practice on the other. We have alternative kinds of scientific
practice, each with their metaphysical assumptions. (The metaphysics of
Einsteinian physics include the assumption that space is something that can
be curved by a mass, for example.) The merits of each of the alternatives is
what scientists spend their careers hotly debating. Even what *counts* as
metaphysics is different from one paradigm to another.

But that's probably what you meant!  :)


On 4/22/09 8:17 PM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

All Einstein did was, instead of regarding time and space as
metaphysical entities existing independently of human
practice, he closely examined the practice of measuring time
and distance. That's all.

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Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden:
From Erythrós Press and Media <http://www.erythrospress.com/>.

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