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Re: [xmca] Where is thinking

Just a quick fix - I was saying that the Vienna Circle thought that Einstein
had showed that science is purely logical. I completely agree with you that
it is not. (And so the immanent collapse of Ford and AIG may seem like the
end of history, it's actually not! (There was a book a few years back
arguing that science had come to its end. Nonsense of course. (But I'm
starting to ramble (it's late...))))


On 4/22/09 9:40 PM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> 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!
> Andy
> 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!  :)
>> Martin
>> 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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