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Re: [xmca] Where is thinking
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- Subject: Re: [xmca] Where is thinking
- From: Ed Wall <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 22:29:19 -0400
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It has been quite awhile since I have taught a course in
special/general relativity (about 20 years); however, the tensor
calculus is, I thought then, a nice way to go about it and brings some
things to light that are important on the way to general relativity.
Tensor algebra is actually somewhat straightforward by the way, but
that is a matter of opinion. However, all of this has now become
perhaps a bit off topic (smile) and you are correct that special
relativity does not, at a certain level of understanding, require
manipulation of tensors.
On Apr 22, 2009, at 10:40 PM, Andy Blunden 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
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
that Einstein was avoiding metaphysics. That was the interpretation
logical positivists made, arguing that Einstein had exposed the fact
Newtonian physics had hidden metaphysical assumptions, but that,
operational definitions (Bridgman's term, but his ilustrations were
Einstein), Einstein had finally showed that science was a purely
if you prefer practical) activity, free from metaphysics. What a
has led us into!
I'm on Kuhn's side on this issue: every scientific paradigm has
assumptions embedded in its practices. So we don't have metaphysics
one hand and practice on the other. We have alternative kinds of
practice, each with their metaphysical assumptions. (The
Einsteinian physics include the assumption that space is something
be curved by a mass, for example.) The merits of each of the
what scientists spend their careers hotly debating. Even what
metaphysics is different from one paradigm to another.
But that's probably what you meant! :)
On 4/22/09 8:17 PM, "Andy Blunden" <email@example.com> 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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