What is Albert Einstein’s place in the history of twentieth-century philosophy of science? Were one to consult the histories produced at mid-century from within the Vienna Circle and allied movements (e.g., von Mises 1938, 1939, Kraft 1950, Reichenbach 1951), then one would find, for the most part, two points of emphasis. First, Einstein was rightly remembered as the developer of the special and general theories of relativity, theories which, through their challenge to both scientific and philosophical orthodoxy made vivid the (...) need for a new kind of empiricism (Schlick 1921) whereby one could defend the empirical integrity of the theory of relativity against challenges 1 coming mainly from the defenders of Kant. Second, the special and general theories of relativity were wrongly cited as straightforwardly validating central tenets of the logical empiricist program, such as verificationism, and Einstein was wrongly represented as having, himself, explicitly endorsed those same philosophical principles. As we now know, logical empiricism was not the monolithic philosophical movement it was once taken to have been. Those associated with the movement disagreed deeply about fundamental issues concerning the structure and interpretation of scientific theories, as in the protocol sentence debate, and about the overall aims of the movement, as in the debate between the left and right wings 2 of the Vienna Circle over the role of politics in science and philosophy. Along with such differences went subtle differences in the assessment of Einstein’s legacy to logical empiricism. Philipp Frank–himself a dissenter from central points of right-wing Vienna Circle doctrine–deserves.. (shrink)
more on the history of the Vienna Circle and its allies, see Coffa 1991; Friedman 1983; Hailer 1982, 1985; Kraft 1950; and Proust 1986, 1989). Without question, however, the crucial, formative, early intellectual experience of at least Schlick, Reichenbach, and Carnap, the experience that did most to give form and content to their emergent philosophies of science, was their engagement with relativity theory. Thus, after a few early writings on more general philosophical themes, Schlick first caught the attention of a (...) broader philosophical public with his 1915 essay, "Die philosophische Bedeutung des.. (shrink)
Steven French and Décio Krause have written what bids fair to be, for years to come, the definitive philosophical treatment of the problem of the individuality of elementary particles in quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. The book begins with a long and dense argument for the view that elementary particles are most helpfully regarded as non-individuals, and it concludes with an earnest attempt to develop a formal apparatus for describing such non-individual entities better suited to the task than our (...) customary set theory. Along the way one is treated to a compendious philosophical history of quantum statistics and a well-nigh exhaustive (I’m tempted to say, “exhausting”) analytical history of philosophical responses to the quantum theory’s prima facie challenge to classical notions of particle individuality. The book is also a salvo from the headquarters artillery company of the “pro” side in the contemporary structuralism wars, and an essay in metaphysical naturalism. Whew! There are too many places where the friendly critic wants to engage the argument, and few where the authors have not already anticipated such engagement. I take this as my excuse, then, for offering not any systematic response to the whole project, but just some questions and observations about several points that caught my attention. (shrink)
Such are those thick & gloomie shadows dampe Oft seene in charnel vaults, & sepulchers, Lingering, & sitting by a new made grave, As loath to leave the bodie that it lov'd, & link’t it selfe by carnall sensualtie To a degenerate, & degraded state.
On Saturday, August 26, 1893, thirteen-year-old Edith Low Babson was swimming in her favorite swimming hole on the Annisquam river in her home town of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Though she was a strong swimmer, something went wrong, and she drowned. A tragedy like all such. But this drowning had unusual consequences. Edith’s older brother was Roger W. Babson, who grew up to become one of America’s most prominent businessmen of the early twentieth century. A statistician, prolific author, philanthropist, founder of Babson (...) College, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and the Prohibition Patry’s Presidential candidate in 1940, Roger Babson was deeply affected by his sister’s death, as he was again many years later, in 1947, by the death of his grandson, Michael, who drowned while saving the life of a companion who had been knocked off of a sailboat in Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire. But Roger Babson was a man of action, not one quietly to acquiesce when confronted by suffering inflicted by a seemingly impersonal and uncaring nature. One year after his grandson’s death, Babson dedicated a significant part of his vast personal wealth to the establishment of the Gravity Research Foundation in New Boston, New Hampshire, which thereafter awarded an annual prize for theoretical research on gravitation, a prize whose winners include the likes of Stephen Hawking. Why? As Babson explained in a pamphlet published by the new foundation, “Gravity: Our Enemy Number One” (Babson 1948), the goal was to alleviate the suffering for which gravity was responsible, the gravity that seized his sister “like a dragon and.. (shrink)
Whence, then, do my errors arise? Only from the fact that the will is much more ample and farreaching than the understanding, so that I do not restrain it within the same limits but extend it even to those things which I do not understand. Being by its nature indifferent about such matters, it very easily is turned aside from the true and the good and chooses the false and the evil. And thus it happens that I make mistakes and (...) that I sin. (shrink)
as the chief novelty in the quantum description of nature, Einstein for having found vindication in 3 relativity theory for either positivism or realism, depending upon whom one asks. Famous as is each in his own domain, they are famous also, together, for their decades-long disagreement over the future of fundamental physics, their respective embrace and rejection of quantum indeterminacy being only the most widely-known point of contention.
The physics and metaphysics of identity and individuality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9463-7 Authors Don Howard, Department of Philosophy and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Elena Castellani, Department of Philosophy, University of Florence, Via Bolognese 52, 50139 (...) Florence, Italy Laura Crosilla, Department of Pure Mathematics, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Décio Krause, Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Campus Trindade, Florianópolis, SC Brazil Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether there is a relationship between a person's degree of religiousness and corporate social responsibility orientation. A total of 411 managers and 506 students from seven universities were surveyed. The statistical analysis showed that religiousness does influence students' orientation toward the economic, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities of business. It does not, however, have a significant impact upon the managers' attitudes. When the "low religiousness" students and managers were compared, differences were found with (...) respect to the economic, ethical, and philanthropic components of corporate social responsibility. Similar results were obtained when the "high religiousness" students and managers were compared. The implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
Neo-positivism is dead. Let that imperfect designation stand for the project that dominated and defined the philosophy of science, especially in its Anglophone form, during the fifty or so years following the end of the Second World War. While its critics were many,1 its death was slow, and some think still to find a pulse.2 But die it did in the cul-de-sac into which it was led by its own faulty compass.
The results of a survey of 272 practicing accountants and 374 accounting students enrolled in six universities are analyzed. Differences and similarities between the two groups with regard to their attitudes toward corporate social responsibility are examined. The results indicate that the students exhibit greater concern about the ethical and discretionary components of corporate responsibility and a weaker orientation toward economic performance. No significant differences between the two groups were observed with respect to the legal dimension of corporate social responsibility. (...) Some explanations as well as limited generalizations and implications are developed. (shrink)
What is commonly known as the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, regarded as representing a unitary Copenhagen point of view, differs significantly from Bohr's complementarity interpretation, which does not employ wave packet collapse in its account of measurement and does not accord the subjective observer any privileged role in measurement. It is argued that the Copenhagen interpretation is an invention of the mid‐1950s, for which Heisenberg is chiefly responsible, various other physicists and philosophers, including Bohm, Feyerabend, Hanson, and Popper, having (...) further promoted the invention in the service of their own philosophical agendas. (shrink)
One area of business performance of particular interest to both scholars and practitioners is corporate social responsibility. The notion that organizations should be attentive to the needs of constituents other than shareholders has been investigated and vigorously debated for over two decades. This has provoked an especially rich and diverse literature investigating the relationship between business and society. As a result, researchers have urged the study of the profiles and backgrounds of corporate upper echelons in order to better understand this (...) relationship.There is ample evidence that corporations have in recent years increased the proportion of outside directors on their boards. This has been partly in reaction to increased interest in the corporate social responsiveness of business organizations and suggestions that the board of directors could play a unique role in this area. The expectation on the part of practitioners, researchers, and governmental regulators is that outside directors will advocate greater corporate responsiveness to society''s needs by playing a more active role in overseeing managerial decisions. (shrink)
— Niels Bohr, 19231 “There must be quite definite and clear grounds, why you repeatedly declare that one must interpret observations classically, which lie absolute ly in thei r essenc e. . . . It must belong to your deepest conviction—and I cannot understand on what you base it.”.
Pierre Duhem's often unrecognized influence on twentieth-century philosophy of science is illustrated by an analysis of his significant if also largely unrecognized influence on Albert Einstein. Einstein's first acquaintance with Duhem's La Théorie physique, son objet et sa structure around 1909 is strongly suggested by his close personal and professional relationship with Duhem's German translator, Friedrich Adler. The central role of a Duhemian holistic, underdeterminationist variety of conventionalism in Einstein's thought is examined at length, with special emphasis on Einstein's deployment (...) of Duhemian arguments in his debates with neo-Kantian interpreters of relativity and in his critique of the empiricist doctrines of theory testing advanced by Schlick, Reichenbach, and Carnap. Most striking is Einstein's 1949 criticism of the verificationist conception of meaning from a holistic point of view, anticipating by two years the rather similar, but more famous criticism advanced independently by Quine in Two Dogmas of Empiricism. (shrink)
Barry Commoner has argued that the environmental failure of modern technology is due in large part to the reductionistic character ofmodern science, especially its biological component where the reductionist approach has triumphed in molecular biology. I claim, first, that Commoner has confused reduction in the sense of the reduction of one theory to another with what is better called analysis, or the strategy of breaking a whoie into its parts in order to understand the properties of the whole, this latter (...) being the actual target of his attack. I then argue that his criticisms of molecular biology fail since each of the properties of the cell which he claims cannot be understood in an analytic fashion, such as reproduction, development and inheritance, can be so understood, and that, in fact, each of his putatively nonanalytic accounts of these properties is the result of analysis. Similarly, Commoner’s claim that ecosystenls possess properties that cannot be understood analytically is refuted by comparing ecosystems with automobiles, which Commoner acknowledges are susceptible to analysis, and by showing that there are no essential differences between the two. FinaIly, l observe that while it is false that ecosystems canna! be understood in analytic terms, it is true that they are not usually thus understood, and that the explanation for this is not that scientists subscribe to amistaken philosophy, but that our social institutions for the teaching and application of science do not adequately stress the importance of exploring the connections between the parts of such complex wholes. (shrink)