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The Theory of Relativity and a Priori Knowledge

Berkeley: University of California Press (1965)

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  1. Gravitation as a Universal Force.Dennis Dieks - 1987 - Synthese 73 (2):381 - 397.
    In his book Philosophie der Raum-Zeit-Lehre (1928) Reichenbach introduced the concept of universal force. Reichenbach's use of this concept was later severely criticized by Grünbaum. In this article it is argued that although Grünbaum's criticism is correct in an important respect, it misses part of Reichenbach's intentions. An attempt is made to clarify and defend Reichenbach's position, and to show that universal force is a useful notion in the physically important case of gravitation.
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  • Friedman on Implicit Definition: In Search of the Hilbertian Heritage in Philosophy of Science.Woosuk Park - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (3):427-442.
    Michael Friedman’s project both historically and systematically testifies to the importance of the relativized a priori. The importance of implicit definitions clearly emerges from Schlick’s General Theory of Knowledge . The main aim of this paper is to show the relationship between both and the relativized a priori through a detailed discussion of Friedman’s work. Succeeding with this will amount to a contribution to recent scholarship showing the importance of Hilbert for Logical Empiricism.
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  • Weyl, Reichenbach and the Epistemology of Geometry.T. A. Ryckman - 1994 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (6):831-870.
  • Reichenbach and Weyl on Apriority and Mathematical Applicability.Sandy Berkovski - 2011 - Synthese 181 (1):63-77.
    I examine Reichenbach’s theory of relative a priori and Michael Friedman’s interpretation of it. I argue that Reichenbach’s view remains at bottom conventionalist and that one issue which separates Reichenbach’s account from Kant’s apriorism is the problem of mathematical applicability. I then discuss Hermann Weyl’s theory of blank forms which in many ways runs parallel to the theory of relative a priori. I argue that it is capable of dealing with the problem of applicability, but with a cost.
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  • Editorial Introduction.Damian Veal - 2005 - Angelaki 10 (1):1 – 31.
  • Apriority and Applied Mathematics.Robert A. Holland - 1992 - Synthese 92 (3):349 - 370.
    I argue that we need not accept Quine's holistic conception of mathematics and empirical science. Specifically, I argue that we should reject Quine's holism for two reasons. One, his argument for this position fails to appreciate that the revision of the mathematics employed in scientific theories is often related to an expansion of the possibilities of describing the empirical world, and that this reveals that mathematics serves as a kind of rational framework for empirical theorizing. Two, this holistic conception does (...)
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  • 'Coordinative Definition' and Reichenbach's Semantic Framework: A Reassessment.Lionel Stefan Shapiro - 1994 - Erkenntnis 41 (3):287 - 323.
    Reichenbach's Philosophy of Space and Time (1928) avoids most of the logical positivist pitfalls it is generally held to exemplify, notably both conventionalism and verificationism. To see why, we must appreciate that Reichenbach's interest lies in how mathematical structures can be used to describe reality, not in how words like 'distance' acquire meaning. Examination of his proposed "coordinative definition" of congruence shows that Reichenbach advocates a reductionist analysis of the relations figuring in physical geometry (contrary to common readings that attribute (...)
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  • The Forgotten Tradition: How the Logical Empiricists Missed the Philosophical Significance of the Work of Riemann, Christoffel and Ricci.Marco Giovanelli - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (6):1219-1257.
    This paper attempts to show how the logical empiricists’ interpretation of the relation between geometry and reality emerges from a “collision” of mathematical traditions. Considering Riemann’s work as the initiator of a 19th century geometrical tradition, whose main protagonists were Helmholtz and Poincaré, the logical empiricists neglected the fact that Riemann’s revolutionary insight flourished instead in a non-geometrical tradition dominated by the works of Christoffel and Ricci-Curbastro roughly in the same years. I will argue that, in the attempt to interpret (...)
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  • A Role for Reason in Science.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2003 - Dialogue 42 (3):573-598.
    In "Dynamics of Reason" (2001), Michael Friedman advocates a neo-Kantian perspective for philosophy of science that addresses the problem of scientific change and opposes both Quine's naturalism and Kuhn's relativism. This critical notice of Friedman's book focuses on the "relativized a priori" principles articulated by Friedman. Friedman's arguments against Quine and Kuhn are subsequently evaluated. It is concluded that Friedman succeeds in illustrating deficiencies of Quine's naturalism, however, he fails to sufficiently establish a "rational" basis for theory-choice and, hence, his (...)
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  • The Philosophy of Hans Reichenbach.Wesley C. Salmon - 1977 - Synthese 34 (1):5 - 88.
  • Did Tom Kuhn Actually Meet Tom Bayes?Lefteris Farmakis - 2008 - Erkenntnis 68 (1):41 - 53.
    Wesley Salmon and John Earman have presented influential Bayesian reconstructions of Thomas Kuhn’s account of theory-change. In this paper I argue that all attempts to give a Bayesian reading of Kuhn’s philosophy of science are fundamentally misguided due to the fact that Bayesian confirmation theory is in fact inconsistent with Kuhn’s account. The reasons for this inconsistency are traced to the role the concept of incommensurability plays with reference to the ‘observational vocabulary’ within Kuhn’s picture of scientific theories. The upshot (...)
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  • Indeterminacy, a Priority, and Analyticity in the Quinean Critique.Gurpreet Rattan - 2010 - European Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):203-226.
    Significant issues remain for understanding and evaluating the Quinean critique of the analytic/synthetic distinction. These issues are highlighted in a puzzling mismatch between the common philosophical attitude toward the critique and its broader intellectual legacy. A discussion of this mismatch sets the larger context for criticism of a recent tradition of interpretation of the critique. I argue that this tradition confuses the roles and relative importance of indeterminacy, a priority, and analyticity in the Quinean critique.
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  • Friedman’s Relativised A Priori and Structural Realism: In Search of Compatibility.Milena Ivanova - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (1):23 - 37.
    In this article I discuss a recent argument due to Dan McArthur, who suggests that the charge that Michael Friedman?s relativised a priori leads to irrationality in theory change can be avoided by adopting structural realism. I provide several arguments to show that the conjunction of Friedman?s relativised a priori with structural realism cannot make the former avoid the charge of irrationality. I also explore the extent to which Friedman?s view and structural realism are compatible, a presupposition of McArthur?s argument. (...)
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  • The Transcendental Method and Empiricist Philosophy of Science.Sami Pihlström & Arto Siitonen - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (1):81-106.
    This paper reconsiders the relation between Kantian transcendental reflection and 20th century philosophy of science. As has been pointed out by Michael Friedman and others, the notion of a "relativized a priori" played a central role in Rudolf Carnap's, Hans Reichenbach's and other logical empiricists' thought. Thus, even though the logical empiricists dispensed with Kantian synthetic a priori judgments, they did maintain a crucial Kantian doctrine, viz., a distinction between the level of establishing norms for empirical inquiry and the level (...)
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  • Reichenbach on the Relative a Priori and the Context of Discovery/Justification Distinction.Samet Bagce - 2011 - Synthese 181 (1):79 - 93.
    Hans Reichenbach introduced two seemingly separate sets of distinctions in his epistemology at different times. One is between the axioms of coordination and the axioms of connections. The other distinction is between the context of discovery and the context of justification. The status and nature of each of these distinctions have been subject-matter of an ongoing debate among philosophers of science. Thus, there is a significant amount of works considering both distinctions separately. However, the relevance of Reichenbach's two distinctions to (...)
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  • Cassirer, Schlick and 'Structural' Realism: The Philosophy of the Exact Sciences in the Background to Early Logical Empiricism.Barry Gower - 2000 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 8 (1):71 – 106.
  • Putnam's Account of Apriority and Scientific Change: Its Historical and Contemporary Interest.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2010 - Synthese 176 (3):429-445.
    In the 1960s and 1970s, Hilary Putnam articulated a notion of relativized apriority that was motivated to address the problem of scientific change. This paper examines Putnam’s account in its historical context and in relation to contemporary views. I begin by locating Putnam’s analysis in the historical context of Quine’s rejection of apriority, presenting Putnam as a sympathetic commentator on Quine. Subsequently, I explicate Putnam’s positive account of apriority, focusing on his analysis of the history of physics and geometry. In (...)
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  • The Role of Symmetry in the Interpretation of Physical Theories.Adam Caulton - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):153-162.
    The symmetries of a physical theory are often associated with two things: conservation laws and representational redundancies. But how can a physical theory's symmetries give rise to interesting conservation laws, if symmetries are transformations that correspond to no genuine physical difference? In this article, I argue for a disambiguation in the notion of symmetry. The central distinction is between what I call "analytic" and "synthetic" symmetries, so called because of an analogy with analytic and synthetic propositions. "Analytic" symmetries are the (...)
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  • Talking at Cross-Purposes: How Einstein and the Logical Empiricists Never Agreed on What They Were Disagreeing About.Marco Giovanelli - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3819-3863.
    By inserting the dialogue between Einstein, Schlick and Reichenbach into a wider network of debates about the epistemology of geometry, this paper shows that not only did Einstein and Logical Empiricists come to disagree about the role, principled or provisional, played by rods and clocks in General Relativity, but also that in their lifelong interchange, they never clearly identified the problem they were discussing. Einstein’s reflections on geometry can be understood only in the context of his ”measuring rod objection” against (...)
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  • Logic in General Philosophy of Science: Old Things and New Things.Hannes Leitgeb - 2011 - Synthese 179 (2):339 - 350.
    This is a personal, incomplete, and very informal take on the role of logic in general philosophy of science, which is aimed at a broader audience. We defend and advertise the application of logical methods in philosophy of science, starting with the beginnings in the Vienna Circle and ending with some more recent logical developments.
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  • Did Tom Kuhn Actually Meet Tom Bayes?Lefteris Farmakis - 2008 - Erkenntnis 68 (1):41-53.
    Wesley Salmon and John Earman have presented influential Bayesian reconstructions of Thomas Kuhn's account of theory-change. In this paper I argue that all attempts to give a Bayesian reading of Kuhn's philosophy of science are fundamentally misguided due to the fact that Bayesian confirmation theory is in fact inconsistent with Kuhn's account. The reasons for this inconsistency are traced to the role the concept of incommensurability plays with reference to the 'observational vocabulary' within Kuhn's picture of scientific theories. The upshot (...)
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  • Historicism, Entrenchment, and Conventionalism.Nathaniel Jason Goldberg - 2009 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):259-276.
    W. V. Quine famously argues that though all knowledge is empirical, mathematics is entrenched relative to physics and the special sciences. Further, entrenchment accounts for the necessity of mathematics relative to these other disciplines. Michael Friedman challenges Quine’s view by appealing to historicism, the thesis that the nature of science is illuminated by taking into account its historical development. Friedman argues on historicist grounds that mathematical claims serve as principles constitutive of languages within which empirical claims in physics and the (...)
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  • Systematic Realism.C. A. Hooker - 1974 - Synthese 26 (3-4):409 - 497.
  • What Do Deviant Logians Show About the Epistemology of Logic?Arthur Sullivan - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (2):179-191.
    What I will call “the deviant logician objection” [DLO] is one line of attack against the common and compelling tenet that our justification for logical truths is grounded in our understanding of their constituent concepts. This objection seeks to undermine the possibility of any deep constitutive connection, in the epistemology of logic, between understanding and justification. I will consider varieties of the deviant logician objection developed by Horwich and by Williamson. My thesis is that while the deviant logician objection falls (...)
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  • The Transcendental Method and (Post-)Empiricist Philosophy of Science.Sami Pihlström & Arto Siitonen - 2005 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 36 (1):81 - 106.
    This paper reconsiders the relation between Kantian transcendental reflection (including transcendental idealism) and 20th century philosophy of science. As has been pointed out by Michael Friedman and others, the notion of a "relativized a priori" played a central role in Rudolf Carnap's, Hans Reichenbach's and other logical empiricists' thought. Thus, even though the logical empiricists dispensed with Kantian synthetic a priori judgments, they did maintain a crucial Kantian doctrine, viz., a distinction between the (transcendental) level of establishing norms for empirical (...)
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