Some Remarks on Mach’s Philosophical Doctrines

In Friedrich Stadler (ed.), Ernst Mach – Life, Work, Influence. Springer Verlag (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In his general philosophical remarks, scattered across different oeuvres, Mach subscribed to a number of doctrines. First, the thesis of the economy of science: The primary, perhaps the only legitimate goal of scientific theories is to achieve the economy of thought. Instead of recording many facts, science codifies them under the heading of laws. Instead of attending to individual diverse sensations, science postulates the existence of bodies. Then we have evolutionism: Human activities must ultimately be understood in terms of Darwin’s theory. A man is a biological product of evolutionary development. But only human activities: history of knowledge, ideas, thoughts is only intelligible by the lights of evolutionary theory. Finally, phenomenalism: Sensations are denizens of the world, whereas bodies are symbols constructed in thought, chiefly to serve the purposes of economy. Are these views jointly consistent? I argue that the role of naturalism, prominent in the endorsement of the evolutionary theory, creates an unresolved tension among those views. Phenomenalism in particular is deeply revisionary. It appears to be a remnant of empiricist metaphysics casting doubt on pretty much every area of scientific discourse. The adoption of full-fledged philosophical naturalism should be able to resolve the tension without ruling out the possibility of a methodological critique of scientific theories.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,150

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Pour une évaluation des doctrines de Mach.Robert Musil & Paul-Laurent Assoun - 1985 - Presses Universitaires de France - PUF.
The reception of Ernst Mach in the school of Brentano.Denis Fisette - 2018 - Hungarian Philosophical Review 69 (4):34-49.
Ernst Mach and the Episode of the Monocular Depth Sensations.Erik C. Banks - 2001 - Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 37 (4):327-348.
Ernst Mach and the Theory of Relativity.Gereon Wolters - 1984 - Philosophia Naturalis 21 (2/4):630-341.
Remarks on Scientific Applications of Photography.Ernst Mach - 2016 - Science in Context 29 (4):441-442.
—9—Sandy Berkovski Some Remarks on Mthat.Sandy Berkovski - 2010 - In Erich Rast & Luiz Carlos Baptista (eds.), Meaning and Context. Peter Lang. pp. 2--213.
The empirical basis of equilibrium: Mach, Vailati, and the lever.Paolo Palmieri - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (1):42-53.


Added to PP

3 (#1,714,377)

6 months
2 (#1,203,746)

Historical graph of downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Y. Sandy Berkovski
Bilkent University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references