Ernst Mach’s Contribution to the Philosophy of Science in Light of Mary B. Hesse’s Postempiricism

Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 11 (2):383-411 (2021)
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Abstract

Ernst Mach’s definition of the relationship between thoughts and facts is well known, but the question of how Mach conceived of their actual relationship has received much less attention. This paper aims to address this gap in light of Mary B. Hesse’s view of a postempiricist approach to natural science. As this paper will show, this view is characterized by a constructivist conception of the relationship between theory and facts that seems to be consistent with Mach’s observations on scientific knowledge. The paper first explores Hesse’s account of postempiricism and her project of a new epistemology. It then considers Ernst Mach’s conception of facts as the middle term of a triad of concepts that includes thoughts and elements as extreme terms. Finally, the paper will offer concluding remarks on Mach’s contribution to the debate on scientific realism and his attempt to redefine the notions of correspondence and objectivity in science.

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Pietro Gori
Universidade Nova de Lisboa

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References found in this work

The Construction of Reality.Michael A. Arbib & Mary B. Hesse - 1986 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mary B. Hesse.
Exaptation–A missing term in the science of form.Stephen Jay Gould & Elisabeth S. Vrba - 1973 - In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The philosophy of biology. New York: Oxford University Press.

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