Note: Sections at a more advanced level are indicated by ∞. Preface ix Acknowledgments x Introduction 1 I Nicolaus Copernicus: The Loss of Centrality 3 1 Ptolemy and Copernicus 3 2 A Clash of Two Worldviews 4 2.1 The geocentric worldview 5 2.2 Aristotle’s cosmology 5 2.3 Ptolemy’s geocentrism 9 2.4 A philosophical aside: Outlook 14 2.5 Shaking the presuppositions: Some medieval developments 17 3 The Heliocentric Worldview 20 3.1 Nicolaus Copernicus 21 3.2 The explanation of the seasons 25 3.3 (...) Copernicus and the Copernican turn 28 3.3.1 A philosophical aside: From empirical adequacy to theoretical validity 32 3.4 Copernicus consolidated: Kepler and Galileo 32 4 Copernicus was not a Scientifi c Revolutionary 37 4.1 The Copernican method 39 4.2 The relativity of motion 42 5 The Transition to Newton 43 5.1 On hypotheses 45 6 Some Philosophical Lessons 47 6.1 The loss of centrality 48 6.2 Was Copernicus a realist? 51 6.2.1 Lessons for instrumentalism and realism 52 6.3 Modern realism 55 6.4 The underdetermination of theories by evidence 58 6.4.1 The Duhem--Quine thesis 59 ∞ 6.4.2 The power of constraints 61 ∞ 6.5 Theories, models, and laws 64 ∞ 6.5.1 Theories and models 64 ∞ 6.5.2 Laws of nature, laws of science 68 ∞ 6.5.3 Philosophical views of laws 69 ∞ 188.8.131.52 The inference view 69 ∞ 184.108.40.206 The regularity view 70 ∞ 220.127.116.11 The necessitarian view 73 ∞ 18.104.22.168 The structural view 75 7 Copernicus and Scientifi c Revolutions 77 8 The Anthropic Principle: A Reversal of the Copernican Turn? 83 Reading List 87 Essay Questions 91 II Charles Darwin: The Loss of Rational Design 93 1 Darwin and Copernicus 93 2 Views of Organic Life 94 2.1 Teleology 94 2.1.1 The Great Chain of Being 97 2.1.2 Design arguments 99 2.1.3 Jean Baptiste Lamarck 104 3 Fossil Discoveries 106 3.1 Of bones and skeletons 108 3.2 The antiquity of man 110 4 Darwin’s Revolution 112 4.1 The Darwinian view of life 114 4.1.1 Principles of evolution 116 4.2 The descent of man 119 5 Philosophical Matters 124 5.1 Philosophical presuppositions: Mechanical worldview, determinism, materialism 125 5.2 From biology to the philosophy of mind 129 5.2.1 Empiricism 129 5.2.2 Philosophy of mind 132 5.2.3 Emergent minds 134 5.3 The loss of rational design 136 5.4 Intelligent design 139 6 A Question of Method 143 6.1 Darwinian inferences 143 6.2 Philosophical empiricism 147 6.3 Some principles of elimination 149 ∞ 6.4 Essential features of eliminative induction 150 6.5 Falsifi ability or testability? 155 6.6 Explanation and prediction 157 ∞ 6.7 Some models of scientifi c explanation 159 ∞ 6.7.1 Hempel’s models 160 ∞ 6.7.2 Functional models 161 ∞ 6.7.3 Causal models 163 22.214.171.124 A counterfactual-interventionist account 163 126.96.36.199 A conditional model of causation 165 ∞ 6.7.4 Structural explanations 169 6.8 A brief return to realism 172 6.9 Darwin and scientifi c revolutions 174 6.9.1 Philosophical consequences 176 Reading List 177 Essay Questions 183 III Sigmund Freud: The Loss of Transparency 185 1 Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud 185 2 Some Views of Humankind 187 2.1 Enlightenment views of human nature 188 2.2 Nietzsche’s view of human nature 190 3 Scientism and the Freudian Model of Personality 191 3.1 Freud’s model of the mind 192 3.1.1 A summary of psychoanalytic theory 192 3.1.2 Analogy with physics 195 3.1.3 Freud as an Enlightenment thinker 200 3.1.4 The scientifi c status of the Freudian model 202 188.8.131.52 Freud’s methods 202 ∞ 184.108.40.206 The method of eliminative induction, again 205 3.1.5 Freud stands between the empirical and the hermeneutic models 208 3.1.6 The role of mind in the social world 209 4 The Social Sciences beyond Freud 210 4.1 Two standard models of the social sciences -- some history 210 4.1.1 The naturalistic model 211 4.1.2 The hermeneutic model 213 4.2 Essential features of social science models 218 4.2.1 Essential features of the naturalistic model 218 4.2.2 Essential features of the hermeneutic model 221 4.3 Questions of methodology 224 ∞ 4.3.1 What is Verstehen? 225 ∞ 4.3.2 Weber’s methodology of ideal types 229 ∞ 4.3.3 Verstehen and objectivity 234 ∞ 4.4 Causation in the social sciences 236 ∞ 4.4.1 Weber on causation 236 ∞ 4.4.2 On the existence of social laws 239 4.4.3 Explanation and prediction in the social sciences 242 4.4.4 Underdetermination 243 4.4.5 Realism and relativism 244 ∞ 4.4.6 Reductionism and functionalism 248 5 Evolution and the Social Sciences 253 5.1 Sociobiology -- the fourth revolution? 254 5.2 Evolutionary psychology 257 6 Freud and Revolutions in Thought 261 6.1 Revolutions in thought vs. revolutions in science 263 Reading List 263 Essay Questions 269 Name Index 271 Subject Index 274. (shrink)
Concepts, Experiments, History and Philosophy Daniel Greenberger, Klaus Hentschel, Friedel Weinert. 5. W. Hittorf, Ueber die Elektricit ̈atsleitung der Gase , Annalen der Physik 136, 1–31, 197–234 (1869); Engl. transl. On the Conduction of ...
Clearly written and well illustrated, the book first places the scientist-philosophers in the limelight as we learn how their great scientific discoveries forced them to reconsider the time-honored notions with which science had described the natural world. Then, the book explains that what we understand by nature and science have undergone fundamental conceptual changes as a result of the discoveries of electromagnetism, thermodynamics and atomic structure. The author concludes that the dance between science and philosophy is an evolutionary process, which (...) will keep them forever entwined. (shrink)
This book is the first all-encompassing exploration of the role of demons in philosophical and scientific thought experiments. In Part I, the author explains the importance of thought experiments in science and philosophy. Part II considers Laplace's Demon, whose claim is that the world is completely deterministic. Part III introduces Maxwell's Demon, who - by contrast - experiences a world that is probabilistic and indeterministic. Part IV explores Nietzsche's thesis of the cyclic and eternal recurrence of events. In each case (...) a number of philosophical consequences regarding determinism and indeterminism, the arrows of time, the nature of the mind and free will are said to follow from the Demons's worldviews. The book investigates what these Demons - and others - can and cannot tell us about our world. (shrink)
The paper aims to explain and illustrate why Einstein and Kant, relativity and transcendental idealism, came to be discussed in one breath after the Special theory of relativity had emerged in 1905. There are essentially three points of contact between the theory of relativity and Kant's objective idealism. The Special theory makes contact with Kantian views of time; the General theory requires a non-Kantian view of geometry; but both relativity theories endorse a quasi-Kantian view of the nature of scientific knowledge. (...) The paper shows that Einstein is a Kantian in his insistence on the synthesis of rationalism and empiricism, but not in the details of his physics. (shrink)
Falsificationism has dominated 20th century philosophy of science. It seemed to have eclipsed all forms of inductivism. Yet recent debates have revived a specific form of eliminative inductivism, the basic ideas of which go back to F. Bacon and J.S. Mill. These modern endorsements of eliminative inductivism claim to show that progressive problem solving is possible using induction, rather than falsification as a method of justification. But this common ground between falsificationism and eliminative inductivism has not led to a detailed (...) investigation into the relationship, if any, which may exist between these two methodologies. This paper reviews several versions of eliminative inductivism, establishes a natural relation between eliminative inductivism and falsificationism, which derives from the distinction between models and theories, and carries out this investigation against a case study of the construction of atom models. The result of the investigation is that falsificationism is a form of eliminative inductivism in the limit of certain constraints. (shrink)
The aim of this interdisciplinary study is to reconstruct the evolution of our changing conceptions of time in the light of scientific discoveries. It will adopt a new perspective and organize the material around three central themes, which run through our history of time reckoning: cosmology and regularity; stasis and flux; symmetry and asymmetry. It is the physical criteria that humans choose – relativistic effects and time-symmetric equations or dynamic-kinematic effects and asymmetric conditions – that establish our views on the (...) nature of time. This book will defend a dynamic rather than a static view of time. (shrink)
The debate about the passage of time is usually confined to Minkowski‟s geometric interpretation of space-time. It infers the block universe from the notion of relative simultaneity. But there are alternative interpretations of space-time – so-called axiomatic approaches –, based on the existence of „optical facts‟, which have thermodynamic properties. It may therefore be interesting to approach the afore-mentioned debate from the point of view of relativistic thermodynamics, in which invariant parameters exist, which may serve to indicate the passage of (...) time. Of particular interest is the use of entropic clocks, gas clocks and statistical thermometers, which suggest that two observers in Minkowski space-time could agree on an objective passing of time. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of constraints in the theory of relativity and, in particular, what philosophical work they do for Einstein's views on the laws of physics. Einstein presents a view of local ``structure laws'' which he characterizes as the most appropriate form of physical laws. Einstein was committed to a view of science, which presents a synthesis between rational and empirical elements as its hallmark. If scientific constructs are free inventions of the human (...) mind, as Einstein, held, the question arises how such rational constructs, including the symbolic formulation of the laws of physics, can represent physical reality. Representation in turn raises the question of realism. Einstein uses a number of constraints in the theory of relativity to show that by imposing constraints on the rational elements a certain ``fit'' between theory and reality can be achieved. Fit is to be understood as satisfaction of constraint. His emphasis on reference frames in the STR and more general coordinate systems in the GTR, as well as his emphasis on the symmetries of the theory of relativity suggests that Einstein's realism is akin to a certain form of structural realism. His version of structural realism follows from the theory of relativity and is independent of any current philosophical debates about structural realism. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is twofold: a) to explore the compatibility of Minkowski’s space-time representation of the Special theory of relativity with a dynamic conception of space-time; b) to locate its roots in invariant features - like entropic relations - of the propagation of signals in space-time. From its very beginning Minkowski’s four-dimensional space-time was associated with a static view of reality, e.g. a block universe. Einstein added his influential voice to this conception when he wrote: ‘From a “happening” (...) in three-dimensional space, physics becomes (…) an “existence” in the four-dimensional “world”.’ (Einstein, Relativity 1920, 122) Yet it is by no means clear that Minkowski himself was a believer in the block universe. In his 1908 Cologne lecture on ‘Space and Time’ he speaks of a four-dimensional physics but concedes that a ‘necessary’ time order can be established at every world point. Although the conception of the block universe has gained much currency, an alternative view has been in circulation since the 1910s according to which the trajectories of particles constitute histories in space-time. (Robb 1914, Cunningham 1915, Carathéodorys 1924, Schlick 1917, Reichenbach 1924). (shrink)
The paper proposes a re-assessment of Reichenbach’s ‘causal’ theory of time. Reichenbach’s version of the theory, first proposed in 1921, is interesting because it is one of the first attempts to construct a causal theory as a relational theory of time, which fully takes the results of the Special theory of relativity into account. The theory derives its name from the cone structure of Minkowski space–time, in particular the emission of light signals. At first Reichenbach defines an ‘order’ of time, (...) a ‘before-after’ relationship between mechanical events. In his later work, he comes to the conclusion that the ‘order’ of time needs to be distinguished from the ‘direction’ of time. He therefore abandons the sole focus on light geometry and turns to Boltzmann’s statistical version of thermodynamics. However, as Einstein pointed out, the emission and reception of light signals have thermodynamic aspects. When this is taken into account, Reichenbach’s ‘causal’ theory turns out to be an entropic theory of time. It also emerges that Reichenbach discusses phase space and typicality arguments in support of his dynamic view of time. They provide a better understanding of the notion of entropy. This unifies his approach and helps to answer some of the standard objections against a causal theory of time. (shrink)
The line of argument pursued in this paper is to proceed from Einstein’s fundamental problem situation to a consideration of scientific representation with respect to the Special theory of relativity (STR). Einstein’s fundamental problem situation, which is Kantian in spirit, is how the conceptual freedom of the scientist is compatible with the need for an objective representation of an independently given material world. To solve this philosophical issue Einstein employs a number of constraints, which are central to the STR. The (...) issue of scientific representation leads to a consideration of the notion of reality and to the realistic commitments implied in the STR. From this point of view, the paper concludes that Einstein was committed to a kind of ‘structural’ realism. (shrink)
Whether it is preferable to live in X and work in Y or to work in X and live in Y is surely a relative question—relative to a number of practical circumstances and dependent on the person who has to make the choice. But this does not make the situation an illustration of relativism. Similarly, for my neighbour to suspect that abstract terms such as ‘Nation’, ‘Love’ and ‘Freedom’ are only words reveals at best a penchant to nominalism in his (...) thinking, but, once again, this does not qualify my neighbour’s views as nominalism. Something more is required for an assertion, a viewpoint or a theory to qualify as or to be translated into a context called ‘nominalist’ or ‘relativist’. When nominalists throughout the ages denied that abstract terms had an intrinsic value in the explanation of things, they had to give an alternative account of the things to be explained, which did not turn, in any decisive manner, on the distinction between abstract and concrete terms. So it was not enough for a nominalist to reject, say, Rousseau’s distinction between La volonté générate and Les volontés particulières and it was not enough for Nietzsche to deride the bandying about of terms like ‘Truth’, ‘Love’, ‘Nation’, etc. In such cases the nominalist is called upon to replace the explanation which builds on abstract entities by one which is based on individuals. (shrink)
The need to rethink the history of ideas has led both Kuhn and Foucault to break away from the prevalent conception of knowledge as one of continuous growth, of accretion. It is surprising how little attention philosophers and historians of science have paid to Foucault's work, and how, consequently, the convergence between his and the Kuhnian approach has gone completely unnoticed. To see the parallels, however, and to relate their works, promises to give rise to a synthesis that might present (...) a new approach to the history of ideas (going beyond the particular concerns of our two authors). The present paper attempts a first step: It relates the key concepts of Kuhn and Foucault (“revolution/rupture; normal science/épistèmé”) and discusses the possibility of clarifying Kuhn's concept of normal science in the light of Foucault's analysis of discursive structures, and of adding Kuhn's explanation of the cause of conceptual change to the range of Foucault's tools. The last section is devoted to an evaluation of the author's relativism which is seen as a fertile notion and shown to be distinct from Feyerabend's brand of relativism. (shrink)
The essay revisits the puzzle of the ‘passage’ of time in relation to EPR-type measurements and asks what philosophical consequences can be drawn from them. Some argue that the lack of invariance of temporal order in the measurement of a space-like related EPR pair, under relativistic motion, casts serious doubts on the ‘reality’ of the lapse of time. Others argue thatcertain features of quantum mechanics establisha tensed theory of time – understood here as Possibilism or the growing block universe. The (...) paper analyzes the employment of frame-invariant entropic clocks in a relativistic setting and argues that tenselessness does not imply timelessness. But this conclusion does not support a tensed theory of time, which requires a preferred foliation. It is argued that the only reliable inference from the EPR example and the use of entropic clocks is an inference not just to a Leibnizian order of the succession of events but a frame-invariant order according to some selected clocks. (shrink)
The paper discusses the invariance view of reality: a view inspired by the relativity and quantum theory. It is an attempt to show that both versions of Structural Realism (epistemological and ontological) are already embedded in the invariance view but in each case the invariance view introduces important modifications. From the invariance view we naturally arrive at a consideration of symmetries and structures. It is often claimed that there is a strong connection between invariance and reality, established by symmetries. The (...) invariance view seems to render frame-invariant properties real, while frame-specific properties are illusory. But on a perspectival, yet observer-free view of frame-specific realities they too must be regarded as real although supervenient on frame-invariant realities. Invariance and perspectivalism are thus two faces of symmetries. Symmetries also elucidate structures. Because of this recognition, the invariance view is more comprehensive than Structural Realism. Referring to broken symmetries and coherence considerations, the paper concludes that at least some symmetries are ontological, not just epistemological constraints. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud Some Views of Humankind Scientism and the Freudian Model of Personality The Social Sciences beyond Freud Evolution and the Social Sciences Freud and Revolutions in Thought Reading List Essay Questions.
Die Arbeit untersucht die argumentative Entwicklung der philosophischen Auffassungen zur Analytizität und Notwendigkeit, zum Universalienproblem und zur Frage, was empirisches Wissen darstellt. Die Zeitspanne der Untersuchung erstreckt sich vom 17. Jahrhundert bis zu den Diskussionen der letzten Jahre. Das Augenmerk liegt auf der Struktur und Schichtung der Argumentations- stränge: die Beiträge zur Analytizität, Notwendigkeit und zur Universalienfrage rekurrieren auf epistemologische Modelle, die durch historisch veränderbare Definitionen des empirischen Wissens bereitgestellt werden.
Summary One of the central questions concerning theories of reference has been the problem of how the reference of scientific terms gets fixed. Descriptive causal theories of reference, as discussed in this paper, have re-introduced the role of theoretical beliefs and conceptualisations in term introductions and reference-fixing. The present paper argues that the idea of reference-fixing as a dot-like event (baptism) is wrong: a number of episodes from the history of science are discussed to support the claim that reference-fixing is (...) a historical, drawn-out process. This, however, does not stand in the way of successful reference. The two processes are simply separated. A criterion is suggested to determine successful reference. From this approach two further ideas follow: not all scientific terms actually have the power of referring and even those that do will always retain a residual indeterminacy. (shrink)
As the past-future asymmetry – that fact that we have records of the past but not the future – is still a puzzle the aim of this paper is twofold: a) to explain the asymmetry and its status in philosophy and physics and to critically review the proposed solutions to this puzzle; b) to advance a dynamic solution to the puzzle in terms of the ‘universality’ of the entropy relation in statistical mechanics.
The paper examines Wesley Salmon’s claim that the primary role of plausibility arguments in the history of science is to impose constraints on the prior probability of hypotheses. A detailed look at Copernicanism and Darwinism and, more briefly, Rutherford’s discovery of the atomic nucleus reveals a further and arguably more important role of plausibility arguments. It resides in the consideration of likelihoods, which state how likely a given hypothesis makes a given piece of evidence. In each case the likelihoods raise (...) the probability of one of the competing hypotheses and diminish the credibility of its rival, and this may happen either on the basis of ‘old’ or ‘new’ evidence.Keywords: Copernicanism; Darwinism; Atom models; Bayesianism; Likelihoods; Probability arguments. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: Ptolemy and Copernicus A Clash of Two Worldviews The Heliocentric Worldview Copernicus was not a Scientific Revolutionary The Transition to Newton Some Philosophical Lessons Copernicus and Scientific Revolutions The Anthropic Principle: A Reversal of the Copernican Turn? Reading List Essay Questions.
There has recently been a great interest in models in the natural sciences. Models are used mainly for their representational functions: they help to concretize certain relationships between parameters in studying physical systems. For instance, we might be interested in representing how the planets orbit around the sun—a scale model of the solar system is an ideal tool for achieving this end. We are free to leave out one or two planets or ignore the moons which many of the planets (...) have. Alternatively, we might be interested in studying the relationship between two particular parameters—how one may be dependent on the other. Then we construct a functional model and determine the functional relationship between them. For instance, the orbital period of a planet is functionally dependent on the average distance of the planet from the sun.1 Models are rather widespread in the social sciences, especially in economics where functional models are used to study relationships between, say, supply and demand. Economics, however, also uses a different kind of model which is also used in the natural sciences: the hypothetical or as if model. Economists employ as if constructions when they assume economic agents to be perfectly rational beings who always seek to maximize their utilities. It is common knowledge that economic agents are not perfectly rational and that the assumptions of perfect rationality and optimal information are at best idealizations which do not, strictly speaking, correspond to the economic reality of how economic agents behave in the market-place. (shrink)
The prevailing current of thought in both physics and philosophy is that relativistic space-time provides no means for the objective measurement of the passage of time. Kurt Gödel, for instance, denied the possibility of an objective lapse of time, both in the Special and the General theory of relativity. From this failure many writers have inferred that a static block universe is the only acceptable conceptual consequence of a four-dimensional world. The aim of this paper is to investigate how arrows (...) of time could be measured objectively in space-time. In order to carry out this investigation it is proposed to consider both local and global arrows of time. In particular the investigation will focus on a) in variant thermodynamic parameters in both the Special and the General theory for local regions of space-time ; b) the evolution of the universe under appropriate boundary conditions for the whole of space-time (arrow of time,as envisaged in modern quantum cosmology. The upshot of this investigation is that a number of invariant physical indicators in space-time can be found, which would allow observers to measure the lapse of time and to infer both the existence of an objective passage and an arrow of time. (shrink)
Thomas S. Kuhn is famous both for his work on the Copernican Revolution and his ‘paradigm’ view of scientific revolutions. But Kuhn later abandoned the notion of paradigm in favour of a more ‘evolutionary’ view of the history of science. Kuhn’s position therefore moved closer to ‘continuity’ models of scientific progress, for instance ‘chain-of-reasoning’ models, originally championed by D. Shapere. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the debate around Kuhn’s new ‘developmental’ view and to evaluate these competing (...) models with reference to some major innovations in the history of cosmology, from Copernicanism to modern cosmology. This evaluation is made possible through some unexpected overlap between Kuhn’s earlier discontinuity model and various versions of the later continuity models. It is the thesis of this paper that the ‘chain-of-reasoning’ model accounts better for the cosmological evidence than both Kuhn’s early paradigm model and his later developmental view of the history of science. (shrink)
This paper critically analyzes the fiction-view of scientific modeling, which exploits presumed analogies between literary fiction and model building in science. The basic idea is that in both fiction and scientific modeling fictional worlds are created. The paper argues that the fiction-view comes closest to certain scientific thought experiments, especially those involving demons in science and to literary movements like naturalism. But the paper concludes that the dissimilarities prevail over the similarities. The fiction-view fails to do justice to the plurality (...) of model types used in science; it fails to realize that a function like idealization only makes sense in science because models, unlike works of fiction, can be de-idealized; it fails to distinguish sufficiently between the make-believe worlds created in fiction and the hypothetical worlds envisaged in models. Representation characterized in the fiction-view as a license to draw inferences does not sufficiently distinguish between inferences in fiction from inferences in scientific modeling. To highlight the contrast the paper proposes to explicate representation in terms of satisfaction of constraints. (shrink)
Charles Darwin published his Origin of Species on November 24, 1859. Whatever hurdle the theory of natural selection faced in its struggle for acceptance, its impact on human self-images was almost immediate. Well before Darwin had the chance of applying the principle of natural selection to human origins—in his Descent of Man —his contemporaries quickly and rashly drew the infer–ence to man’s descent from the ape. Satirical magazines like Punch delighted in depicting Darwin with his imposing head on an apish (...) body. At the Oxford meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Bishop Wilberforce asked T. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to examine the notion of social mechanisms by comparison with the notions of evolutionary and physical mechanisms. It is argued that social mechanisms are based on trends, and not lawlike regularities, so that social mechanisms are different from mechanisms in the natural sciences. Taking as an example of social causation the abolition of the slave trade, the paper argues that social mechanisms should be incorporated in Weber’s wider notion of adequate causation in order to (...) achieve their explanatory purpose. (shrink)