This article looks at what is genuinely new in the Buddhist transnationalism of the modern period. It examines the history of Buddhist councils and synods from the early gatherings after the demise of the Buddha to the Buddhist World Council in the twentieth century. These often international events followed a role-model, defined by the first three councils, of creating and handing down an authoritative version of the Buddha's teachings (dhamma) while they could also lead to a ?purification? of the monks' (...) order (sangha) if monks sticking to divergent textual traditions were expelled from the sangha. Despite their importance, however, councils have received rather little attention in scholarly literature. This article takes a fresh look at Buddhist synods with a focus on those convened since the mid-nineteenth century. It explores how the latter sought to comply with inherited forms and functions, while at the same time becoming innovative in order to adapt Buddhism to its modern environment. (shrink)
This contribution gives an overview of Einstein's work on unified field theory. It characterizes this work from four perspectives, by looking at its conceptual, representational, biographical, and philosophical dimensions.
A formulation by Einstein of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen incompleteness argument found in his scientific manuscripts is presented and briefly commented on. It is the only known version in which Einstein discussed the argument for spin observables. The manuscript dates, in all probability, from late 1954 or early 1955 and hence also represents Einstein's latest version of the incompleteness argument and one of his last statements on quantum theory in general. A puzzling formulation raises the question of Einstein's interpretation of space quantization (...) and the non-classical spin degree of freedom. (shrink)
The history of the publication of the gravitational field equations of general relativity in November 1915 by Einstein and Hilbert is briefly reviewed. An analysis of the internal structure and logic of Hilbert's theory as expounded in extant proofs and in the published version of his relevant paper is given with respect to the specific question what information would have been found on a missing piece of Hilbert's proofs. The existing texts suggest that the missing piece contained the explicit form (...) of the Riemann curvature scalar in terms of the Ricci tensor as a specification of the axiomatically underdetermined Lagrangian in Hilbert's action integral. An alternative reading that the missing piece of the proofs already may have contained the Einstein tensor, i.e. an explicit calculation of the gravitational part of Hilbert's Lagrangian is argued to be highly implausible. (shrink)
In this article, we analyze the third of three papers, in which Einstein presented his quantum theory of the ideal gas of 1924–1925. Although it failed to attract the attention of Einstein’s contemporaries and although also today very few commentators refer to it, we argue for its significance in the context of Einstein’s quantum researches. It contains an attempt to extend and exhaust the characterization of the monatomic ideal gas without appealing to combinatorics. Its ambiguities illustrate Einstein’s confusion with his (...) initial success in extending Bose’s results and in realizing the consequences of what later came to be called Bose–Einstein statistics. We discuss Einstein’s motivation for writing a non-combinatorial paper, partly in response to criticism by his friend Ehrenfest, and we paraphrase its content. Its arguments are based on Einstein’s belief in the complete analogy between the thermodynamics of light quanta and of material particles and invoke considerations of adiabatic transformations as well as of dimensional analysis. These techniques were well known to Einstein from earlier work on Wien’s displacement law, Planck’s radiation theory and the specific heat of solids. We also investigate the possible role of Ehrenfest in the gestation of the theory. (shrink)
Sixteen years after his “Foundations of Geometry,” Hilbert published a communication that bears a similar and, by use of the definite article, even less mistakable title: “The Foundations of Physics.” In the opening paragraph of this article, Hilbert announced his intention self-confidently:In the following, I should like to set up — following the axiomatic method — a new system of fundamental equations of physics, constructed essentially from two simple axioms; equations that are of ideal beauty and in which, as I (...) believe, is contained the solution of both Einstein’s and Mie’s problems. (shrink)
Einstein's early thoughts about superconductivity are discussed as a case study of how theoretical physics reacts to experimental findings that are incompatible with established theoretical notions. One such notion that is discussed is the model of electric conductivity implied by Drude's electron theory of metals, and the derivation of the Wiedemann-Franz law within this framework. After summarizing the experimental knowledge on superconductivity around 1920, the topic is then discussed both on a phenomenological level in terms of implications of Maxwell's equations (...) for the case of infinite conductivity, and on a microscopic level in terms of suggested models for superconductive charge transport. Analyzing Einstein's manuscripts and correspondence as well as his own 1922 paper on the subject, it is shown that Einstein had a sustained interest in superconductivity and was well informed about the phenomenon. It is argued that his appointment as special professor in Leiden in 1920 was motivated to a considerable extent by his perception as a leading theoretician of quantum theory and condensed matter physics and the hope that he would contribute to the theoretical direction of the experiments done at Kamerlingh Onnes' cryogenic laboratory. Einstein tried to live up to these expectations by proposing at least three experiments on the phenomenon, one of which was carried out twice in Leiden. Compared to other theoretical proposals at the time, the prominent role of quantum concepts was characteristic of Einstein's understanding of the phenomenon. The paper concludes with comments on Einstein's epistemological reflections on the problem. (shrink)
We outline a framework for analyzing episodes from the history of science in which the application of mathematics plays a constitutive role in the conceptual development of empirical sciences. Our starting point is the inferential conception of the application of mathematics, recently advanced by Bueno and Colyvan. We identify and discuss some systematic problems of this approach. We propose refinements of the inferential conception based on theoretical considerations and on the basis of a historical case study. We demonstrate the usefulness (...) of the refined, dynamical inferential conception using the well-researched example of the genesis of general relativity. Specifically, we look at the collaboration of the physicist Einstein and the mathematician Grossmann in the years 1912--1913, which resulted in the jointly published ``Outline of a Generalized Theory of Relativity and a Theory of Gravitation,'' a precursor theory of the final theory of general relativity. In this episode, an independently developed mathematical theory, the theory of differential invariants and the absolute differential calculus, was applied in the process of physical theorizing aiming at finding a relativistic theory of gravitation. We argue that the dynamical inferential conception not only provides a natural framework to describe and analyze this episode, but it also generates new questions and insights. We comment on the mathematical tradition on which Grossmann drew, and on his own contributions to mathematical theorizing. We argue that the dynamical inferential conception allows us to identify both the role of heuristics and of mathematical resources as well as the systematic role of problems and mistakes in the reconstruction of episodes of conceptual innovation and theory change. (shrink)
Einstein’s early calculations of gravitational lensing, contained in a scratch notebook and dated to the spring of 1912, are reexamined. A hitherto unknown letter by Einstein suggests that he entertained the idea of explaining the phenomenon of new stars by gravitational lensing in the fall of 1915 much more seriously than was previously assumed. A reexamination of the relevant calculations by Einstein shows that, indeed, at least some of them most likely date from early October 1915. But in support of (...) earlier historical interpretation of Einstein’s notes, it is argued that the appearance of Nova Geminorum 1912 in March 1912 may, in fact, provide a relevant context and motivation for Einstein’s lensing calculations on the occasion of his first meeting with Erwin Freundlich during a visit in Berlin in April 1912. We also comment on the significance of Einstein’s consideration of gravitational lensing in the fall of 1915 for the reconstruction of Einstein’s final steps in his path towards general relativity. (shrink)
Research on work values shows that respectful leadership is highly desired by employees. On the applied side, however, the extant research does not offer many insights as to which concrete leadership behaviors are perceived by employees as indications of respectful leadership. Thus, to offer such insights, we collected and content analyzed employees’ narrations of encounters with respectful leadership ( N 1 = 426). The coding process resulted in 19 categories of respectful leadership spanning 149 leadership behaviors. Furthermore, to also harness (...) this comprehensive repertoire for quantitative organizational research, we undertook two more studies ( N 2a = 228; N 2b = 412) to empirically derive a feasible item-based measurement of respectful leadership and assess its psychometric qualities. In these studies, we additionally investigated the relationships between respectful leadership as assessed with this new measurement and employees’ vertical and contextual followership as assessed via subordinates’ identification with their leaders, their appraisal respect for their leaders, their feeling of self-determination, and their job satisfaction. (shrink)
Many accounts of analogy based on sentential semantics owe their continued popularity more to a lack of theoretical specificity than to their superior explicative power. I examine a recent attempt to remedy this situation.Conclusion: Once the sentential semantics account of analogy is spelled out in sufficient detail to permit its systematic application to a variety of cases, it quickly becomes apparent why it must fail, and why we should give preference to a multi-constraint theory of cognitive process instead.
This paper proposes an epistemological approach to analyse social-ecological systems from a process perspective in order to better tackle the co-constitution of the social and the ecological and the dynamism of these systems. It highlights the usefulness of rethinking our conceptual tools taking processes and relations as the main constituents of reality instead of fundamental substances or essences. We introduce the concept of experience as understood in radical empiricism to critically revise our available concepts through focusing on the concept of (...) difference, exploring apparent contradictions and engaging in assemblage thinking. (shrink)
The first thorough examination of C. Wright Mills's intellectual roots, this book also is the first to present Mills's full analysis in his unpublished as well as published writings of the work of his precursors, mentors, and critics. Mills' intellectual line of descent is traced from the American institutional economists, especially Thorstein Veblen and Clarence Ayres, and the American pragmatists, especially John Dewey and George H. Mead—an evolution influenced though not determined by ideas from Europe. Always the critic and gadfly, (...) Mills subjected all theories to his special brand of analysis and synthesis. For example, his books on U.S. social stratification are seen by Tilman as a trilogy updating Veblen with ideas from the pragmatists, spiced with a good bit of Max Weber but very little Man. Power, his other chief concern, also was subjected to his creative American eclecticism. As a lifelong seeker of knowledge, Mills studied the great European social thinkers—notably Marx, Mosca, Pareto, Michels, Weber, Mannheim, and Freud—until his untimely death. Explaining Mills's self-description as a "plain Marxist," Tilman writes that it "amounted to little more than a willingness to use Marx's values, vocabulary, and model when these seemed relevant and to ignore them when they did not." Regarding alleged affinities between Freud and Mills, Tilman argues these were "tenuous at best and, although the linkage with the neo-Freudians was stronger, Mills remained critical of Homey and Fromm because they had "not succeeded in entirely overcoming Freud's biological metaphysic." Although the American radical tradition is complex and varied, the heritage that most influenced Mills, Tilman contends, contains elements of evangelical Protestantism and of liberal pragmatism. "It was Charles Wright Mills more than any other thinker in recent years," he concludes, "who synthesized these strands of thought and then wove them into an authentic American radical theory.". (shrink)
One of America’s most influential social critics, Thorstein Veblen authored works deeply rooted in evolutionary biology and American philosophical naturalism—both of which help explain his institutional economics and radical sociology. Now, one of today’s preeminent Veblen scholars ranges widely over the man’s writings to show how evolutionary naturalism underlies his social theory and criticism, shapes his satire, and binds his work together. Rick Tilman’s study focuses on the intersections of social theory and social psychology, political economy and political theory, (...) and modern philosophy and intellectual history in Veblen’s thinking. It links evolutionary naturalism for the first time to Veblen’s aesthetics, secular humanism, sociology of control, sociobiology, and sociology of knowledge, and it makes groundbreaking observations regarding the relationship of Veblen’s own life to his thinking; his place as a cultural lag theorist; and his analysis of sports, gambling, and religion. Drawing on textual exegesis of Veblen’s work, unpublished correspondence, and selected archives, Tilman argues that only evolutionary naturalism could provide the philosophical foundations of Veblen’s thought. He also emphasizes Veblen’s role in the enhancement and embellishment of the social sciences and cultural studies, as well as his insights into the processes of change in the sociopolitical order. Veblen’s evolutionary naturalism, with its unflattering evaluation of America’s self-selected special place in the international arena, casts doubt on today’s foreign interventions, and it also provides a much-needed antidote to the resurgence of creationist thought in American culture. Tilman shows that Veblen’s ideas are still valuable to contemporary social scientists—indeed, that his method of analysis and values are sorely needed to help us avoid wasteful consumption, predation, and the persistence of religious superstition. This work offers readers a new appreciation of Veblen and the many issues he addressed, and of Tilman’s own masterful facility in bringing them to light. (shrink)
All speech is a form of self-presentation, a performance on the stage of life, and since antiquity this has been accepted as much as lamented and rejected on moral grounds. Do we today, once again, live in times that justify this complaint? So-called ‘fake news’ are, first and foremost, simply ‘news,’ that is, information whose truth claims everyone needs to judge according to their own prejudices. Nietzsche’s skepticism about truth, at least since the early essay Ueber Wahrheit und Lüge im (...) aussermoralischen Sinne, draws radical conclusions from this apparently nihilistic diagnosis of our cognitive abilities which never reach their goal, that is, truth. But Nietzsche does not despair about the fact that our thinking has no power over truth; rather, he transforms lying into a product of the creative intellect that seeks to serve life. As such, we have to rethink truth’s relationship to lying. Both, truth and lying, thus lose their respective meaning. Against the background of Kant’s famous distinction between opining, believing, and knowing as three different modes of holding-to-be-true, I argue that Nietzsche does indeed provide a both timely and constructive answer to the question how to think about ‘lying.’. (shrink)
Books about Einstein abound but they sell. Perhaps more than with other subjects, if you want to publish a book about Einstein, you need to delimit your subject matter and target a sizeable audience. Topobiographies, as one might call them, that is, biographies with a focus on a specific location, are a popular way to meet this challenge. You are cutting down your subject matter to manageable proportions and you are addressing a naturally defined readership. With Einstein, topobiographical works almost (...) constitute a genre.Let me mention some examples. Carl Seelig wrote a book about Einstein in Switzerland (Seelig 1952). Max Flückiger (1974) followed his example with a book specifically about “Albert Einstein in Bern.” For Einstein’s Berlin years, not a biography, but a collection of sources was presented in the year of the hundredth anniversary of his birth by Christa Kirsten and Hans-Jürgen Treder (1979). Less topographically constrained, Jamie Sayen (1985) wrote about “Einstein in Ame .. (shrink)
We discuss Einstein’s knowledge of projective geometry. We show that two pages of Einstein’s Scratch Notebook from around 1912 with geometrical sketches can directly be associated with similar sketches in manuscript pages dating from his Princeton years. By this correspondence, we show that the sketches are all related to a common theme, the discussion of involution in a projective geometry setting with particular emphasis on the infinite point. We offer a conjecture as to the probable purpose of these geometric considerations.
The publication of the first two volumes of the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein in the years 1987 and 1989 marks a watershed in the history of Einstein scholarship. These volumes put together all available documents relevant to Einstein’s early years up to his move to Berne, and they present all his published writings up to 1909, when he would take up his first proper academic appointment at Zurich university. The initiator of the editorial enterprise and editor of these first (...) two volumes, John Stachel, was well aware of the significance of this endeavour. Together with Don Howard, active in the editorial project as well, he also founded the Einstein Studies series whose first volume came out around the same time, in 1989. The series provides a forum for Einstein research, with an emphasis, however, on the history and philosophy of general relativity in those volumes that have appeared up to now. The present volume, number 8 in the series, focuses on the young Einstein and his early work. It has been long in the making. Some papers originated at a conference on Einstein’s early years held in 1990, in an attempt to harvest and digest the fruits of the publication of the first volumes of Einstein’s Collected Papers. Other contributions were written especially for the volume, one paper was published before and is reprinted here. It was the editors’ intention to offer a selection of some of the best recent scholarly studies of Einstein’s early years, and the outcome certainly justifies this claim. (shrink)
Albert Einstein ist für seine Arbeiten in der Physik weltberühmt. Nur wenige wissen jedoch, dass Einstein selbst auch philosophische Arbeiten publiziert hat und seine Erkenntnisse weitreichende Folgen für die Philosophie haben. Oder haben „Raum“ und „Zeit“ nichts mit Wissen zu tun?
Different or conflicting accounts of the same episode in the history of science may arise from viewing that episode from different perspectives. The metaphor suggests that conflicting accounts can be seen as complementary, constructing a multi-dimensional understanding, if the different perspectives can be coordinated. As an example, I discuss different perspectives on the Stern-Gerlach experiment. In a static interpretation, the SGE has been viewed as an experiment that allows the determination of the magnetic moment of silver atoms. Based on the (...) concept of magnetic momentum arising from orbital angular momentum, the original experiment was designed in 1922 as an experimentum crucis to decide between Bohr’s quantum theory and classical electromagnetic theory, and its outcome was interpreted as a confirmation of the Bohr-Sommerfeld quantum postulates. After the advent of quantum mechanics, the SGE was reinterpreted in terms of magnetic moment arising from the electron’s spin angular momentum. In a dynamical interpretation, physicists have asked for the physical mechanism responsible for the quantization of the angular momentum with respect to the direction of the magnetic field. Although different suggestions were explored, none was ever accepted as fully satisfactory. Today this difficulty is seen as a paradigmatic instance of the unsolved quantum measurement problem. (shrink)
Inspired by a question that Einstein had asked him, Piaget analyzed the child's conception of time with a series of experiments that were published in book form in 1946. I briefly recapitulate Piaget's analysis as an interpretation of the conception of absolute time in classical physics. Piaget's suggestions as to how the analysis would carry over to a genetic understanding of time in the special theory of relativity are reviewed. In light of Piaget's work, some observations are made about Einstein's (...) 1905 paper on the `Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.' The specific transformational operations that mediate between the viewpoints of different inertial observers are characterized as a basis for the cognitive restructuring of spatio-temporal concepts in the relativistic context. (shrink)