The Relativistic Deduction: Epistemological Implications of the Theory of Relativity With a Review by Albert Einstein and an In by Émile MeyersonThe Relativistic Deduction: Epistemological Implications of the Theory of Relativity With a Review by Albert Einstein and an In by Émile Meyerson

The Relativistic Deduction: Epistemological Implications of the Theory of Relativity With a Review…

byÉmile MeyersonTranslated byDavid A. Sipfle, Mary-Alice Sipfle

Paperback | October 13, 2011

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When the author of Identity and Reality accepted Langevin's suggestion that Meyerson "identify the thought processes" of Einstein's relativity theory, he turned from his assured perspective as historian of the sciences to the risky bias of contemporary philosophical critic. But Emile Meyerson, the epis­ temologist as historian, could not find a more rigorous test of his conclusions from historical learning than the interpretation of Einstein's work, unless perhaps he were to turn from the classical revolution of Einstein's relativity to the non-classical quantum theory. Meyerson captures our sympathy in all his writings: " . . . the role of the epistemologist is . . . in following the development of science" (250); the study of the evolution of reason leads us to see that "man does not experience himself reasoning . . . which is carried on unconsciously," and as the summation of his empirical studies of the works and practices of scientists, "reason . . . behaves in an altogether predict­ able way: . . . first by making the consequent equivalent to the antecedent, and then by actually denying all diversity in space" (202). If logic - and to Meyerson the epistemologist is logician - is to understand reason, then "logic proceeds a posteriori. " And so we are faced with an empirically based Par­ menides, and, as we shall see, with an ineliminable 'irrational' within science. Meyerson's story, written in 1924, is still exciting, 60 years later.
Title:The Relativistic Deduction: Epistemological Implications of the Theory of Relativity With a Review…Format:PaperbackPublished:October 13, 2011Publisher:Springer NetherlandsLanguage:English

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ISBN - 10:9401088055

ISBN - 13:9789401088053

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Table of Contents

The Relativistic Deduction.- Preface.- 1. The Quantitative.- 1. The Role of Mathematics.- 2. How Positivism Explains this Role.- 3. The Inadequacy of this Explanation.- 4. The Importance of Quality.- 5. Quality and Action.- 6. Quantity and the Nature of Things.- 7. Change and its Explanation.- 8. The Artistic Point of View.- 9. Conflicts and their Resolution.- 10. The Flux of the Quantitative.- 11. The Intelligibility of Reality.- 12. Auguste Comte's Protest.- 2. Reality.- 13. The Preservation of Reality.- 14. Sensation and the Object.- 15. The Search for Consistency.- 16. The Objects Created by Science.- 17. The Attitude of the Philologist.- 18. Reality and Appearance.- 19. The Positivistic Point of View.- 20. Transcendence.- 21. The True Place of Theory in Science.- 22. Planck on the Retreat from 'Anthropomorphism'.- 3. The Spatial.- 23. The Agreement between Mathematics and Reality.- 24. The Quantitative in Space.- 25. Deduction According to Descartes and According to Hegel.- 26. The Corporeity of Geometrical Figures.- 27. Explanation by Geometrical Figures.- 28. Geometry and Algebra.- 29. Explanation by Motion.- 4. The Principle of Inertia.- 30. Absolute Motion.- 31. The Vis Impressa.- 32. Motion as a State.- 33. Velocity as Substance.- 34. The Action of Space.- 35. The Copernicans.- 36. Newton and Kant.- 37. Space and Inertial Motion.- 38. Aristotle's Explanation and Ours.- 39. Two Possible Kinds of Explanation.- 40. Geometry and Rationality.- 41. Impact.- 5. Relativism, a Theory About Reality.- 42. The Evolution of the Notion of Space.- 43. Theories Based on Principles and Theories Based on Representations.- 44. Relativism and Phenomenalism.- 45. Einstein's Opinion.- 46. Eddington.- 47. Langevin, Borel, Jean Becquerel, Weyl and Marais.- 48. Reality as Independent of the Observer.- 49. From Common Sense to Relativism.- 50. Positivistic Declarations.- 51. The Metaphysics of Laws.- 52. The Idealistic Interpretation.- 53. The Name of the Theory.- 54. The Reality of Time and Space.- 55. The Vehemence of the Controversy.- 56. The Popularizations.- 57. The Level of Knowledge.- 58. Mathematics and Philosophy.- 59. The General Public and the Elite.- 6. Gravitation.- 60. The Mystery of Newtonian Gravitation.- 61. The Relativistic Solution.- 62. The Spatial Nature of the Theory.- 63. The Analogy with Previous Theories.- 64. Projectile Motion and Gravitation.- 7. Time.- 65. Minkowski's View.- 66. The Views of Langevin and Wien.- 67. The Views of Sommerfeld, Cassirer and Weyl.- 68. The Views of Einstein, Eddington and Cunningham.- 69. The Spatialization of Time in Relativism.- 70. The Irreversibility of Phenomena.- 71. The Source of the Relativistic Exaggerations.- 72. Identity in Time.- 73. The Spatialization of Time in the Past.- 74. The Dissymmetry between Time and Space.- 75. Carnot's Principle and Plausibility.- 8. Electrical Phenomena.- 76. The Experimental Bases of Relativism.- 77. Relativism and Optics.- 78. Einstein's Theory does not Explain Electricity.- 79. The Prime Phenomenon.- 80. Explanation of Electrical Phenomena.- 81. Purely Geometrical Reality.- 9. Biological Phenomena.- 82. Mental Phenomena.- 83. Vital Phenomena.- 84. The Vital and Hyperspace.- 10. Universal Explanation.- 85. Relativism as a System of Universal Deduction.- 86. Relativistic Geometry is Still Deductive.- 87. Relativism and Descartes's System.- 88. Relativism and Hegel's System.- 89. The Limits of the Three Systems.- 90. The Universality of the Relativistic Deduction.- 91. The Return to Reality.- 92. The Mind Rediscovered in Nature.- 11. Matter.- 93. Matter Resorbed into Space.- 94. The Relativist's Reservations.- 95. The 'Approved Methods' of Physics.- 96. Relativistic Space and the Hegelian Categories.- 97. The Advantage of Spatial Deduction.- 98. The Given in the Relativistic Deduction.- 99. All Reasoning Begins with Perception.- 100. The Tendency toward Idealism and Realistic Convictions.- 12. Essence and Existence.- 101. The Nature of this Distinction.- 102. Its Role in Medieval Thought.- 103. Its Role in Modern Philosophy.- 104. Its Role in Relativism.- 13. Diversity.- 105. The Simplification Brought About by Relativism.- 106. Where has Physical Reality Gone?.- 107. Irreversibility.- 108. Relativism Makes the Situation Worse.- 109. Discontinuity.- 110. Absolute Measures.- 111. The Concept of the Atom.- 112. Quanta.- 113. Relativism and Quanta.- 114. The Physical Resists Reduction.- 14. Interpretation.- 115. Abstract Number and Concrete Magnitude.- 116. The Relativist's Illusion.- 117. Even the Relativistic Concept of the Spatial is the Result of Interpretation.- 15. The Relativistic Imagination.- 118. The Existence of a Limit.- 119. The Imaginary Quantity in Algebra.- 120. Spatial Image and Algebraic Formula.- 121. Poincaré's Prediction.- 122. The Indeterminateness of the Limit.- 16. The Appeal of Relativism.- 123. The Initiates.- 124. The Attraction of Hegelianism.- 125. Comparison with Relativism.- 126. The Conviction Created by the Deduction.- 127. The Physicists and Bohr's Theory.- 128. The Positivistic Explanation of this Attitude.- 129. The Inadequacy of this Explanation.- 130. The Appeal of Rational Explanation.- 131. Its Appeal for the Relativist and for the Hegelian.- 132. The Advantage of Scientific Concepts.- 133. The Success of Relativism.- 17. The Deducible and the Real.- 134. Eddington's and Weyl's Doubts.- 135. The Contradiction.- 136. Is Relativistic Reality Reverting to the Self?.- 137. The Subjectivistic Affirmations are Beside the Point.- 138. Where Does this State of Mind Come From?.- 139. Weyl and Schelling.- 140. The Opposition Between Thought and Reality.- 141. The Characters of the Novelist and the Playwright.- 142. The Historicity of Jesus.- 143. This has Nothing to do with the Unpredictability of the Vital.- 144. There are Degrees of Rationality.- 145. The Conflict between Realism and Acosmism.- 146. Nonrational Laws.- 147. Reality does not Disappear.- 18. The System.- 148. The Relativists and Kant.- 149. Kantian Space and Time as Forms of the Mind.- 150. Relativistic Time and Space as Separate from the Self.- 151. The 'Copernican' About-Face in Kant and in Relativism.- 152. Temporal and Spatial Intuition.- 153. The Superposition of the Two Points of View.- 154. Mathematics in Relativism and in Kant.- 155. Relativism is a Scientific Mathematicism.- 156. It is not Empirical.- 157. Philosophical Panmathematicism.- 158. Geometrism and Alge brism.- 159. Geometrism as an Intermediate Step.- 160. Plato.- 19. Relativism and Mechanism.- 161. Are the Two Theories Opposed?.- 162. Planck's and Wien's Positions.- 163. The Definition of Mechanism.- 164. Mass and Matter.- 165. The Electromagnetic Theory.- 166. The Smoothness of the Transition and the Positivistic Explanation.- 167. The Role of Experiment.- 168. Mechanical and Electrical Inertia.- 169. The Enigma of how Mass Acts.- 170. The Familiar.- 171. Touch and Action at a Distance.- 172. Touch-As-Sensation and Touch-As-External-Phenomenon.- 173. The Feeling of Volition.- 174. The Enigma of the Act of Throwing and its Explanation.- 175. Mass as Substance.- 176. The Link with Touch-As-Sensation.- 177. It is Broken in Electrical Theory.- 178. Electrical Theory and Anthropomorphism.- 179. Explanation by Substance.- 180. Mechanism as Explanation by Motion.- 181. How Relativism Resembles Mechanism.- 182. Why they were Thought to be Opposed.- 183.Acosmism and the Positivistic Illusion.- 20. Rational Explanation and the Progress Of Mathematics.- 184. The Transformation of the Notion of Space.- 185. Mathematics and the Origin of the Principle of Inertia.- 186. Reason, the Continuous and the Discontinuous.- 187. Mathematics and the Origin of Relativism.- 188. The Role of Analysis.- 21. Progress in Making Things Rational.- 189. Transitive Action.- 190. Becoming.- 191. Things Cannot be Made Completely Rational.- 192. Gravitation and Action by Contact.- 193. Gravitation is Transmitted Without any Intermediary.- 22. The Aprioristic Tendency and Experience.- 194. Was Descartes the Victim of an Illusion?.- 195. The Distinction between Science and Philosophy.- 196. Any General Scientific Theory Appears to be Philosophical.- 197. The Two Tendencies of Science.- 198. Why Chemistry Constitutes a Quasi-Independent Science.- 199. Qualitatively Diverse Substances.- 200. The Element as a Bearer of Qualities.- 201. The Element in Anti-Phlogiston Theory.- 202. Lavoisier, Prout and Mendeleev.- 203. The Triumph of the Oneness of Matter.- 204. The Two Tendencies within Chemistry.- 205. The Analogy with the Evolution of Physics.- 206. Descartes Neglects the Specificity of Phenomena.- 207. Experience Imposes this Specificity.- 208. The Role of Newtonian Gravitation.- 209. From Descartes to Einstein.- 210. Evolution in Other Areas of Physics.- 211. The Role of Experimental Observations.- 212. The General Concepts Preexisted.- 213. The Agreement between Reason and Nature.- 214. The Misunderstanding on the Part of Positivism.- 215. The Utility of the History of Science.- 216. The a priori Factor in the Creation of Relativity Theory.- 217. The Aprioristic Tendency and its Concrete Realization in Science.- 218. The Tendency as Creator of Illusions: Transmutation.- 219. The Realization of the Idea for Plato and Hegel.- 220. The Disappearance of the Idea.- 23. The Evolution of Reason.- 221. The Evolution of Reason for Hegel.- 222. Its Evolution in Relativism.- 223. Duhem's Objections.- 224. Science does not Return to Common Sense.- 225. Is Reason Immutable?.- 226. The Form of Reasoning.- 227. Logic Proceeds A Posteriori.- 228. The Process of Identification.- 229. The Impossibility of A Priori Prediction.- 230. Are the Concepts of Time and Space Part of Reason?.- 231. Up and Down.- 232. Properties of the Vertical and Geometrical Properties.- 233. The Evolution of Reason Brought About by Inertia.- 234. Physical Space and Geometrical Space.- 235. Proclus and Euclid.- 236. Reason and Sensation.- 237. The Conviction Created by Success.- 238. Has there been Analogous Evolution Outside the Sciences?.- 239. The Objective and the Subjective.- 240. The Give and Take between Reality and Sensation.- 241. It Takes Place in the Spatial.- 242. The Compliance of Reason Remains Incomplete.- 243. Why Reason Consents to the Required Sacrifice.- 244. Reason Abandons Elements that were Part of It.- 245. The Content of a Concept and its Extension.- 246. The Modification of Reason for Hegel and for the Relativists.- 247. Our Attempted Reform.- 248. The Utility of a Comparison with Hegel.- 24. Dogmatism and Skepticism in Science.- 294. The Perplexity of the Layman.- 250. Science is both Dogmatic and Skeptical.- 251. The Extravagance of the Relativistic Ideas.- 252. The Conflicts between Science and Theology.- 253. Science as a Substitute for Religion, According to Comte.- 254. The Importance of Disinterested Research.- 255. The Stability Postulated by Comte.- 256. His Error is the Same as Kant's.- 257. The Intervention of the Secular Arm.- 258. This Teaching Remains Without Echo.- 259. What can be Concluded From This?.- 260. Theological Reasoning.- 261. Its Progress, According to Saint Vincent.- 262. The Limit Imposed on this Progress.- 263. No Immutable Dogma in Science.- 264. The True Significance of Fresnel's Demonstration.- 265. The Significance of the Copernican Demonstration.- 266. The Significance of the Relativistic Demonstration.- 267. The Name of the Theory Once Again.- 268. New Facts and New Theories.- 269. The Convenient and the As If.- 270. Negative Dogmatism.- 271. The Scientist and the a priori Component of Science.- 272. Mach's Attitude.- 273. Anti-Einstein and Pro-Phlogiston Theorists.- 274. The Attitude of the Layman.- 275. Useless Excesses.- 25. The Outlook for the Future.- 276. Philosophical Reasons for a Return to Ordinary Time and Space.- 277. Is the Gain Proportional to the Sacrifice?.- 278. Can an Element that has been Abandoned by Reason be Reinstated?.- 279. As Science Progresses it Includes More of the Irrational in its Explanations.- 280. The Methods of Philosophy and of Science.- 281. The Explanations of Lucretius and Descartes and of the Moderns.- 282. The Complexity of Spatial Intuition.- 283. The Scientific Reasons for a Return.- 284. The Return Nevertheless Seems Unlikely.- 285. Will other Geometrical Axioms be Abandoned?.- 286. Will Spatial Continuity be Abandoned?.- 287. The Constant Progress of Mathematical Rationalization.- 288. Can this Past be Projected into the Future?.- 289. The True Nature of Reality.- 290. Extramathematical Deduction.- 291. Political Considerations.- 292. The Role of the Epistemologist.- Appendix 1. Review by Albert Einstein.- Appendix 2. Einstein-Meyerson Exchange.- Name Index.