This volume has two primary aims: to trace the traditions and changes in methods, concepts, and ideas that brought forth the logical empiricists’ philosophy of physics and to present and analyze the logical empiricists’ various and occasionally contrary ideas about the physical sciences and their philosophical relevance. These original chapters discuss these developments in their original contexts and social and institutional environments, thus showing the various fruitful conceptions and philosophies behind the history of 20th-century philosophy of science.
Logical Empiricism and the Natural Sciences is divided into three thematic sections. Part I surveys the influences on logical empiricism’s philosophy of science and physics. It features chapters on Maxwell’s role in the worldview of logical empiricism, on Reichenbach’s account of objectivity, on the impact of Poincaré on Neurath’s early views on scientific method, Frank’s exchanges with Einstein about philosophy of physics, and on the forgotten role of Kurt Grelling. Part II focuses on specific physical theories, including Carnap’s and Reichenbach’s positions on Einstein’s theory of general relativity, Reichenbach’s critique of unified field theory, and the logical empiricists’ reactions to quantum mechanics. The third and final group of chapters widens the scope to philosophy of science and physics in general. It includes contributions on von Mises’ frequentism; Frank’s account of concept formation and confirmation; and the interrelations between Nagel’s, Feigl’s, and Hempel’s versions of logical empiricism.
This book offers a comprehensive account of the logical empiricists’ philosophy of physics. It is a valuable resource for researchers interested in the history and philosophy of science, philosophy of physics, and the history of analytic philosophy.
Table of Contents
1 Introduction: From Philosophy of Nature to Philosophy of Physics 1
SEBASTIAN LUTZ AND ADAM TAMAS TUBOLY
The Rise of Philosophy of Physics 19
2 The Electromagnetic Way to the Scientific World-Conception: Maxwell’s Equations at the Service of Logical Empiricism 21
3 Kurt Grelling and the Idiosyncrasy of the Berlin Logical Empiricism 64
4 The Selection of Facts in Poincaré and Neurath 84
5 The Philosopher Physicists: Albert Einstein and Philipp Frank 121
6 On the Empirical Refutation of Epistemological Doctrine in Hans Reichenbach’s Early Philosophy 157
The Philosophy of Physical Theories 179
7 Carnap, Einstein, and the Empirical Foundations of Space-Time Geometry 181
8 Einstein, General Relativity, and Logical Empiricism 198
9 ‘Geometrization of Physics’ Vs. ‘Physicalization of Geometry’. The Untranslated Appendix to Reichenbach’s Philosophie der Raum-Zeit-Lehre 224
10 Did Logical Positivism Influence the Early Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics? 262
JAN FAYE AND RASMUS JAKSLAND
11 Why Moritz Schlick’s View on Causality Is Rooted in a Specific Understanding of Quantum Mechanics 283
12 The Legacy of Logical Empiricism 295
General Philosophy of Physics 313
13 Probability Theory as a Natural Science: Richard von Mises’ Frequentism 315
MARIA CARLA GALAVOTTI
14 From Physical Possibility to Probability and Back: Reichenbach’s Account of Coordination 336
15 Two Constants in Carnap’s View on Scientific Theories 354
16 From the Periphery to the Center: Nagel, Feigl, and Hempel
379 MATTHIAS NEUBER
17 Understanding Metaphysics and Understanding Through Metaphysics: Philipp Frank on Scientific Theories and Their Domestication
401 ADAM TAMAS TUBOLY
Sebastian Lutz is senior lecturer of theoretical philosophy at Uppsala University. He works on philosophy of science, philosophical methodology, and the history of logical empiricism.
Adam Tamas Tuboly is postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Philosophy, Eötvös Loránd Research Network, MTA BTK Lendület Morals and Science Research Group, and a research fellow at the Institute of Transdisciplinary Discoveries, Medical School, University of Pécs. He works on the history of logical empiricism and philosophy of science.