Logical Empiricism and the Physical Sciences
From Philosophy of Nature to Philosophy of Physics
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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 essays discuss these developments in their original contexts and social and institutional environments, thus showing the various fruitful conceptions and philosophies behind the history of twentieth-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 essays on Reichenbach's account of objectivity, and the impact Poincaré on Neurath’s early views on scientific method, Frank’s exchanges with Einstein about philosophy of physics, and 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 essays widens the scope to philosophy of science and physics in general. It includes contributions, among others, 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
Sebastian Lutz and Adam Tamas Tuboly
Part I: The Rise of Philosophy of Physics
2. The Electromagnetic Way to the Scientific World-conception: Maxwell’s Equations at the Service of Logical Empiricism
3. Kurt Grelling and the Idiosyncrasy of the Berlin Logical Empiricism
4. The Selection of Facts in Poincaré and Neurath
5. The Philosopher Physicists: Albert Einstein and Philipp Frank
6. On the Empirical Refutation of Epistemological Doctrine in Hans Reichenbach’s Early Philosophy
Part II: The Philosophy of Physical Theories
7. Carnap, Einstein, and the Empirical Foundations of Space-time Geometry
8. Einstein, General Relativity, and Logical Empiricism
9. ‘Geometrization of Physics’ vs. ‘Physicalization of Geometry.’ The Unranslated Appendix to Reichenbach’s Philosophie der Raum-Zeit-Lehre
10. Did Logical Positivism Influence the Early Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics?
Jan Faye and Rasmus Jaksland
11. Why Moritz Schlick’s View on Causality is Rooted in a Specific Understanding of Quantum Mechanics
12. The Legacy of Logical Empiricism
Part III: General Philosophy of Physics
13. Probability in Physics: Richard von Mises’ Frequentism
Maria Carla Galavotti
14. Co-ordination, Reichenbach, and the Berlin Group
15. Two Constants in Carnap’s View on Scientific Theories
16. From Periphery to the Center: Nagel, Feigl, and Hempel
17. Understanding Metaphysics and Understanding Through Metaphysics: Philipp Frank on Scientific Theories and Their Domestication
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, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest, MTA BTK Lendület Morals and Science Research Group, and a research fellow at the Institute of Transdisciplinary Discoveries, University of Pécs. He works on the history of logical empiricism and philosophy of science.