An interesting on footnote on Positivism:

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
... "Ernst Mach advocated a version of Occam's razor which he called the Principle of Economy, stating that "Scientists must use the simplest means of arriving at their results and exclude everything not perceived by the senses." Taken to its logical conclusion this philosophy becomes positivism; the belief that there is no difference between something that exists but is not observable and something that doesn't exist at all. Mach influenced Einstein when he argued that space and time are not absolute but he also applied positivism to molecules. Mach and his followers claimed that molecules were metaphysical because they were too small to detect directly. This was despite the success the molecular theory had in explaining chemical reactions and thermodynamics. It is ironic that while applying the principle of economy to throw out the concept of the ether and an absolute rest frame, Einstein published almost simultaneously a paper on Brownian motion which confirmed the reality of molecules and thus dealt a blow against the use of positivism. The moral of this story is that Occam's razor should not be wielded blindly"... Source

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    murbotmurbot Posts: 5,261member
    what
  • Reply 2 of 19
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    there are a lot of long words there
  • Reply 3 of 19
    wow.. intresting
  • Reply 4 of 19
    daverdaver Posts: 496member
    Well duh...
  • Reply 5 of 19
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Anyone prefer Vanilla Coke over the regular kind?
  • Reply 6 of 19
    murbotmurbot Posts: 5,261member
    Tought to do a line of vanilla coke man, it runs right off the mirror.



    I'll stick to the regular shit.



    *sniff*
  • Reply 7 of 19
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    That means... all AI posts are metaphysical (being that they are essentially nothing more than electrons on a server drive platter)... and therefore don't exist.



    FREE YOUR MIND....



  • Reply 8 of 19
    Audible sound has frequencies that cover a very big range,

    from about 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, meaning that the pressure at your ear

    oscillates back and forth 20 to 20,000 times per second. Each

    frequency gives a different audible pitch. Visible light has

    frequencies from around 4*10^14 Hz to around 8*10^14 Hz. Each

    frequency gives a slightly different visible color. Not only are the

    light frequencies much higher, but the highest one is only about

    twice the lowest one. The sound frequencies are much lower, and the

    highest one is a thousand times higher than the lowest one. So you

    can see that there's no direct match between the sound and light

    oscillations.



    There are two main differences between sound waves and light waves. The first difference is in velocity. Sound waves travel through air at the speed of approximately 1,100 feet per second; light waves travel through air and empty space at a speed of approximately 186,000 miles per second. The second difference is that sound is composed of longitudinal waves (alternate compressions and expansions of matter) and light is composed of transverse waves in an electromagnetic field. Although both are forms of wave motion, sound requires a solid, liquid, or gaseous medium; whereas light travels through empty space. The denser the medium, the greater the speed of sound. The opposite is true of light. Light travels approximately one-third slower in water than in air. Sound travels through all substances, but light cannot pass through opaque materials. Frequency affects both sound and light. A certain range of sound frequencies produces sensations that you can hear. A slow vibration (low frequency) in sound gives the sensation of a low note. A more rapid sound vibration (higher frequency) produces a higher note. Likewise, a certain range of light frequencies produces sensations that you can see. Violet light is produced at the high-frequency end of the light spectrum, while red light is produced at the low-frequency end of the light spectrum. A change in frequency of sound waves causes an audible sensation?a difference in pitch. A change in the frequency of a light wave causes a visual sensation?a difference in color.



    Fellowship
  • Reply 10 of 19
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    It seems like if we take the position of "positivism" then it puts a halt to speculation about things we don't know. How far would Rutherford have gotten if he didn't ponder atomic structure.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    At some point the senses have limitations---whether it be sound waves or science itself. What makes up the universe cannot be infinitely complex unless the universe is infinite.



    Either way you are depending on your reason to enable you to precieve what is there---at some point, we all practice a form of positivism.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by murbot

    Tought to do a line of vanilla coke man, it runs right off the mirror.



    I'll stick to the regular shit.



    *sniff*




    You gotta inject that stuff, man.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    der kopfder kopf Posts: 2,275member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    It seems like if we take the position of "positivism" then it puts a halt to speculation about things we don't know. How far would Rutherford have gotten if he didn't ponder atomic structure.



    A bit exactly, I would say. What we have here is, in my opinion, a choice quote that may very well be employed by Fellowship and his legion. For, if we take the quote on face value, we see that true positivism, and in extensio agnosticism (religious positivism, anyone?) is prone to error and mistake. Positivism, sometimes wrongly equated with the base scientific attitude, was itself dealt a blow by science man #1 (at least in the minds of the regular folk), Albert Einstein. Therefore, one may very well conclude that we should in fact embrace the unknown as well as The Unknown.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dmz

    At some point the senses have limitations---whether it be sound waves or science itself. What makes up the universe cannot be infinitely complex unless the universe is infinite.



    Either way you are depending on your reason to enable you to precieve what is there---at some point, we all practice a form of positivism.




    Yes of course. I have to reason out what's there. BUT I don't have to rely on only my own limited senses. If I think the atomic model could be pudding with raisins OR separated charges then I can think up and experiment to differentiate the two. In Rutherford's case it was scattering alpha particles of different energies. If an atom has a "solid" ball of charge in the middle I get one result, if it's mixed up positive and negative charges I get another.





    So what's so bad about that?
  • Reply 15 of 19
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    Yes of course. I have to reason out what's there. BUT I don't have to rely on only my own limited senses. If I think the atomic model could be pudding with raisins OR separated charges then I can think up and experiment to differentiate the two. In Rutherford's case it was scattering alpha particles of different energies. If an atom has a "solid" ball of charge in the middle I get one result, if it's mixed up positive and negative charges I get another.





    So what's so bad about that?






    I see what you mean----and that is the great part of true science---getting your data and correlating it ways that point to things that are unseen. Maybe your reluctance on this is that at some point, we can't say for certain what has/is happened/happening. I think the origins and nature of our species/universe is where this makes the biggest difference.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by majorspunk

    Einstein published almost simultaneously a paper on Brownian motion which confirmed the reality of molecules and thus dealt a blow against the use of positivism.



    Wouldn't positivism then apply, since the molecules were confirmed? I don't think this is really what logical positivism is anyway. Testable theories are part of it: If some phenomenon can best be explained by assuming the existence of some as-yet-unseen-but-can-be-verified-in-the-future particles, I don't see how that would go against logical positivism.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    After taking 4th year Chemistry courses I've decided against continued study and a Ph.D. This is mainly because I tend to find mathematics and physics tedious and boring. The heavy reliance on quantum theory in the senior levels of study pretty much ended my desire for further study. Yes, I had a romantic image of what a Chemist is, white lab coat and all. The point is that our senses are limited. We employ various instruments to further our sensory ability. (We cheat). But scientific observations from these instruments is already one part removed from our basic ability to "see". As things progressed we have reached a point where even our extra sensory instruments have reached their limitation, and we are now forced to make not only secondary deductions from these secondary sensory instruments, but tertiary and even quaternary deductions. So now we have four degrees of separation between our primary senses and "observable" science, yet we still do not have a satisfactory explanation of how things really work. It would seems to me with the latest scientific thoughts, that we have crossed into the realm of "metaphysics", whether we care to admit to it or not.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    Logical Positivism, as I have encountered it (ALbert Ayers, early B Russell, the Vienna Circle, missunderstood early Wittgenstein, etc.) believed that the logical structure of Reasoning and Language, and hence Truth and 'meaning', were directly related to and dependant upon the Logical structure of some primary irreducible conceptual/empirical entities 'out there' in the world.



    This idea was readily ridiculed by Wittgenstein himself when he visited the Vienna Circle (who revered him for his first book) and commenced to read from the Brothers Karamazov . . . . The Vienna Circle (Carnap et al) believed that poetry and fiction and art etc were basically only distrations with no sort of meaning that is meaningful.



    Also, Wittgenstein's later work, especially the Philosphical Investigations, went counter to his Tractatus Logico Philosphicus, and argued convincingly that meaning in language is more layered and nuanced than simple mathematical tautologies (as if these Brit philosophers never read their Kant's Critique!!!!) and that Language, Meaning, and even Truth, were 'forms of life' and were integral parts of living in cultures and communities with histories and layered lives.



    Positivism, as a philosophical endeavor, pretty much ended in the first half of the 20th century . . . with the exception of a few holdouts here and there . . . . but then again there are still people who believe that the Earth is flat . . .
  • Reply 19 of 19
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