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Explanation in the Sciences

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Emile Meyerson's writings on the philosophy of science are a rich source of ideas and information concerning many philosophic... Weiterlesen
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Emile Meyerson's writings on the philosophy of science are a rich source of ideas and information concerning many philosophical and historical aspects of the development of modem science. Meyerson's works are not widely read or cited today by philosophers or even philosophers of science, in part because they have long been out of print and are often not available even in research libraries. There are additional chevaux de !rise for all but the hardiest scholars: Meyerson's books are written in French (and do not all exist in English versions) and deal with the subject matter of science - ideas or concepts, laws or principles, theories - and epis temological questions rather than today's more fashionable topics of the social matrix and external influences on science with the concomitant neglect of the intellectual content of science. Born in Lublin, Poland, in 1859, Meyerson received most of his education in Germany, where he studied from the age of 12 to 23, preparing himself for a career in chemistry. ! He moved to Paris in 1882, where he began a career as an industrial chemist. Changing his profession, he then worked for a time as the foreign news editor of the HAVAS News Agency in Paris. In 1898 he joined the agency established by Edmond Rothschild that had as its purpose the settling of Jews in Palestine and became the Director of the Jewish Colonization Association for Europe and Asia Minor. These activities represent Meyerson's formal career.


Originally published in French in 1921 ( De l'explications dans les sciences, Editions Payot), this tour de force has been translated (by Mary-Alice and David A. Spifle) and briefly introduced, making available in English a major contribution to the history of ideas by a prodigious scholar who was


Book One The Two Fundamental Observations.- 1. Science Demands the Concept of Thing.- Etymology of the term explication.- Its customary meaning.- The position of Comte and Mach.- The metaphysics of positivism.- The order of nature.- The mathematical form of laws.- Qualitative laws.- The disappearance of genus.- Water.- The elements, according to Soddy.- The ideal gas and crystals.- Gersonides and St. Thomas.- Law, an ideal construct.- The law of inertia and Archimedes' principle.- Relations in relation to us.- Positivism and common sense perception.- The "immediate data of consciousness," according to Bergson.- The program of Mill and the true evolution of science.- Physics forbids the intervention of the subject.- Representational theories and abstract theories.- Thermodynamics and kinetic theory.- Thermodynamics and the concept of thing.- Objects created by science.- Theories and the essence of things.- The permanence of theoretical entities.- Geometry and material solids.- Burned sulfur and carbon.- Science destroys the world of common sense.- Where does the metaphysics of laws come from?.- Science is not positivistic.- 2. Science Seeks Explanation.- The goal of science for Bacon, Hobbes and Comte.- For Plato, Aristotle, Montaigne and Pascal.- The divergence between Comte and Littré.- The thirst for knowledge.- Newtonian gravitation.- Explanation in biology.- The Council of Brussels (The search for a physical theory.- Einstein.- Lorentz, Planck, etc..- The phenomenological stance.- What a positivist ought to have said.- The scientist and the ordinary man.- Magic.- Explanatory science.- Theory, a step in the direction of law.- Rankine and Maxwell.- Explanation and the concept of thing.- The two tendencies.- Book Two The Explanatory Process.- 3. Deduction.- Cause.- Sufficient reason.- Bossuet's image.- The necessity of the effect.- Cause and law; efficient cause.- Cause and reason.- Cuvier (The interdependence of functions.- The ruminants, their cloven hoofs and their horns.- The organism and the geometric curve.- Finalism in Cuvier.- Logical content and temporal relation.- The confusion.- Cause and ontology.- The weak foundations of theories: valence.- Werner's system.- Valence varies.- Impact.- The philosophers and Hume's demonstration.- Fictitious entities in theories.- Electrical theory.- Ockham's razor.- Theories are indispensable.- Phlogiston and acidum pingue.- Priestley, Cavendish, Scheele and Black.- The role of Lavoisier.- The prestige of theories does not come from the fundamental observations.- It comes from the deduction.- Deduction applied to laws.- of logical necessity.- It is a notion foreign to positivism.- The same schema but different reasons.- The theory disregards the ontological character of science.- 4. Rationality Postulated.- The postulate of rationality.- Even positivistic science to some extent presupposes it.- Comte and overly detailed investigation.- Comte and Mariotte's law.- Phenomena beyond the reach of lawfulness.- The world of atoms and subatoms.- Statistics and the underlying phenomena.- Temperature and Brownian motion.- Comte's real opinion.- Laws must be knowable.- Kepler's laws.- The genesis of his discoveries.- His field was particularly propitious.- Nature and genus.- The hierarchy of conditions.- Balfour's "fibrous structure" of reality.- The "subexistence" of laws for Bertrand Russell.- Comte and stellar research.- The scientist and the metaphysics of theories.- The reality of theoretical entities.- The true laws of nature.- Laws follow theories.- Kepler's laws and the Copernican system.- Approximate laws.- The "realism" of science for Bertrand Russell.- Sufficient reason and rationality.- The Stoics.- Logical relation and temporal relation.- Goblot's theory.- The true reason for the anomaly.- The Ionians.- Aristotle's theory.- The task of the physicist, according to Geminus.- Analogy with Hegel.- Galileo's adversaries.- Progress through deduction.- The forms of deduction.- They are easily substituted for one another.- Baconian empiricism.- Method in physics, according to Bouasse.- Method in the other sciences.- 5. Identity and Identification.- The identity of antecedent and consequent.- Leibniz and Plato.- Tautological identity.- Mathematical demonstration.- Hegel: identity contains diversity.- The necessity of contradiction.- Hegel's position and the antinomies of Kant.- Hegel and mathematical reasoning.- The dialectic and the going beyond.- Identity introduced.- The square of the hypotenuse.- The astonishment provoked by the demonstration.- The equality is restricted.- Poincaré's cascade of equations.- The proof and the concept for Hegel.- Leibniz's opinion.- The synthetic in mathematical proof.- The active role of the intellect.- The schema or process of identification.- Genus in mathematics and in physics.- Spontaneous identification and deliberate identification.- The reason the mind resists the demonstration.- The equality of cause and effect.- Persistence in time.- Diversification by space.- Mechanism and substantial qualities.- Implicit conservation and incomplete conservation.- What is conserved becomes a real thing.- The peculiar dignity of the principles of conservation.- Preformation.- Leibniz and his contemporaries.- Spermists and ovists.- The moderns.- Maeterlinck.- The appeal of preformationism.- Evolution and development.- Explanation by displacement.- Matter demands to be explained.- The operations of the mind are intertwined.- The influence of mathematics.- Little evidence of it in the ancient atomists.- Their theories derive from causal identity.- Aristotle's testimony.- Physical theory imposes identification.- It suppresses the statement of the envisaged goal.- The cause of the persistent.- Substance and its qualities.- The statement of the principle of sufficient reason.- The connection between temporal cause and the cause of the permanent.- The unity of matter.- Rational matter is space.- The properties of the ether.- Matter having only geometric qualities.- The world reduced to space.- 6. The Irrational.- The irrational, permanent limitation on explanation.- The mathematical irrational.- Sensation.- Leibniz's "mill,".- The attitude of science.- Mechanism.- The specific energy of the nerves.- Montaigne's point of view.- Hobbes' opinion.- Impressions of light and impressions of sound.- The maximum intensity of the sensation of light.- Protests from the philosophers.- The suicide of reason.- This irrational is an a priori notion.- The irrationality of diversity in Newton.- His predecessors.- Science partially explains diversity.- Carnot's principle.- The prototype of irreversible phenomena.- Eternal return.- The kinetic theory of Carnot's principle.- Probable distribution.- The box and the marbles.- The warm body and the moving body.- Change and probability.- Arrhenius's hypothesis.- The infinity of time and the infinity of space.- Arrhenius's hypothesis and kinetic theory.- The enigmatic given.- The improbable initial distribution.- Change understood as necessary.- The reality of atoms.- Ostwald's attacks.- Atomic electricity.- The victory of atomism.- The diversification and unification of space.- The analogy between the two irrationals of diversity.- The chemical irrational.- The chemical irrational and quanta.- The unexpected irrational.- Stellar motion.- The unpredictable form of the future irrational.- The elements and their explanation.- Partial rationalization of the irrational.- We shall never be able to deduce nature.- 7. Biological Phenomena.- The finalist in biology.- Vitalism.- The struggle between vitalism and mechanism.- The retreat of vitalism.- Bichat's position.- Modern day biologists.- Explanations, established and future.- The vitalist claim.- The antivitalist thesis.- Future biological irrationals.- Analogy with the chemical irrational.- Difficulty of determining the limits of the vital phenomenon.- Hysteresis, tropisms.- Liquid crystals, imitation of forms of life.- Artificial fertilization, movements of the amoeba.- Chemical synthesis.- Animal energy.- Grafting of dead tissues.- Their reviviscence.- What is alive in an organism.- What a vitalistic demonstration would be like.- Difficulty of making our reason apply itself in a dry run.- Montaigne's bladder stones.- The vitalistic claim is premature.- The weakness of finalism.- The adversaries of evolutionism.- The triumph of Darwin.- Its causes.- Finality implies consciousness.- The difficulties of this supposition.- The end must be in man's interest.- Omnipotence and infinite bounty.- A limited finality appears absurd.- Finalism can be useful.- Instinct and its reducibility.- Final cause, the sanctuary of ignorance.- Where Bacon was right against finalism.- Delbet's act of faith.- Driesch's explanation by geometry.- 8. Forms of Spatial Explanation.- A. Displacement from one body to another.- Displacement of an immaterial principle.- The attitude of modern physics.- The depths of space.- Le Sage's theory and radioactive bodies.- B. Folding.- C. Reduction in size.- The properties of Euclidean space.- The seed and the plant.- Infinitely small organisms in Pascal.- The flea and the elephant.- The cell and the molecule.- The molecular world.- The submolecular world.- Humanity's prescience and its limits.- The upper limit of our world.- Explanation by the infinitesimal has become more difficult.- D. The properties of geometric figures.- The ancient atomists.- Descartes.- Analogy with Lucretius.- Boyle and Lémery.- Stahl.- Qualitative conceptions in chemistry.- The attitude of chemists after Stahl.- The concept of the chemical element.- Constancy of the elements.- Their essential properties.- Affinity.- Qualitative physics.- It uses the concept of displacement.- The way atoms are grouped.- The chemistry of structure.- Stereochemistry.- Its merits.- Bäyer's valences, the new crystallography.- Werner's octahedron.- The prestige of this conception.- The qualitative element in stereochemistry.- The conceptions of Lavoisier and Prout.- The system of Mendeleev and Moseley's discovery.- The theory of Sir Joseph Thomson.- E. Explanation by motion.- The piston and the brake.- Analogies with reduction in scale and immaterial principles.- Absolute kinetics.- The limits of this means of explanation.- 9. The Possibilities of Scientific Explanation.- Possible combinations in Lucretius.- The moderns.- The formula and the properties.- The difficulties of the problem.- Chromophores.- Rationalization appears possible.- New irrationals may crop up.- Explanation of being and of becoming.- Qualitative theories.- 10. The State of Potentiality.- Aristotle.- The conservation of energy.- Force, matter.- Existence in itself for Hegel.- The objects of common sense.- The seed, the nation.- Historical hypostases.- A man's genius.- Fiction can be useful.- Color.- Usefulness of historical hypostases.- Potential existence and Ockham's razor.- The germ, evolution.- The degree of identity of the two terms.- Easy return to naïve realism.- Precision of the scientific notion.- The notion of potentiality in Hegel.- In Mnesarchus and in Spinoza.- Reason and contradiction.- Book Three Global Explanation.- 11. Hegel's Attempt.- The paradoxical appearance of the doctrine.- Its prestige.- The two logics and the two reasons.- Hegel's predecessors.- Schelling's claim.- It does not bear on logic.- The deduction of becoming.- Logic and metaphysics.- The deduction of reality.- Panlogism.- Nature is intelligible.- Hegel's disciples neglect his Naturphilosophie and even his logic.- What is of interest in the Naturphilosophie.- Descartes's work and his achievements.- Hegel's work is disconcerting.- The magnet and the syllogism.- The chemical process.- Hegel and the school of Schelling.- The scientific achievements of the philosophy of nature.- The scientific sterility of the Hegelian theory.- The infection of wounds.- The scope of deduction in Descartes and in Hegel.- Contingency and play in nature for Hegel.- Hegel and experimental science.- Hegel's knowledge of science.- The irrational in Hegel.- Its relation to the irrational in Newton.- Hegel appeals to direct sensation.- Hegel tried to discipline the irrational.- Mathematics and physical magnitudes.- The Anderssein.- Mathematical demonstration.- The law of falling bodies.- Power in mathematics.- Hegel's knowledge of mathematics.- Mathematics governed by abstract reason.- Philosophy must not imitate mathematics.- The distinction between the two reasons is an anomaly.- Rosenkranz's attitude.- The source of Hegel's distinction.- Scientific explanation rests on identity.- This is a tautology.- Science abuses hypothetical concepts.- It is useless to try to explain a chemical reaction.- The source of Hegel's epistemological opinions.- Hegel's epistemology and his logic.- What must be retained from Hegel's opinions and what must be rejected.- The dialectical process.- The quandary of the commentators.- For Hegel the irrational is unique.- Hegel's Vernunft does not exist.- Is becoming reasonable?.- Trendelenburg's criticism.- Evolution of the notion of becoming in McTaggart.- It ends up with Parmenides.- Science and becoming.- Science's successive compromises.- Science does not conserve the irrational.- One irrational or multiple irrationals?.- Everything seems to be connected.- The irrational is unforeseeable.- 12. Schelling's Objections.- The chimerical nature of Hegel's undertaking.- Schelling's Preface.- One does not deduce what is negative.- The driving force is the terminus ad quem.- The transition between idea and nature.- The causa sui.- Kant's criticism.- The prestige and the weakness of the Hegelian position.- Hegel's palinodes.- The apothegm of the real and the reasonable.- Schelling's idealism.- His philosophy of nature.- The implications of Schelling's attacks.- The position of the philosophy of nature in the two systems.- What exists, for Schelling, is given.- The spiritualization of reality.- The philosophy of nature is speculative physics.- His attitude toward experience.- Confirmation by experience declared necessary.- The difference between the two Naturphilosophies.- The given must nevertheless be recognized as consistent with reason.- The identity of nature with the world of ideas.- The philosophy of nature and transcendental idealism.- The disciples.- The solution cannot be complete.- Schelling's oscillations.- Maintaining the two points of view simultaneously.- The problem of Schelling's interrupted production.- His precocity.- The announcements that come to nothing.- The explanations of Kuno Fischer and Hartmann.- Bréhier's explanation.- The fragmentary character of Schelling's work.- His annoyance at Cousin.- The ambiguity of Schelling's doctrine disappears in Hegel.- Cousin and Hegel's Encyclopedia.- The source of his admiration.- Schelling feels a continuity between himself and Hegel.- Praise of Hegel.- Simultaneous attacks.- Positive and negative philosophy.- The new system and the philosophy of nature.- Hegel inspires Schelling to reconsider.- Schelling's innate realism.- The will.- Schelling must have hesitated to "betray" the idealistic movement.- He finally resigned himself to it.- The antiphilosophic reaction in Germany.- The value of Hegel's enterprise.- The complexity of Schelling's thought.- Schelling's doctrine more human than Hegel's.- 13. Hegel and Comte.- Hegel's attempt seems anachronistic.- His positivism.- Kepler's laws and the Newtonian reduction.- The chemical elements.- Science for Comte and for Hegel.- Analogy with Kant.- Hegel's margin and positive science.- It is a mistake of degree.- It is due to the spirit of the times.- Cousin's attitude.- Comte's influence.- Hegel's scorn for nature.- The stars compared to skin eruptions.- The "logical arrogance" of the Hegelians.- McTaggart's attitude.- The humility of science.- Hegel and Comte both disregarded explanatory science.- 14. Hegel, Descartes and Kant.- Experience in Descartes.- The continuity of the deductive chain.- The parentage of this conception.- Hegel derives from Kant.- What Kant deduced.- Hegel extends the limits of deduction.- Kantian deduction derives from Descartes.- The Baconian evolution.- Hegel is less bold than Aristotle.- Trendelenburg's criticism.- It would also apply to Descartes and Kant.- The a priori separated out from experimental science.- Necessity of this process.- The attitude of the mechanist.- Hegel's hope not unreasonable.- The empiricist evolution and its claims.- The scope of mathematical deduction in Kant.- The discontinuity of scientific deduction.- Galileo's attitude.- The hypothesis in Newton.- In Lavoisier, Priestley and Schelling.- Cauchy.- The abandonment of the mechanistic faith.- The contribution of Bacon and Comte.- The successes of theoretical science.- They are won by the route Hegel condemns.- Scientific explanation does not succeed everywhere.- Nowhere can rationalization be complete.- Mathematical deduction conforms to the order of things.- Neither Descartes's nor Hegel's attempt was absurd.- What explains the enormity of Hegel's failure?.- The sterility of Peripateticism.- Science's abandonment of quality.- The divorce between science and philosophy in Germany.- The "science" constructed by philosophers.- Science and philosophy cannot ignore on another.- Bradley's attempt at a delimitation.- Antiphilosophic reaction in Germany.- The union of science and philosophy in Descartes.- Book Four Scientific and Philosophic Reason.- 15. Science and Philosophic Systems.- What is the metaphysics of science?.- Common sense.- Scientific reason destroys the world of common sense.- The distinction between common sense and mechanism.- Scientific claims contrary to common sense.- The impossibility of a catholic doctrine in science.- The four solutions proposed.- Mechanism.- The attitude of the physicist.- Energeticism.- Its difficulties.- The thrust of science toward atomism.- Transcendental realism.- Mathematical idealism.- The Marburg school.- The idealistic affirmation.- The carbon atom.- The "spiritualization" of science in Schelling.- The divergent paths of science and philosophy.- Sensible reality.- Science and philosophy can approach each other on specific points.- Science and mathematical idealism.- The corporeity of geometrical figures.- Panalgebrism and pangeometrism.- The complete deduction of mathematics.- The mathematical form of knowledge.- Realistic and idealistic arguments drawn from mathematics.- Concrete numbers.- Aristotle's arguments against mathematicism.- Mathematical physics.- The world as necessary and the disappearance of coefficients.- The irrational and quality.- The future irrational.- The mental attitude of the biologist.- The mathematical form of the irrational.- The absolute beginning and the intervention of the divinity.- Pushing the assumption back.- The limits of this pushing back.- The panmathematical illusion and its source.- Idealism and positivism.- Positivism and Hegelianism.- Deductive positivism.- Deduction from the principles.- Deductive positivism is an idealistic conception.- Positivism and mathematical idealism.- The passage from idea to being.- Reality reconstructed by means of mathematical concepts.- Multiple transitions.- Gradations of the transition for Hegel.- The ataraxia of science.- The individual scientist.- His convictions fluctuate.- Common ideas.- Urbain's testimony.- The conceptions are implicit.- Common sense modified.- Philosophic theory and scientific construction.- 16. The Rationality of the Real Reconsidered.- The resemblance between Cartesian science and modern science.- This would be an enigma if science were positivistic.- It is explained by the role of deduction.- Kant and rational mechanics.- Plausible principles.- They are not immutable.- They yield to new principles.- They cannot be part of the "metaphysical foundations,".- Partial agreement in science and in common sense.- The process of common sense.- Unconscious and conscious processes.- The structure of the world of sensation.- Perceptions independent of the self.- The spatial form.- The empiricist theory.- It is inapplicable to scientific conceptions.- The objects of common sense change.- Common sense ontology.- The reaction of the individual to the environment.- The theory of evolution.- The postulate of perfect identity.- Rationality and the élan vital.- The rational and the useful.- The intellectus ipse.- The opposition between reason and sensation.- Hope for agreement in Hegel.- The opaqueness of physical fact.- Comte's position.- Hasty rationalization.- The superior rationality of the mathematical.- Laws and theories.- Descartes's deduction and ours.- The true task of the scientist.- Science and its applications.- The method of the scientist.- The sterility of the Baconian program.- Claude Bernard's observations.- The testimony of our contemporaries.- The search for the fiber.- Judiciary astrology.- Natural astrology.- Tables of measurements.- One cannot observe all the conditions.- Guyton de Morveau and phlogiston.- His experiments on Prussian blue.- They hold no interest for us.- The pseudosciences.- The calculation of probability based on statistics.- Nonexistent compounds.- The will to believe.- The ineffective or noxious remedies of the past.- The will to be cured.- The search for the fiber and the internal link.- Analogy.- Dissimilarities between phenomena.- The researcher dismisses them in his mind.- The familiar phenomenon.- The working of ordinary reason.- Instinct.- Communion with nature.- What it would imply for the scientist.- Clear ideas and obscure ideas.- Condillac's affirmation.- A decision and the reasons for it.- The scientist who does research and the scientist who reports his results.- Kepler's folly.- What is the source of Bacon's error?.- How it was able to persist.- The value of clarity.- The dignity of reason.- Croce's position.- The practical and science.- What an experimental result really is.- What the generalization of the results of science leads to.- The scientific gain from philosophic speculation.- Incentives coming from the a priori side.- 17. The Epistemological Paradox.- The prestige of the positivistic conception.- Parmenides, Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle.- The logical aspect: Leibniz.- Condillac.- The mind distorting fundamental identity.- Stanley Jevons.- The epistemological aspect: the atomists.- One forgets the philosophic origin of atomism.- Its continuity.- The testimony of modern scientists.- The philosophers.- Zeller and Burnet.- The principles of conservation.- Inertia.- The conservation of matter.- The conservation of energy.- Empiricist and aprioristic affirmations.- The real essence of the principles: Leibniz.- Kant.- Poinsot.- Hegel, Whewell.- Wundt.- Spir.- He overex-tends the domain of deduction.- Kroman, Tannery.- Planck, Gaston Milhaud.- Lalande.- Kozlowski.- Wilbois, Ward.- The discontinuity of the development.- Riehl.- Hegel.- His attack against science.- The fundamental paradox of science.- Science is theoretical and lawful at the same time.- The concept of experimental knowledge is contradictory.- The two currents coexist peacefully.- 18. The Oneness of Human Reason.- The intelligence itself is antinomic.- Reason and sensation.- Science, philosophy and common sense.- The diversity between science and philosophy.- The roundabout method of scientific reasoning.- The concepts of philosophy and of science.- Overly hasty deduction is antiscientific.- Hegel's error compounded by his very virtues.- The usefulness of the positivistic warning.- Relations between science and philosophy.- Common sense.- The science of the past and its teachings.- The planet Mars and phlogiston.- The domination of the reigning theory.- The fruit and the flower for Hegel.- The outdated theory.- The fruitful error.- The continuity of theories.- Hegel's thought.- Comte and the history of the sciences.- The variation in reason for Hegel.- What such a supposition implies.- Reason and new problems.- The new element implicitly preexisted.- The sphericity of the earth.- The relativity of space.- The spatialization of time.- Hypergeometry.- Duhem's condemnation is invalid.- Despite Hegel, becoming remains irrational.- Boltzmann's theory.- Reason is antinomic but immutable.- The catholicity of reason.- Appendices.- 1 The Precursors of Hume.- 2 The Resistance to Lavoisier's Theory.- 3 The Formula of the Universe in Laplace and in Taine.- 4 Arrhenius's Theory and Other Such Efforts.- 5 Hegel's Political Attitude.- 6 The Prestige and the Decline of Hegelian Philosophy.- 7 Abstract and Concrete Reason in Hegel.- 8 Hegel's Panlogism.- 10 The Philosophy of Nature and Scientific Progress.- 11 Hegel, Schelling and Chemical Theory.- 12 Hegel and National Science.- 13 Hegel's Artistic Sense and Sense of Rhythm.- 14 The Hegelian Dialectic and Experience.- 15 Schelling, Hegel and Victor Cousin.- 16 The Identity of Thought and Reality in Schelling.- 17 Schelling's Announced Works.- 18 Caroline Schelling.- 19 Personal Relations Between Schelling and 20 Hegel.- 20 Tycho Brahe, Astrology and the Motion of the Earth.- 21 Non-Euclidean Space and Physical Verification.- Index of Names.


Titel: Explanation in the Sciences
EAN: 9780792311294
ISBN: 978-0-7923-1129-4
Format: Fester Einband
Herausgeber: Springer Netherlands
Genre: Philosophie
Anzahl Seiten: 623
Gewicht: 1093g
Größe: H235mm x B235mm
Jahr: 1991
Auflage: 1991

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