Thursday, May 24, 2018

720: Ernst Mach....

It is an interesting start, this first decennium of the 20th century. On the one hand, philosophers like Schopenhauer (+1860) and Nietzsche (+ 1900) stood at the threshold of the century.
They left us with what I already mentioned in the previous lecture: How could rationalism win if the irrational, the instinctive is so prevalent in life? 
Does rationalism really mean progress? Instincts are older and stronger forces. 
Certainly, they can be more atavistic and primitive, and even a dark force at times. But what is the profit if you deny them?
But on the other hand there was a completely opposite movement developing, caused by the growing interest in experimental physics.
There was developing an attitude, which focused fully on empirical data, test and measurements: the belief that eventually everything is physics.
Today we are quite used to the idea, that chemical processes are caused by molecules which are in fact collections of atoms.
We are not upset, when some scientists claim, that we are our brain, that everything that goes on in us, which we call emotions,
is nothing more than a complex total of all  kinds of biochemical processes, that mental disorder is just malfunctioning biochemical processes.
This view on our reality was mainly born in Vienna and a main role was played by Ernst Mach (1838 - 1916).
He was an Austrian physicist and philosopher, noted for his contributions to physics such as study of shock waves. 
The ratio of one's speed to that of sound is named the Mach number in his honor. 
As a philosopher of science, he was a major influence on logical positivism and  American pragmatism. 
Through his criticism of Newton's theories of space and time, he foreshadowed Einstein's theory of relativity.
As I mention logical positivism, Ernst Mach was of main importance for the development of the Wiener Kreis (Vienna Circle).
His philosophical ideas were extraordinary. He puts science on a continuum with earlier human activity, in fact with earlier animal activity. 
What began as simple adaptations that allowed instinctive responses to immediate conditions, gradually evolved into ever more complex capacities for response. 
Gradually life acquired memory and thus an awareness of a wider field of spatial-temporal relations than is present immediately to the senses. 
Memory then grew beyond individual memory and became communicated culturally. Science is a direct outgrowth of this deep natural process.
To quote Mach himself: “Here I wish simply to consider the growth of natural knowledge in the light of the theory of evolution. 
For knowledge, too, is a product of organic nature. 
And although ideas, as such, do not comport themselves in all respects like independent organic individuals, 
and although violent comparisons should be avoided, still if Darwin reasoned rightly, the general imprint of evolution and transformation must be noticeable in ideas also.”
And further, “We are prepared, thus, to regard ourselves and every one of our ideas as a product and a subject of universal evolution;
and in this way we shall advance sturdily and unimpeded along the paths which the future will throw open to us.” 
And we live in the scientific future Mach foresaw....and there is more to tell about what we learnt from Ernst Mach. 
Thank you for your attention....

The Discussion

[13:22] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:23] herman Bergson: I think we are too used to such ideas...nothing controversial about them anymore
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we take it for granted
[13:24] herman Bergson: yes...but that is the amazing thing....
[13:24] herman Bergson: what I want to show you..
[13:24] herman Bergson: how the 20th century brought us this....
[13:25] herman Bergson: in 100 years we changed more thanin the forgoing thousands of years
[13:25] herman Bergson: that is..our thinking about our reality
[13:26] herman Bergson: What I tell you here is what you do not know...
[13:27] herman Bergson: the fact that the way you think about reality and its relation with science isn't hardly a 100 years old
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what happened that we are thinking this way?
[13:28] herman Bergson: But I just think...what  should I care about that ? :-)
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's suddenly
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and it all seem logical to us
[13:28] herman Bergson: yes..Bejiita...
[13:29] herman Bergson: we  take it for granted...are educated to think so in school
[13:29] herman Bergson: why it happened, Beertje....because of science...
[13:30] herman Bergson: Around 1900 people started experimenting with physics...
[13:30] herman Bergson: electricity, gasses
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i don't know to ask the question in english
[13:31] herman Bergson: all new to them....for us..ordinary stuff
[13:31] herman Bergson: I  understand Dutch Beertje :-)
[13:31] herman Bergson: I can translate your question too :-)
[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): er moet toch iets gebeurd zijn waardoor de filosofen anders gingen denken?....dat is een enorme verandering
[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): niet alleen de techniek, maar iets waardoor de mensen ánders naar de werkelijkheid gingen kijken
[13:32] herman Bergson: there must have happened something why philosophers got new ideas?
[13:33] herman Bergson: One thing you have to keep in mind is this...we are not talking about sudden changes...but slow processes
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): 100 years changes is not a slow process
[13:34] herman Bergson: everywhere at universities people were experimenting with electricity and gasses
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): 1000 of years were almost the same
[13:34] herman Bergson: no are right....but look at the speed of changes in our days?!
[13:34] herman Bergson: we had telephones on a wire.....
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes, we expect the changes to go fast
[13:35] herman Bergson: in less than twenty years we have smartphone addicts
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I always want to see the new gadgets:)
[13:36] herman Bergson: Looking at history and changes, you'll notice that the speed of changes increase
[13:36] herman Bergson: take gun powder...
[13:36] herman Bergson: in 1500 the managed to blow  holes in castle walls
[13:36] herman Bergson: in 1700 they had individual riffles
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): big mistake
[13:37] herman Bergson: in 1900 they had the back loader gun....
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): BOOOM BOOM!
[13:37] herman Bergson: somewhat later the automatic gun...machine gun....
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:38] herman Bergson: killed the old cavallery...
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): scary stuff for sure
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the human body has no value anymore
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but its been around for very long
[13:38] herman Bergson: in less than 10 years they had bombs thorn out of airplanes...
[13:38] herman Bergson: and so on and so on...
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): meaningless wars
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): at the end the earth will explode by us
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): earth
[13:39] herman Bergson: It is not the wars I talk is the speed of development...and unfortunately in arms you see that  too clearly
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): luckily and hopefully kim jong says he will stop with his nuclear arsenal
[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol. Bejiita, that's a good joke
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but still there are more of these things
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it seems a bit like what now? shouldn't you blow up the world?
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so im a bit split but it looks like progress is made
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): unless it is some nasty trap
[13:41] herman Bergson: this Kim fellow has given the world a bad example....
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the Swedish government is warning his people for war, isn't it Bijiita?
[13:42] herman Bergson: He has shown the world that you really have a say as a small country when you have nuclear bombs and rockets
[13:42] herman Bergson: Iran is next in its urge to dominate the middle east
[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): do we have to be happy with all the developments ?
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and Trump just declared war on them by closing the nuclear threaty
[13:43] herman Bergson: not at all, Beertje
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and intensified the war in israel-palestine
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not clear what will happen now
[13:43] herman Bergson: Yes.Mr. Trump is removing the USA from the political map
[13:44] herman Bergson: Makes it a country of loonies...
[13:44] herman Bergson: apparent loonies
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): why isn't there a leader who takes realy care for his people?
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): looney egos
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): just thinking of money
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): what life is that?
[13:45] herman Bergson: there is some explanation for that Beertje....
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): invest in education, food, health?
[13:45] herman Bergson: you see it happen in African countries...
[13:45] herman Bergson: presidents who refuse to step down....
[13:46] herman Bergson: it seems that psychologically people in positions of power get mentally changed....
[13:46] herman Bergson: Like Maduro in Venezuela...
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it seems to me that it's always a man.....
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:47] herman Bergson: they begin to believe that everything depends on them...and on the  other hand that there are dozens of com-plots  against them
[13:47] herman Bergson: Iguess it is a male disease indeed Beertje
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they just want more and more power
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): even everyone hates them
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its greed
[13:48] herman Bergson: No Bejiita...they just want to stay IN power....
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): taking all for yourself
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm but still
[13:49] herman Bergson: and it is a sickness, I'd say
[13:49] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they use the people
[13:49] herman Bergson: But we are too far off topic now :-)
[13:49] herman Bergson: So a good moment to Dismiss Class...:-)
[13:50] herman Bergson: Thank you all again for you participation
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): all data now safe on the new drive too
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman thanx all
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats good:9
[13:50] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): dankjewel Herman :)
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as usual
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ad an interesting class
[13:50] herman Bergson: congrats BEjiita! What a relief!
[13:50] bergfrau Apfelbaum: interesting again! danke Herman and Class!!
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes now i don't have to worry bout that
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok cu around

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