Saturday, October 23, 2021

951: From Metaphysics to Empiricism...

 We are following the history of knowledge. How has Homo sapiens achieved, what we now call knowledge and science?


We have talked about the first steps: the discovery of patterns in the world around him. The next step: discovering principles that governed those patterns.


This created knowledge, which means, based on these principles Homo sapiens was even able to predict the future state of affairs and events.


On the other hand, there was a lot he didn't know, could not explain. To deal with that part of his existence and reality he created metaphysics, gods, rituals and religions.


This led to situations, in which homo sapiens deduced from his metaphysical beliefs, how something should or had to be in reality.


A striking example is Pythagoras (c. 570 – c. 495 BC). He had some metaphysical theory about the harmony in the universe, which was reflected in mathematical relations.


This could in its turn be expressed by the relations between tones.

For that reason he experimented with strings and intervals. When you have two strings of different lengths and you pull those strings, each string will sound a different tone.


One tone will be higher or lower than the other. That difference is called an interval in musicology. Tones have names and intervals have names. I guess you all learned this in kindergarten: do(1), re mi, fa sol, la ti, do(2).


When you divide a string do(1) in two equal halves those two strings will both sound equally do(2). Sounding do(1) and do(2) together sounds good.


But what I want to make clear is, that when you use Pythagoras' math for dividing the string, things go wrong with the intervals. They will not all sound good.


If you tune a harp based on Pythagoras' principles the instrument will sound horrible. Aristoxenus (c. 375, fl. 335 BC) proved this and therefore decided


that not the theory, but the human ear should decide, the length of the strings that is to say when an interval does sound "perfect".


This was a first step in the human knowledge process where the empirical experience was used as the decisive test of a theory. This meant that Pythagoras' theory about harmonics was incorrect.


It took almost some1500 years for the human brain achieved to tip the balance between metaphysics / religion and empiricism in favor of empiricism.


The development and use of the empirical cycle is one of the greatest achievements in human knowledge and the Renaissance, especially Italy, is its place of birth.


It also played an important role in Visual Artes. Batista Alberti (1404 - 1472) published in 1435 his "De Pictura", the first book on the theory of art since Antiquity.


What is good art? According to Alberti should a picture of reality be so constructed that it looks as if you look through a window. 


To achieve this you need linear perspective and in his "De Pictura" he gives an extensive explanation, what the use of linear perspective means.


Linear perspective is a method of creating an illusion of depth on a flat surface. All parallel lines,  orthogonals, in a painting or drawing using this method converge in a single vanishing point on the composition's horizon line.


We'll talk some more about this in the next lecture, but what we can observe in the development of knowledge is,


that the awareness of empiricism being prior to theory was already present in Aristoxenus approach of intervals,


that it got its full shape in the work of the philologists and also found its way to musicology and visual arts in the Renaissance.


And what we can observe today is that in a relatively very short period of time this has caused an immense growth of knowledge.


In less than 600 years since then, man set foot on the moon....


Thank you for your attention....


MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rens Bod: "Een Wereld vol Patronen".  2019


The Discussion


[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:17] herman Bergson: If you have any remarks or questions...feel free...

[13:17] oola Neruda: B got his perspective looking at the work of the Romans...

[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): It is amazing how time just speeds up with more knowledge

[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:18] herman Bergson: It is like the explosive development of IT

[13:18] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Batista Alberti (1404 - 1472) published in 1435   this boy was only 11 years old when he publiced a book?

[13:18] Sousi (sousinne.ceriano): De Pictura was published when he was 11? =)

[13:18] herman Bergson: Yes oola also Alberti looked at the work of Plinius for instance

[13:18] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ha

[13:19] herman Bergson: sorry....1435

[13:19] Sousi (sousinne.ceriano) chuckles

[13:19] oola Neruda: nods

[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): genuis type i guess

[13:19] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): genius

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed

[13:20] herman Bergson: What I find astonishing is the tremendous speed of growth of knowledge if you see the developments of homo sapiens over the past 40.000 years

[13:20] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): right

[13:20] herman Bergson: Those people in those days were geniuses indeed Gemma

[13:21] herman Bergson: Very intelligent people

[13:21] Sousi (sousinne.ceriano): It has been speculated that man became self-aware relatively recently.

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): must have been

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not just those days tho

[13:21] herman Bergson: a 100.000 years ago, if I am not mistaken Sousi

[13:21] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we have many around toay

[13:21] Sousi (sousinne.ceriano): Without self-awareness, it's difficult to think in the abstract

[13:22] herman Bergson: Maybe 2.8 million years ago...homo habilis...

[13:22] herman Bergson: the use of fire....1.2 million years ago

[13:22] herman Bergson: It certainly is Sousi

[13:23] herman Bergson: But prehistoric  homonoids were social animals...

[13:24] herman Bergson: The use of tools and fire ....I don't know when full self awareness emerged...

[13:24] herman Bergson: at least it must have been a slow evolutionary process

[13:25] herman Bergson: And not only self awareness....also awareness of time is essential

[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah

[13:25] herman Bergson: Chimps, elephants and some other animals possess a level of self-awareness

[13:27] herman Bergson: Guess so, Beertje :-)

[13:28] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes she is not on line so i think crash

[13:28] herman Bergson: least we can conclude that the human brain is a peculiar instrument of which we still don't know its full capacities

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): very true i think

[13:29] herman Bergson: It can absorb a lot of information etc and produce knowledge in no time

[13:29] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): still evolving

[13:29] herman Bergson: amazing actually

[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes

[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i think we are just at the beginning of knowledge

[13:30] herman Bergson: Feel actually honored to have such a brain :-)

[13:30] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes beertje

[13:30] herman Bergson: Not bad in fact :-)

[13:31] herman Bergson: The future of knowledge will be a theme of a lecture indeed Beertje

[13:31] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yay

[13:31] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): nice

[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:32] herman Bergson: ok...sans sousi maintenant :-)

[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol

[[13:33] herman Bergson: Any questions or remarks left?

[13:33] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): not today

[13:33] herman Bergson: ok ^_^

[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it seemed quite logical everything, still amazing though

[13:33] oola Neruda: thinking of the engineering feats in the Rennaisance

[13:33] herman Bergson: A+ for you all :-))

[13:33] oola Neruda: that matched the other advances

[13:33] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you for sharing your knowledge with us :-) Herman!

[13:33] Ciska Riverstone is online.

[13:34] herman Bergson: Same feeling here, Bejiita

[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what does A+ mean?

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it stitched it together everything

[13:34] Lente (lentelies.anatine) is offline.

[13:34] herman Bergson: 10 met een griffel :-)

[13:34] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): better than A

[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): een bank vooruit en een zoen van de meester?

[13:34] herman Bergson: Vooral dat laatste Beertje ^_^

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we don't count by a b c Gemma

[13:35] herman Bergson: oops...that was Dutch :-)

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lacht

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): we do for marks for papers

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): teachers use

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): A for excellent

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): A+ is even better

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and Z

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ?

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): only goes to F

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): failure

[13:35] herman Bergson: US used A to F for marks....the Dutch do from 10 to 0

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and indeeed, u cant tune a piano with math, this is actually a thing me and a friend tried to do with a piano, not sure we used pythagoras formula but well that piano did not sound right either afterwards the few notes we tried it woth (we obviously did not had time to do the entire piano)

[13:35] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ah

[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but was a fun test

[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): math can do much but not all

[13:36] herman Bergson: can not tune a piano based on mathematical relations...

[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i once had an 11 on my report....

[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol

[13:36] herman Bergson: You have to manipulate at least the quint

[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): that is A+

[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!

[13:37] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats what we were testing

[13:37] herman Bergson: There is little to test....

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): so im very familiar with that process

[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): .)

[13:37] herman Bergson: it is a fact for centuries already

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): people still experiment with known failures

[13:38] herman Bergson: I have built and tunes a harpsichord in the 1980s....

[13:38] herman Bergson: 108 strings....

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ahha

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): scart

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats some

[13:38] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): scary

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): takes a while

[13:38] herman Bergson: it is a fascinating  thing to do

[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like threading a loom

[13:38] herman Bergson: yes

[13:38] herman Bergson: Now I use my ears for my cello ^_^

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Nice!

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats a thing

[13:39] herman Bergson: I love to play in tune

[13:39] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): nice

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): always a good thing doing

[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:39] herman Bergson: and to hear when I am out of tune a little

[13:39] herman Bergson: it is just fascinating

[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you need bigger shoes

[13:40] herman Bergson: The fact that you can do that by hearing....

[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): to play out of tune

[13:40] herman Bergson: I am standing next to them Beertje ^_^

[13:40] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i thought so already :))))))

[13:40] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): I have a good ear for things in tune

[13:41] herman Bergson: Yes it is a nice thing to have

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and when out of tune it instantly sounds like me at work before today wielding an angle grinder, WEEIIIOIOOOOEEEEIIIOOOOOOOOO!

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yikrd

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its strange that a small difference can sound so bad

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ouvh

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yrd

[13:41] herman Bergson: Nice instrument Bejiita :-)

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): yes

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): regarding noted

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ok

[13:41] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): i would not call that an instrument but its fun to irritate the pacaging department nearby with noise

[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:42] herman Bergson grins

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): also the boss need to notice im working

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not slacking

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): haha

[13:42] herman Bergson: lol

[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): running off now

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): oki gemma

[13:42] oola Neruda: good to see you Gemma

[13:42] Gemma (gemma.cleanslate): see you soon

[13:42] herman Bergson: Glad you are back Gemma

[13:42] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): glad i'm not in your neighborhood

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yeah

[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe

[13:43] herman Bergson: ok...thank you all again...

[13:43] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...

[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman

[13:43] oola Neruda: me too... they are discussing steve banon... in congress

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Nice!

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well in here its only classical music from the stream so my neighbours should be happy now

[13:43] oola Neruda: baiee

[13:43] herman Bergson: Enjoy oola

[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu oola

[13:43] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Oola

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