By Philipp Frank
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Extra info for Between physics and philosophy.
According to the latter, we cannot say that "in reality" the earth moves and the sun stands still, but only that the description of phenomena turns out to be simpler in a coordinate system in which this is the case. More than this was demanded of Galileo, however. He was expected to admit that the heliocentric conception was a mathematical fiction but that the geocentric one was a "philosophical" truth. It is readily seen that even this standpoint of the medieval authorities finds its analogue in our times.
No. 287. 54 BETWEEN PHYSICS AND PHILOSOPHY an enduring truth: "The assertion that the truth is here, and that an end has been made of ignorance and error, is one of the greatest seductions that there are. Assuming that one believes it, then the will to test, investigate, predict, experiment, is crippled: the latter can itself become wanton, can doubt the truth. " 27 Of these forces, however, at the turn of the century Mach was one of the mightiest. 27 Op. , No. 252. III PHYSICAL T H E O R I E S OF T H E T W E N T I E T H C E N T U R Y A N D SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY is the significance of present-day physical theories for the general theory of knowledge?
P. 37. ERNST MACH'S PHILOSOPHY 35 were to come out some day with the great discovery, that . . " 11 Other authors, too, point out the glaring contradiction that exists among the admirers of Mach between theory and practice. A peculiar theory of the nature of physical theories is set up, but as soon as physics really begins the positivist behaves practically like any other physicist. A follower of Mach can proclaim that physics has to do only with relations among sense perceptions, but the preacher of this doctrine speaks as a physicist exactly like any one else, about matter and energy, and even about atoms and electrons.