Sie sind auf Seite 1von 6

George mpantes mathematics teacher

Physics, metaphysics, Duhem and Aristotle . Introduction . When in antiquity was found an untitled paper of Aristotle, following his work !"#$ %hysics& , the editors of the first century ga'e it the title ()*$ !"#$ +after physics ,. -ince, this term +metaphysics, is used for the studies that are going .eyond the material world of physics, reaching the essence or core of an assumed a.solute and ultimate reality which is deeper than phenomena. /any people, for reasons related to our mental history, .elie'e that such a reality e0ists, there is a perfect world .eyond the realm of imperfect matter. 1n religions this world is approached .y Apocalypse or other channels that transcend the senses. 1n western philosophy metaphysics installed with the 2 world of ideas of %lato, from which our senses draw a distorted picture of the true reality. 3eyond the reality, there is the true reality. 4his is not reached .y the e0periment or o.ser'ation, it is .eyond human action, is without any reference to the area of human senses. 4his is the concept of metaphysics with which physics, grounded in e0periment and mathematics, stopped any relation. 4his mutual isolation of physics and metaphysics is due for 5uhem that metaphysics, natural philosophy and cosmology on the one hand pertain to realities that are hidden and that underlie the phenomenal appearances accessi.le .y the senses , while physics on the other hand pertains only to o.ser'ed phenomena. 6or him the current element of Ampere, .elongs to metaphysics as(
..the action of an element of current on a magnet +Ampere7s law, cannot .e o.ser'ed8 such an action has no real e0istence 8 it is merely a mathematical fiction which ser'es as intermediary for calculating the action of a closed uniform current on a magnet 9 Duhem

4his duality in the theories of natural world +o.ser'a.le and hidden, transfers the old de.ate of the masters of Greek thought , %lato and Aristotle. 1n %lato:s %hysics, metaphysics, Aristotle, 5uhem

George mpantes mathematics teacher

opinion, the role of the astronomer was to find the means to successfully record and predict cosmic phenomena. 1t was not important that these means .e related to the real physical mechanism that caused the phenomena. 4herefore, %lato felt that it was completely accepta.le for astronomers to rely on theoretical constructs that .ore no relation to real physical constructs as long as they pro'ided a means to ; save the phenomena,; i.e. they .ore a strict alignment with o.ser'ations. Aristotle stood in direct opposition to %lato:s opinion. 6or Aristotle, the real physical constructs were more important than constructing purely theoretical models that ser'ed only for tracking celestial occurrences. Aristotle was not content to merely o.ser'e the hea'ens, he wasted to understand them.
9.1f there is not something inconcei'a.le, hidden under the phenomena, .ut all were percepti.le, we would ha'e science for nothing, e0cept if one says that the sensations are science. +Aristotle ,metaphysics 999b1, .

Einstein locates this understanding in the case of <ewton7s theory, which was the .iggest opponent of metaphysics. =e writes commenting on the 2capture7 of the a.solute space that(
9what is essential is that apart from the o.ser'a.le o.>ects, something that is not sensible must to be regarded as real, to .ecome realities the acceleration or rotation 9.

Schlic writes that science is the truth and philosophy the meaning, .ut the issue we consider, science is the 2physical7 a0ioms and philosophy the metaphysical assumptions of a physical theory. 4he relation 6?ma is a physical a0iom .ut a.solute space is a metaphysical principle. @ach great physicist hides a metaphysician. Another metaphysical component is <ewton7s gra'itation attraction if we read Descartes(
91n order to understand this we must not only assume that each material particle is animated .y a large num.er of di'erse souls that do not distur. each other , .ut also that these souls of material particles are endowed with Anowledge of a truly di'ine sort, so that they may Anow without any medium what takes place at 'ery great distances accordingly.. and act

Duhem,s 1 views .
1

%ierre 5uhem +BCDBEBFBD,, another important early %ositi'ist, studied physics at the

@cole <ormale in %aris, where he recei'ed a doctorate in physics, and was a professor of physics at the Gni'ersity of 3ordeau0 for most of his career. =is principal interest was physical chemistry, where he aspired to recast the theoretical foundations of chemical processes on the .asis of a generaliHed thermodynamics.

%hysics, metaphysics, Aristotle, 5uhem

George mpantes mathematics teacher

4his understanding& is the link of physics with metaphysics, for 5uhem. 5uhem denies that physical theory has any e0planatory function in science8 only metaphysics is a.le to e0plain and metaphysics has no place in physics. 9..%hysical theory ne'er gi'es us an e0planation of e0perimental laws8 it ne'er
re'eals realities hiding under the sensi.le appearances8 .ut the more complete it .ecomes , the more we apprehend that the lo!ical order in which theory orders the e0perimental laws is the reflection of an ontological order8 the more we suspect that the relations it esta.lishes among the data of o.ser'ations correspond to real relation among things , and the more we feel that theory tends to .e a natural classification9Duhem

.& 1t is the idea of 5uhem

that highlights the continuity of science through conceptual re'olutions.

3ut this natural classification& refers to metaphysics. <ow metaphysics for 5uhem is a component in e'ery physical theory, that is e'ol'ing from theory to theory.

9A physical theory can .e .roken into two distinct parts( the representative and
the 2e"planatory7. 4he first classifies laws +phenomena, while the second seeks to 2capture7 reality under the phenomena. 4he second, the e0planatory has no logical structure and is associated with the researcher7s metaphysical .eliefs. When the progress of e0perimental physics opposes a theory forcing it to .e modified, then the e0planatory part of the old theory is eliminated to gi'e the place to another e0planation9 A representati'e theory constructed for some special cases will .e later modified, e0tended, and generaliHed to more inclusi'e domains. +5uhem ( the aim and structure of physical theory,

-o the premise of Aristotle( 2each free body tends to move itself looking for its natural place was re>ected from the e0periments of Galileo which ascertained the mo'ement of earth, negating the Aristotelian natural places . Ine can distinguish in metaphysics something like a spiritual instinct .ehind the physical theory, or like an e'erlasting undiagnosed condition which e0ists in the mapping of the human e0perience to a comprehensi'e program. 4he natural place& .ecame metrical field of space.

4he metaphysical component of any physical theory is the personal


assumption that makes the researcher, that gi'es meaning to empirical data, .ecause we can7t perform any e0periment in the time of his assumptions. 4he a.solute space of <ewton 2tied7 his dynamic theory of motion, .ut <ewton could not e0periment on a.solute space, which was a.olished when the e0periment failed.

%hysics, metaphysics, Aristotle, 5uhem

George mpantes mathematics teacher

9.scanning this metaphysical meaning referring to things, it is fruitful for physics ,


which finds only relations without meaning for the reality,9the contri.ution is that it pro'ides the moti'ation to the scientist for wonderful disco'eries9 Duhem, the aim9

-o it seems that some traces of metaphysics, remain yet in the roots of any physical theory( it is the human meanin! that e'ery physical theory gi'es for the world, through a limit assumption, unpro'en e0perimentally for the time .eing +metaphysical component,, to .e 'erified or refused from future e0periments. -uch a metaphysical assumption is necessary for the e0planation of physical world. A knowledge without these assumptions will .e addressed to some artificial intelligence rather than human. 1n so far, physics history seem to 'erify 5uhem7s o.ser'ations, although 2fanatic7 physicists claim that they ha'e not need of any meaning, that they want only the math operation, producing results that are 'erified .y the e0periments.J 3ut so the mathematicians are the new wiHards of the race, much like in the depths of the history of homo sapiens. 4hey are the new metaphysicists far of common sense and human intuition.

=owe'er it is clear today

that /a0well

unified electricity and optics .ecause he .elie'ed that attri.uted a meaning to nature through this unification. 4his was his moti'ationK 4oday we find in his electromagnetic model the metaphysical constructions that intended in this unification. 4he 2displacement current 7, ne'er noticed, was necessary to produce the wa'e equation. @'en the ether, that no e0periment disclose its e0istence, was necessary for the propagation of the wa'e. 4he metaphysical construction, the image in mind, predates the mathematical construction. 3ut ether theory shot down when an optical e0periment pro'ed that this element was a ghost.

4he only o.>ects of theoretical physics is to calculate results that can .e

compared with e0periment8 and it is quite unnecessary that any description of the whole course of the phenomenon should .e gi'en 9Dirac# <ow 5irac sa'es the phenomena

%hysics, metaphysics, Aristotle, 5uhem

George mpantes mathematics teacher

$he Aristotelian metaphysics .


Aristotelian ;physics; is different from what we mean today .y this word, not only to the e0tent that it .elongs to antiquity whereas the modern physical sciences .elong to modernity, rather a.o'e all it is different .y 'irtue of the fact that Aristotle:s ;physics; is philosophy, whereas modern physics is a positi'e science that presupposes a philosophy....%artin &eide!!er

1s it possi.le a penetration of Aristotelian metaphysics physical theory todayL

in modern

physical theoriesL Aristotelianism can .e attri.uted as 2e0planatory7 shape in 4he .asic assumption is the 2 purpose of natural processes. 1t is the final cause that we must study in each process of nature. 4here are other metaphysical assumptions in Aristotle, for e0ample, the prime matter, the entelechy, the prime mover, the potential reality etc. and the historical challenge is to in'estigate if they ha'e met science, how they ha'e changed or not .y science in a new e0planatory form&, or they are a mythological description of nature..
1f the first, comes the question whether the entire Aristotelian metaphysics remains a metaphysical skeleton of modern science, an e0planatory component of some of

it7s .oundary points. 4his .elief is gaining ground. /odern physical philosophers and physicists +%ope, Is.orn, -rupes9, return to Aristotelian principles, trying to descri.e the holistic Gni'erse. -ome questions in this direction are( What physical concept is approached .y the concept of prime matterL 1s it energyL 1s it fruitful to think the prime matter when we speak of energyL <amely, energy is the e'olution of prime matter in 5uhem7s logical order in which the theory classifies e0perimental lawsL /atter in physics is closer to the metaphysical model of 5emocritus or AristotleL 1s it related the prime mo'er of Aristotle to the a.solute space of <ewtonL With the metric field of spaceEtimeL 4he final cause of Aristotle is related to the principle of least actionL %hysics and chemistry can e0plain the phenomenon of lifeL 4he 2will7 of electron is descri.ed .y Aristotelian entelechyL

%hysics, metaphysics, Aristotle, 5uhem

George mpantes mathematics teacher

4he 2many stories7 of 6eynman, or the potential particles, are related with 2potential7 reality of AristotleL 4he quantum ontology can .e attri.uted to Aristotelian ontologyL 4he in'estigation of such proposals will assign a meaning to modern physics , considering +from the history, that such a meaning is a necessary component of it, until a new metaphysical description +meaning, is proposed . Aristotles motion and modern physics www' mpantes' !r .

%hysics, metaphysics, Aristotle, 5uhem