Epistemological turn in contemporary natural science and the philosophy of science by A. Einstein

Ele­na A. Mam­chur
Insti­tute of Phi­los­o­phy, Russ­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences

Epis­te­mo­log­i­cal turn in con­tem­po­rary nat­ur­al sci­ence and the phi­los­o­phy of sci­ence by A. Ein­stein

Abstract. The arti­cle demon­strates that con­tem­po­rary phi­los­o­phy of sci­ence is enter­ing anoth­er epis­te­mo­log­i­cal turn. The author aims to iden­ti­fy Albert Einstein’s con­tri­bu­tion to this turn dur­ing his sci­en­tif­ic endeav­or. The first epis­te­mo­log­i­cal shift occurred due to the Amer­i­can philoso­pher Willard Quine with­in the crit­i­cism of the meta­physics and philo­soph­i­cal ontol­ogy as the main con­tent of meta­physics elab­o­rat­ed by the phi­los­o­phy of sci­ence in the sec­ond half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry and the first half of the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry. W. Quine reject­ed ontol­ogy as a doc-trine of being, com­mon to all sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge, in favor of the view that only indi­vid­ual the­o­ries have ontol­ogy, and intro­duced the con­cept of the epis­te­mol­o­gy of ontol­ogy. The func­tion of the epis­te­mol­o­gy of ontol­ogy includes deter­min­ing which ontol­ogy is bet­ter for sci­en­tif­ic the­o­ry to devel­op suc­cess­ful­ly. A. Einstein’s con­tri­bu­tion embraces the fol­low­ing results of his sci­en­tif­ic work. 1) Recog­ni­tion of the non-object nature of quan­tum mechan­ics and the the­o­ry of rel­a­tiv­i­ty, on the one hand, and, on the oth­er – their objec­tiv­i­ty in terms of con­for­mi­ty with real­i­ty. The very recog­ni­tion by such an author­i­ta­tive sci­en­tist as Ein­stein of the need to dis­tin­guish between the two aspects of the notion of objec­tiv­i­ty had made a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to the cur­rent epis­te­mo­log­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, mak­ing it more intel­li­gi­ble. 2) Changes in explana­to­ry strat­e­gy in sci­ence. They influ­enced the appear­ance of such a phe­nom­e­non as the “nat­ur­al” expla­na­tion, which does not require a search for caus­es and under­mines the sta­tus of the prin­ci­ple of suf­fi­cient rea­son by Leib­niz. 3) The attempts under­tak­en by Ein­stein to rec­og­nize the val­ue of non-clas­si­cal epis­te­mol­o­gy. The arti­cle shows that some­times Ein­stein delib­er­ate­ly devi­at­ed from Newton’s method­ol­o­gy. The lat­ter pre­sup­posed that the the­o­ry need­ed to rely on exper­i­men­tal facts and be con­sis­tent with exper­i­men­tal data, while he sug­gest­ed that the lead­ing part in the devel­op­ment of sci­ence was played by a the­o­ret­i­cal back­ground.

Key­words: meta­physics, philo­soph­i­cal ontol­ogy, ontol­ogy as a doc­trine of being, epis­te­mol­o­gy of ontol­ogy, changes in explana­to­ry strat­e­gy in sci­ence, nat­ur­al expla­na­tion, sta­tus of the prin­ci­ple of suf­fi­cient rea­son by Leib­niz

DOI: 10.5840/dspl20192454


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