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
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