[extropy-chat] what is probability?

gts gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 9 19:34:20 UTC 2007

On Tue, 09 Jan 2007 13:37:43 -0500, John K Clark <jonkc at att.net> wrote:

> Lots of good scientists wax philosophic when they get older, but not  
> when they were young and productive;

Somehow I think Einstein would disagree, at least in his own case, though
I don't mean to paint Einstein necessarily as an accomplished philosopher
separate from his physics.

Concerning Einstein and Mach, I found this interesting tidbit on a
(bizarre) anti-Einstein webpage...

"Einstein initially adored Mach, and asked for his guidance and help. When
it became known, after Mach's death, that Mach rejected Einstein and his
views, Einstein ridiculed Mach."


The author seems to be making the rather nasty accusation that Einstein
criticized Mach's views (presumably his instrumentalist philosophy) not
because Mach's views were absurd to him, but out of spite -- because Mach
had rejected Einstein's theories. But I very much doubt that was the
reason. As I understand it, Mach had for many years maintained that
theoretical constructs should not be granted reality status; that
scientific theories were mere instruments for predicting empirical
measurements. Einstein on the other hand was always a realist wanting to
know what was really there beyond the world of appearances, so Mach's
disagreement should have been no surprise to him.

The point worth making here is that this was a question of *philosophy of
science*, specifically Einstein's Realism vs Mach's Instrumentalism. It
seems Mach's philosophy blocked his understanding of Einstein, and that
Einstein's philosophy enabled him to see deeper into the nature of reality.


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