Comprehensive coverage

Three Copernican revolutions

Is there a third revolution?

Zeev Levy

Three Copernican Revolutions Ze'ev Bakhler. University of Haifa, Zamora-Beitan Publishing, 432 pages, NIS 89

Prof. Zeev Bacheler's book, which won, and rightfully so, the Het Prize for the theoretical book

The best, is one of the original and important books in the difficult field of
The philosophy of science. What is the "Copernicus Revolution" every husband knows
Education, this means the conversion of the geocentric view of Ptolemy into a view
The dominant heliocentric theory in astronomy - with improvements by Kepler and Galileo -
To this day. The attempts of the Catholic Church to suppress, as contrary to my writings
The sacred - starting from Galilean being forced to publicly deny it to the elevation
Giordano Bruno on the focus 400 years ago, in 1600 they did not succeed
prevent her victory. It is perhaps appropriate to mention in this context the contribution of
Rabbi Eliyahu Delmadigo, who was a student of Galileo in Padua and the exile
He took his writings to Holland and saw to their publication there.

Those with a philosophical education know what the second "Copernican revolution" is,
who became familiar with Kant's teaching. Just as Copernicus did not pretend to say at the time
Because his teaching is the most real but proposed as the successful hypothesis
to explain the movement of the heavenly bodies in a better way than before, he claimed
Kant too - let us reverse the creation. instead of the usual assumption that
Concepts reflect facts, let's say the opposite, that is, the facts correspond
themselves to our concepts, or, as he said, not God but the human mind is the lawgiver
Laws of nature, which although later tried to soften you somewhat. in such a way
In his opinion, a better philosophical theory will be accepted, which will be able to explain what
that its predecessors prevented from explaining. However, while Copernicus believed that
His "revolution" will guarantee more real information, Kant's "revolution" is coming
To justify the lack of information as an answer to the failure of potentialism (on a concept
It's later).

This is, of course, a rather simplistic popularization of this strand in the philosophy of
Kant, but she explains very well his metaphorical use of the concept
His "Copernican Revolution". Copernicus "reversed" the order of the argument
From the earth as the center, which the sun revolves around, to the sun as the center, which the earth, together with
The rest of the planets revolve around her. Similarly, Kant reversed the order
From the facts to the concepts as a better explanation of the world of phenomena.

In the third part of his book, Bacheler tries to present the development of the sciences since then
Kant to our time as a third "Copernican revolution". without reducing
from the philosophical-scientific importance of this part, which is also the lion's share of
From his research, there is room to examine whether the title of "revolution" really suits him

to the first Copernican revolution, which we are used to seeing as a decisive change
In astronomy, a relatively small place is distinguished. already in the first part,
Engaged in this revolution until its completion by Newton, focuses on Keller in the head
And first of all in the philosophy of mathematics, and this passes as the other thread, even
Even more so, in the following sections, and clearly overshadows other aspects of
The natural sciences - and especially physics - which are mentioned from time to time. In this respect requires
The book requires its readers to have a good familiarity with mathematics, and especially with geometry,
Or more precisely the geometry. The author's claim that he tried to trick the
The task he received "in a popular book" (p. 15) therefore seems puzzling,
Unless you mean "popular" for philosophers of science
and mathematicians. Bacheler himself also admits, two pages later, that in obtaining
This goal failed, and that it is impossible to write a serious book that will also
Popular (p. 19), although this is also a claim that can be changed
in dispute

The pretended popularity of his book is expressed in the waiver of footnotes,
And in their place the book is slanted in a mirror of place in the body of the text itself, one of the methods
recently accepted in science books. They are, of course, also a consequence of the quotations
The abundance that Bahler brings from the words of the scientists and philosophers discussed in his book. there is
Also praise the openness and the clear concluding remarks at the end of each
Chapter, under the title "What will we have". Also the subtitles, which are in them
Sometimes a note of irony and humor refreshes the old discussion
and the awkward

The key concepts, which Keller uses a lot, are "potentialism",
"Actualism", "Informativism", and later "Conventionalism",
to which is added in the short epilogue, which is indeed seen as an artificial addition (on
Thus at the end of the list), the concept of "brutalism". In "informativism", which is
Attributes, among other things, to Descartes, and also to Galilean, referring to the trials
to derive moral conclusions from logic, which is fundamentally formal,
As it were, completely new information. A clear example is his announcement
Dickert's famous: "I think, therefore I exist", which rebels against
Aristotelian syllogistic philosophy.

The concepts of actualism and potentialism are developed by Keller in connection with the discussion on
Newton, where the first part ends. In this way he characterizes the
The first Copernican revolution as the "potential plan", whereas
the second as "the actual program". Actualism took the stage
Philosophy in the changes of Berkeley, Hume and Kant as an attempt to explain the
the actual phenomena, but in the spirit of the author's implied pessimistic view,
which talks about "the decline and depletion of the spirit in the 20th century" (p. 15), this
It has deteriorated nowadays to "the justification of ignorance, laziness, confusion and darkness, both
intellectually and ethically" (p. 16), a charge that requires an explanation.

In general, the word "confusion" is very fond of Bacheler, and he uses it frequently
To specify theories that he is flaming with you. The main thesis of the book is
It is therefore rather discouraging - the deterioration of philosophy and the sciences from the "peak".
the informative" in the 17th century to its depletion and its sinking into the void
Informative in the 20th century (p. 18). When Plato did not find in his time
A satisfactory rational explanation has fled to the myth - "The myth is
The answer" (p. 36) - but this way is closed, or should be closed
To the philosopher of science Dahidna, despite the existence of many myths
in the views prevalent in the public in our time. This was shown, among others, by Roland
Barth in his book "Mythologies" (Babel Publishing House, 1991), which has already become a classic

Furthermore, Bechler also points to quite a few myths that were accepted by
Scientists - "The Mathematical Myth" (pp. 40-38), and you can add the theory
The phlogiston of the British scientist and philosopher Joseph Priestley in the century
The 18th, which was refuted by Antoine Lavoisier, or the concept of the ether, which lasted
Until Einstein was removed from the scene, to name just a few examples
famous But nothing would be true to characterize a scientist or a philosopher,
who held views that were later refuted as "anti-rationalist", as he does
In Keller in relation to Descartes, for example (p. 42)? If some of his opinions are visible to us
Today anti or irrationality, like, for example, his proofs
the anthropological and the ontological for the reality of God (which Behler mentions
indirectly), or his claim about the "natural light" of our intellect and more, there is nothing in it
distort being a rationalist thinker.

The same is true of his attempt to base the new science on logic
informative, which appears to our author as a "supreme paradox" (pp. 43-42).
Is Noam Chomsky's linguistic theory about "an innate ability to design
Linguistic", which explicitly relies on Descartes' concept of "innate ideas",
Makes its owner an anti-rationalist? Not according to such a claim, almost
No scientist or philosopher remains a rationalist. Nothing Russell has ceased to be
A rationalist because he tried to put mathematics above logic
Fails? And similarly Einstein, who failed to prove his theory
On one concept, as he hoped, and which various areas of his research were hidden
Going forward? I have mentioned two personalities for whom an important and detailed place is set aside in Keller
in his book My words may sound excessive or maybe even
Demagogues, but I wanted to point out a position that seems problematic to me
And she says eloquent.

It puzzles me, at least, because Behler did not allocate a place in his book to Francis
Bacon, whose inductive logic was the main rebellion against
Aristotle's deductive syllogistic, and how much more room for Spinoza.
It is impossible to ignore the important contribution of the latter, his successor and opponent
Descartes, for shaping modern rationalist philosophy. Although the
That Spinoza did not engage in the philosophy of mathematics, nor did he pursue, as
Galileo or Descartes, for the mathematization of physical reality, after all, an object
His attempt to formulate his philosophy in a geometrical method was binding
To include it in the discussion, which was conducted in the first part of the book, and it is a shame that this is not the case
has been done. In contemporary philosophy, the influence of Spinoza as a thinker is rising
Topical, which was not lost on him, much because of the influence of Descartes.

In the second part, on the second Copernican revolution, Bacheler discusses philosophy
of Berkeley, Day and especially Kant, when he focuses first and foremost here as well
in the foundations or the mathematical assumptions of their modifications. No possibility, within limits
A review, to get into the thick of the interesting problems, which the author unfolds
here before the reader. However, the question remains, to what extent
Kant's "revolution" - the introduction of concepts to facts - indeed contributed to its advancement
of the new philosophy of science. Does this really express a kind of return to assumptions?
Kant, as the author tries to argue in the third part? It seems more to me that she is
There was a kind of challenge, just as Yom's thought was a challenge for Kant. Sometimes there is
also strange utterances; What is "heavy Prussian humor" (p. 121) in
Kant? Or what does "we choose confusion over madness" mean (p.

The center of gravity of the discussion focuses, as mentioned, on the third part, which extends over
240 pages; It is intended to establish the author's special original thesis
About the "Third Copernican Revolution", which reflects, in his pessimistic opinion,
The "slip into the voids" (p. 142). It discusses a wide variety of
Meticians, scholars and philosophers - Bernard Riemann, Herman Helmholtz,
Ernst Mach, Henri Poincare, David Hilbert, Bertrand Russell, Albert
Einstein, Moritz Schlick, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hans Reichenbach,
Rudolf Carnap and more. On the other hand, some thinkers are conspicuous by their absence
Important, such as Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, though
that he engaged a lot, especially in his early teaching, in the philosophy of mathematics
(The Concept of Number, 1887; Philosophy of Mathematics, 1891), Karl Popper,
Thomas Cohen, and not least Israeli philosophers such as Yehoshua Bar-Hillel,
Carnap's student and partner, or Moses would say, who was close
to Einstein Both are not even mentioned in the book (except Yamer's book
in the bibliography). Also Cohen, who wrote a book with the explicit name "The Revolution".
Copernican", and known to the Hebrew reader from his book "The Structure of Revolutions".
"Science", only received three hasty mentions. if the touchstone
For inclusion or exclusion was the engagement in the philosophy of mathematics, after all
There is no justification for ignoring either Husserl or Bar-Hillel.

This is not to diminish the great importance of the rich material, which brings harmony to the part
This, which is impossible to dwell on in this limited framework. A lot of it
Interesting information about the scholars mentioned above, mainly about background
Kant's view, with the ultimate goal being to show how they were allegedly led
to the view of emptiness of information, the beginning of which is found in Keller already in his Mishnah
of Kant himself.

I will limit myself here only to the question, which I alluded to at the beginning of my speech, to what extent
The development of the philosophy of science after Kant justifies its description as
"Third Copernican Revolution". The "revolution" of Copernicus and the "revolution".
Kant's "Copernicanism" were expressed, as mentioned, in the reversal of the starting assumptions -
From the rotation of the sun to the rotation of the earth, from the facts to the primary
the concepts. But what a revolution, i.e. reversal of the theoretical starting point, there is
In the teachings of post-Kantian researchers and philosophers? to know,
What characterizes the philosophy of science from the 19th century onwards is the transition
Being a linguistic philosophy.

Aliba Danri Poincaré, the highly influential mathematician and philosopher at the turn
19th and 20th centuries Every scientific theory is just a language. this perception
She increased, but at the same time also slowed down, what Kehler defines as
"Conventionalism". After the mathematization attempts, and after
Russell's failed attempt at logicization, now comes the turn of "linguization",
which was made into Carnap's master plan. He overturned conventionalism
to the "principle of tolerance", which means "anything goes", which led, so to speak,
to both physical and moral nihilism (p. 321).

By the way, a similar trend was raised by Jacques Derrida in hermeneutics, which
Therefore, any interpretation of a text (in the broadest sense of the word) is equally valid.
In case there is a connection or influence between them - this is not the place to find out.

Is linguistics a new phenomenon? Already in the 17th century, that is
Back in the days of the first Copernican revolution, mathematics was seen as a language
the sciences. The scientists were convinced even then that the sciences needed a language,
that would allow physics and astronomy - the two main natural sciences at the time
- to find out accurate and true facts (whatever he read
"Informativism"), and this was, in their opinion, the language of mathematics.

As emphasized ten years ago by Yoav Yigal in his book "Science as Structure and Process"
(Papyrus Publishing, 1990 p. 55), in the first part of which he also devoted space
Extensive to Newton and Einstein, no science apparently has a systematic theory
his own; Such is offered to him by logic and philosophy, or as a theory
The aforementioned scholars, by mathematics. However, don't forget that the math
It does not determine the "laws" of nature - this is also a mythological concept - but
helps to define them. For this purpose, for example, Newton developed calculus
The infinitesimal (Yigal, ibid., p. 43), which Bacheler also emphasizes its importance
In this context. However, there is no principled contrast or inversion here, and certainly not
"Revolution", but the conversion of the pursuit to mathematization and informativeness in methods
More sophisticated and, at the same time, those that negate the informativeness
the plan. Although Behler describes these processes in an instructive way
And accurate, after all, the attempt to present them as a "Third Copernican Revolution"
Seems arbitrary and forced to me.

And finally, Bacheler ends his book with an "ethical epilogue", which he calls by name
"Brutalism". The formalistic and linguistic actualism of the philosophy of science
In the 20th century, ethics grew according to which "values ​​have no essence other than this one."
that man gives them" (p. 380).

This "ethical nihilism", as he put it, seemingly started with Yom. Hello Tema,
As we know, how language about facts suddenly becomes language about values.
I discussed this issue in detail in my book "Science and values, on their cognitive status
of ethical values" (Masda, 1978), so I will not elaborate on it here.

Zero, Bechler's attempt to identify this trend with Hegel's "ethics of power" -
And what about Rousseau's "general will"? - according to which "the strong is the good."
and the right one", and it seems to me that it is easy to connect with the Nazi ideology,
To say the least, very problematic, and as I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, as an infection
artificial that does not suit the high theoretical level of the book, which is a shame.

And by the way, Bacheler repeats twice in this context the misquotation of Hegel's words,
which originates with Friedrich Engels, because "the actual is the rational
and the moral" (407, 409). Hegel wrote in the basic lines of the philosophy of law:
"The rational is real", and only following this also "the real is rational"
("Hagel's Political Doctrine", edited by Avraham Yas'or, Kibbutz Publishing
The United and Haifa University, 1975 p. 41). It's very different when
Bechler writes that "if the Nazis were interested in a solid philosophical foundation
Their ideology had... the ethical philosophies of Kant and Hegel
They can be used for this as if they were sewn according to an order for this purpose" (p. 405).
After all, this borders on demagoguery, which does an injustice to the two great philosophers

The same criticism applies to John Dewey, the pragmatist philosopher
The important American, whom Keller also relies on in this matter. Therefore, when is
concludes his important and beautiful book on the philosophy of science with the polemic of more
From ten pages with a lowly "philosopher" like Alfred Rosenberg,
The bigoted Nazi ideologue, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. the whole epilogue,
which is intended to confirm the claim that Kant and Hegel prepared the ground
For the Nazi ideology, he is unnecessary, in my opinion, and only detracts from his level
The high theoretical of the book.

Prof. Ze'ev Levy's book "The Other and the Other" was published by Magnes
{Appeared in Haaretz newspaper, 16/5/2000{

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