pirmdiena, 2010. gada 15. marts

Hypotheses non fingo jeb Kas ir eksperimentālā filosfija

Manuprāt, tas, kas ir eksperimentālā filosofija, sākas ar Ņūtonu un viņa kritiku pret Dekartu un Leibnicu.

A.Janiak "Newton's Philosophy": http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/newton-philosophy/#HypNonFin

5. Hypotheses non fingo

One of the recurring themes in Newton's discussions of his predecessors’ and interlocutors’ strategies in natural philosophy — especially those of Descartes and Leibniz — is the question of the proper role of “hypotheses” in systematic enquiries into nature (see Cohen 1966). Indeed, one of Newton's most famous pronouncements in the Principia is: hypotheses non fingo, that is, “I feign no hypotheses.”[7] This phrase, which was added to the second edition of the text, is sometimes taken to mean that Newton eschews all hypothetical reasoning in natural philosophy. It may be more accurate to say that Newton does not systematically avoid hypotheses; rather, he believes that within the boundaries of experimental philosophy — the Principia and the Opticks (excepting the queries) can be considered works in this area — one may not hypothesize, but it is not improper to propose hypotheses to prod future experimental research. Such hypothetical speculations are either reserved for the queries to the Opticks, or are more or less explicitly labeled as such in the optics papers from the 1670s and in the Principia. For instance, in the Scholium to Proposition 96 of Book I of the Principia, Newton discusses hypotheses concerning light rays. Similarly, in query 21 of the Opticks, he suggests that there might be an aether whose differential density accounts for the gravitational force between bodies, as noted above.

Why, then, is a given proposition characterized as a hypothesis, and how does this illuminate Newton's attitude toward Leibniz? The case of the postulated aether in query 21 indicates a potential answer, for the most salient fact about the aether is that Newton lacks independent experimental evidence indicating its existence. This coheres with Cotes's rejection, in his preface to the Principia's second edition, of the common hypothesis that planetary motion can be explained via vortices on the grounds that their existence does not enjoy independent empirical confirmation (Newton 1999, 393). So it seems reasonable to conclude that hypotheses make essential reference to entities whose existence lacks independent empirical support. With such support, one's explanation would successfully shake off the mantel of “hypothesis.” Newton's contention, then, is that both Descartes and Leibniz proceed in a “hypothetical” manner by attempting to explain phenomena through invoking the existence of entities for which there is no independent empirical evidence. This may fit an important aspect of Leibniz's procedure in the Tentamen, which was briefly discussed above. For instance, in an attempt to account for the motions of the planetary bodies in that text, Leibniz introduces ex hypothesi the premise that a fluid surrounds, and is contiguous to, the various planetary bodies, and then argues that this fluid must be in motion (Leibniz 1849, 149; Bertoloni Meli 1993, 128-29). That is to say, as far as Leibniz's understanding of the planetary orbits is concerned, there is no independent empirical evidence indicating the existence of the fluid in question.

Newton's attitude toward hypotheses is connected in another way to his skepticism concerning Cartesian and Leibnizian natural philosophy. In the General Scholium, he contends: “For whatever is not deduced from the phenomena must be called a hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, or based on occult qualities, or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy” (Newton 1999, 943). It therefore appears that hypotheses may be generated from various sorts of metaphysical principle or view, and so the exclusion of hypotheses may also represent a way of distinguishing “experimental philosophy” from metaphysics. Indeed, one of Newton's primary complaints against both the Cartesians and Leibniz seems to be that they mix metaphysical with experimental concerns — that they infuse metaphysical views, which he thinks are always questionable and highly disputable, into their experimental philosophy, thereby preventing the latter from proceeding on a secure empirical footing. His discussion of hypotheses is one of several ways in which Newton raises this concern about his predecessors’ methods.

Arī šis ir labs raksts: Shapiro, Alan E. (2002) Newton's "Experimental Philosophy": http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00000534/

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