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Mach, Jerusalem and Pragmatism

  • Thomas UebelEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook book series (VCIY, volume 22)

Abstract

Ernst Mach’s positivism, it is argued in this paper, may be regarded as a version of pragmatist philosophy of science. Already James’s biographer Perry detected such tendencies in Mach and this is confirmed here by close attention to Mach’s early works, esp. History and Root of the Principle of the Conservation of Energy and The Science of Mechanics. Both Mach’s principle of the economy of thought and his principle of scientific significance are shown to bear out his pragmatism. A similar conclusion is shown to hold for the philosophy of Wilhelm Jerusalem already long before he became the translator of James’s Pragmatism into German. But while Jerusalem early on relied perhaps even more than Mach on evolutionary theory for promptings of pragmatist insights, he soon too linked them, as Mach had all along, to broadly sociological observations concerning the condition of human cognition.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy/School of Social SciencesUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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