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Models pp 90-103 | Cite as

Matter, Action and Interaction

[1973]
  • Marx W. Wartofsky
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 48)

Abstract

In this paper, I will argue that a materialist ontology is an important heuristic for scientific theory, and that a classical problem in natural philosophy — whether matter is self-active or is inert — has its contemporary counterpart in modern physics, especially in microphysics. From this, there follow epistemological and methodological consequences concerning scientific inquiry and practice. In order to set the problem of my paper, I introduce as background the contemporary discussion of the relation of metaphysics to science. The philosophical problem of the paper, however, does not concern the formal or methodological issues in this debate, but rather how these issues are resolved in a concrete case, concerning matter, action, and interaction.

Keywords

Internal Relation Philosophical Problem Dialectical Materialism Methodological Consequence Heuristic Role 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    T. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn’s own ambivalence mirrors that of Sir Karl: “We both (Kuhn and Popper) insist that scientists may properly aim to invent theories that explain observed phenomena and that do so in terms of real objects, whatever the latter phrase may mean.” (in Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, (ed. Lakatos and Musgrave), Cambridge University Press, 1970, p. 2). But of course everything depends on what the “phrase may mean”! So much for ambivalent realism....Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. Agassi, The Nature of Scientific Problems and Their Roots in Metaphysics’, in The Critical Approach to Science and Philosophy, (ed. M. Bunge), Free Press, Glencoe, Illinois, 1964, pp. 189 ff.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    M. Wartofsky, ‘Metaphysics as Heuristic for Science’, III, (ed. R. S. Cohen and M. Wartofsky), in Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, D. Reidel, Dordrecht, 1968 pp. 123–172. Reprinted in this volume, pp. 40–89.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    P. Feyerabend, ‘Consolations for the Specialist’, in Criticism and The Growth of Knowledge, (ed. Lakatos and Musgrave), Cambridge University Press, 1970, p. 211.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See, for a discussion of this, John Stachel, ‘The Rise and Fall of Geometrodynamics’, presented October 1972, PSA meeting, Boston, in Proceedings of the PSA, 1972, Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, XX, (ed. by K. F. Schaffner and Robert S. Cohen), D. Reidel Publishing Co., Dordrecht, Holland, 1974, p. 31.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marx W. Wartofsky

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