Experience and Prediction: An Analysis of the Foundations by Hans Reichenbach

By Hans Reichenbach

First released in 1949 expressly to introduce logical positivism to English audio system. Reichenbach, with Rudolph Carnap, based logical positivism, a sort of epistemofogy that privileged medical over metaphysical truths.

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Extra resources for Experience and Prediction: An Analysis of the Foundations and the Structure of Knowledge

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It is true that there is such a reduction of indirect sentences to direct sentences. What we have to study is the kind of relation between the two categories. Pragmatists and positivists have made an attempt to clarify this relation. This attempt is based on the supposition that there is an equivalence between the indirect sentence, on one side, and the class of direct sentences, on the other side. , a combination by "and," but it may contain disjunctions, negations, implications, etc. This is obvious even in a simple case: for measuring the temperature of our chamber we may use a mercury thermometer, or an alcohol thermometer, etc.

It is physically impossible to find facts which confirm the statement, "A moves toward B," and do not confirm the statement, "B moves toward A"--this is the content of Einstein's principle of relativity. Einstein does not speak of a logical necessity here; on the contrary, he emphasizes the empiri-44- cal origin of his principle, and it is just the words "physically impossible" in which this empirical origin becomes manifest. Analysis has shown that it is logically possible to imagine facts which distinguish the two sentences in question; so it is logically possible to imagine a world in which the principle of relativity does not hold.

A n , comprehend the whole series of propositions from which A can be inferred and at the same time all propositions which can be inferred from A. , a class which never can be exhaustively given to human beings. Take as an example the sentence A concerning the temperature of the sun. Among a 1 , a 2 , . . , a n we have, then, observations concerning radiation of sunbeams and hot bodies, observations concerning spectral lines, etc. It is true that the class of propositions from which we start in order to infer A is a finite one, and even a practically finite one; for what we have is always a finite number of propositions.

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