„We know, since the theory of relativity at least, that empirical sciences are to some degree free in defining dynamical concepts or even in assuming laws, and that only a system as a whole which includes concepts, coordinating definitions, and laws can be said to be either true or false, to be adequate or inadequate to empirical facts. This "freedom," however, is a somewhat doubtful gift. The manifold of possibilities implies uncertainty, and such uncertainty can become rather painful in a science as young as psychology, where nearly all concepts are open and unsettled. As psychology approaches the state of a logically sound science, definitions cease to be an arbitrary matter. They become far-reaching decisions which presuppose the mastering of the conceptual problems but which have to be guided entirely by the objective facts.“

—  Kurt Lewin

Fonte: 1930s, Principles of topological psychology, 1936, p. viii.

Kurt Lewin photo
Kurt Lewin
professor académico alemão 1890 - 1947

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„The reciprocal relationship of epistemology and science is of noteworthy kind. They are dependent on each other. Epistemology without contact with science becomes an empty scheme. Science without epistemology is — insofar as it is thinkable at all — primitive and muddled. However, no sooner has the epistemologist, who is seeking a clear system, fought his way through to such a system, than he is inclined to interpret the thought-content of science in the sense of his system and to reject whatever does not fit into his system. The scientist, however, cannot afford to carry his striving for epistemological systematic that far. He accepts gratefully the epistemological conceptual analysis; but the external conditions, which are set for him by the facts of experience, do not permit him to let himself be too much restricted in the construction of his conceptual world by the adherence to an epistemological system. He therefore must appear to the systematic epistemologist as a type of unscrupulous opportunist: he appears as realist insofar as he seeks to describe a world independent of the acts of perception; as idealist insofar as he looks upon the concepts and theories as free inventions of the human spirit (not logically derivable from what is empirically given); as positivist insofar as he considers his concepts and theories justified only to the extent to which they furnish a logical representation of relations among sensory experiences. He may even appear as Platonist or Pythagorean insofar as he considers the viewpoint of logical simplicity as an indispensible and effective tool of his research.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955

Contribution in Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist, p. A. Schilpp, ed. (The Library of Living Philosophers, Evanston, IL (1949), p. 684). Quoted in Einstein's Philosophy of Science http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/einstein-philscience/

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„From the imputation of confounding axioms with assumed concepts Euclid himself, however, is free. Euclid incorporated the former among his postulates while he separated the latter as common concepts—a proceeding which even on the part of his commentators was no longer understood, and likewise with modern mathematicians, unfortunately for science, has met with little imitation. As a matter of fact, the abstract methods of mathematical science know no axioms at all.“

—  Hermann Grassmann German polymath, linguist and mathematician 1809 - 1877

As quoted in "Diverse Topics: The Origin of Thought Forms," The Monist (1892) Vol. 2 https://books.google.com/books?id=8akLAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA120 ed., Paul Carus, citing The Open Court Vol. II. No. 77. A Flaw in the Foundation of Geometry by Hermann Grassmann, translated from his Ausdehnungslehre

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„Which facts are relevant and which are not relevant to a science will be relative to the current state of development of that science.“

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Fonte: What Is This Thing Called Science? (Third Edition; 1999), Chapter 3, Experiment, p. 27.

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„I see the expression of… economy clearly in the gradual reduction of the statical laws of machines to a single one, viz., the principle of virtual work: in the replacement of Kepler's laws by Newton's single law… and in the [subsequent] reduction, simplification and clarification of the laws of dynamics. I see clearly the biological-economical adaptation of ideas, which takes place by the principles of continuity (permanence) and of adequate definition and splits the concept 'heat' into the two concepts of 'temperature' and 'quantity of heat'; and I see how the concept 'quantity of heat' leads on to 'latent heat', and to the concepts of 'energy' and 'entropy.“

—  Ernst Mach Austrian physicist and university educator 1838 - 1916

Mach (1910) "Die Leitgedanken meiner naturwissenschaftlichcn Erkennenislehre und ihr Aufnahme durch die Zeitgenossen", Physikalische Zeitschrift. 1, 1910, 599-606 Eng. trans. as "The Guiding Principles of my Scientific Theory of Knowledge and its Reception by my Contemporaries", in S. Toulmin ed., Physical Reality, New York : Harper, 1970. pp.28-43. Cited in: K. Mulligan & B. Smith (1988) " Mach and Ehrenfels: Foundations of Gestalt Theory http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/articles/mach/mach.pdf"
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