Metaphysics: Albert Einstein
Simplifying the Metaphysical foundations of Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity. From Einstein's Unified Field Theory of Matter (Continuous Spherical Fields in Space-Time) to the Wave Structure of Matter (Spherical Waves in Continuous space).

Introduction

Hi everyone. Below you will find a short summary of Albert Einstein's comments on Bertrand Russell's Theory of Knowledge. This is important because it explains why a good understanding of metaphysics is central for understanding physical reality.
This is followed by two very good quotes on the importance of understanding the history of philosophy to help us overcome the prejudices of our time. As he writes:

A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. (Albert Einstein)

Finally there is a brief summary of the metaphysical foundation of Relativity and links to the main Relativity articles.

Geoff Haselhurst


Albert Einstein Introductory Quotes on Metaphysics (Einstein Remarks on Bertrand Russell's Theory of Knowledge)

The more aristocratic illusion concerning the unlimited penetrative power of thought has as its counterpart the more plebeian illusion of naive realism, according to which things 'are' as they are perceived by us through our senses. This illusion dominates the daily life of men and of animals; it is also the point of departure in all of the sciences, especially of the natural sciences. (Albert Einstein)In the evolution of philosophical thought through the centuries the following question has played a major role: what knowledge is pure thought able to supply independently of sense perception? Is there any such knowledge? If not, what precisely is the relation between our knowledge and the raw material furnished by sense impressions?
There has been an increasing skepticism concerning every attempt by means of pure thought to learn something about the 'objective world', about the world of 'things' in contrast to the world of 'concepts and ideas'. During philosophy's childhood it was rather generally believed that it is possible to find everything which can be known by means of mere reflection. It was an illusion which anyone can easily understand if, for a moment, he dismisses what he has learned from later philosophy and from natural science; he will not be surprised to find that Plato ascribed a higher reality to 'ideas' than to empirically experienceable things. Even in Spinoza and as late as in Hegel this prejudice was the vitalising force which seems still to have played the major role.
The more aristocratic illusion concerning the unlimited penetrative power of thought has as its counterpart the more plebeian illusion of naive realism, according to which things 'are' as they are perceived by us through our senses. This illusion dominates the daily life of men and of animals; it is also the point of departure in all of the sciences, especially of the natural sciences.
As Russell wrote;

'We all start from naive realism, i.e., the doctrine that things are what they seem. We think that grass is green, that stones are hard, and that snow is cold. But physics assures us that the greenness of grass, the hardness of stones, and the coldness of snow are not the greenness, hardness, and coldness that we know in our own experience, but something very different. The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.'

Man has an intense desire for assured knowledge. That is why Hume's clear message seemed crushing: the sensory raw material, the only source of our knowledge,through habit may lead us to belief and expectation but not to the knowledge and still less to the understanding of lawful relations. (Albert Einstein)Gradually the conviction gained recognition that all knowledge about things is exclusively a working-over of the raw material furnished by the senses. Galileo and Hume first upheld this principle with full clarity and decisiveness. Hume saw that concepts which we must regard as essential, such as, for example, causal connection, cannot be gained from material given to us by the senses. This insight led him to a skeptical attitude as concerns knowledge of any kind. Man has an intense desire for assured knowledge. That is why Hume's clear message seemed crushing: the sensory raw material, the only source of our knowledge,through habit may lead us to belief and expectation but not to the knowledge and still less to the understanding of lawful relations.

Then Kant took the stage with an idea which, though certainly untenable in the form in which he put it, signified a step towards the solution of Hume's dilemma: whatever in knowledge is of empirical origin is never certain. If, therefore, we have definitely assured knowledge,it must be grounded in reason itself. This is held to be the case, for example, in the propositions of geometry and the principles of causality. These and certain other types of knowledge are, so to speak, a part of the implements of thinking and therefore do not previously have to be gained from sense data (i.e. they are a priori knowledge).

I am convinced that ... the concepts which arise in our thought and in our linguistic expressions are all- when viewed logically- the free creations of thought which cannot inductively be gained from sense experiences. (Albert Einstein)Today everyone knows, of course, that the mentioned concepts contain nothing of the certainty, of the inherent necessity, which Kant had attributed to them. The following, however, appears to me to be correct in Kant's statement of the problem: in thinking we use with a certain "right", concepts to which there is no access from the materials of sensory experience, if the situation is viewed from the logical point of view. As a matter of fact, I am convinced that even much more is to be asserted: the concepts which arise in our thought and in our linguistic expressions are all- when viewed logically- the free creations of thought which cannot inductively be gained from sense experiences. This is not so easily noticed only because we have the habit of combining certain concepts and conceptual relations (propositions) so definitely with certain sense experiences that we do not become conscious of the gulf- logically unbridgeable- which separates the world of sensory experiences from the world of concepts and propositions. Thus, for example, the series of integers is obviously an invention of the human mind, a self-created tool which simplifies the ordering of certain sensory experiences. But there is no way in which this concept could be made to grow, as it were, directly out of sense experiences.

As soon as one is at home in Hume's critique one is easily led to believe that all those concepts and propositions which cannot be deduced from the sensory raw material are, on account of their 'metaphysical' character, to be removed from thinking. For all thought acquires material content only through its relationship with that sensory material. This latter proposition I take to be entirely true; but I hold the prescription for thinking which is grounded on this proposition to be false. For this claim- if only carried through consistently- absolutely excludes thinking of any kind as 'metaphysical'.
In order that thinking might not degenerate into 'metaphysics', or into empty talk, it is only necessary that enough propositions of the conceptual system be firmly enough connected with sensory experiences and that the conceptual system, in view of its task of ordering and surveying sense experience, should show as much unity and parsimony as possible. Beyond that, however, the 'system' is (as regards logic) a free play with symbols according to (logically) arbitrarily given rules of the game. All this applies as much (and in the same manner) to the thinking in daily life as to the more consciously and systematically constructed thinking in the sciences.

By his clear critique Hume did not only advance philosophy in a decisive way but also - though through no fault of his - created a danger for philosophy in that, following his critique, a fateful 'fear of metaphysics' arose which has come to be a malady of contemporary empiricist philosophising ... (Albert Einstein)By his clear critique Hume did not only advance philosophy in a decisive way but also - though through no fault of his - created a danger for philosophy in that, following his critique, a fateful 'fear of metaphysics' arose which has come to be a malady of contemporary empiricist philosophising; this malady is the counterpart to that earlier philosophising in the clouds, which thought it could neglect and dispense with what was given by the senses. ... It finally turns out that one can, after all, not get along without metaphysics.
(Albert Einstein, Remarks on Bertrand Russell's Theory of Knowledge, Ideas and Opinions, 1954)

So many people today - and even professional scientists - seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. (Albert Einstein, 1944)I fully agree with you about the significance and educational value of methodology as well as history and philosophy of science. So many people today - and even professional scientists - seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is - in my opinion - the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.
(Albert Einstein to Robert A. Thornton, 7 December 1944, EA 61-574)

Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such an authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as unalterable givens. Thus they come to be stamped as 'necessities of thought,' 'a priori' ... The path of scientific advance is often made impassable for a long time through such errors. (Albert Einstein)How does it happen that a properly endowed natural scientist comes to concern himself with epistemology? Is there no more valuable work in his specialty? I hear many of my colleagues saying, and I sense it from many more, that they feel this way. I cannot share this sentiment. ... Concepts that have proven useful in ordering things easily achieve such an authority over us that we forget their earthly origins and accept them as unalterable givens. Thus they come to be stamped as 'necessities of thought,' 'a priori givens,' etc. The path of scientific advance is often made impassable for a long time through such errors. For that reason, it is by no means an idle game if we become practiced in analyzing the long common place concepts and exhibiting those circumstances upon which their justification and usefulness depend, how they have grown up, individually, out of the givens of experience. By this means, their all-too-great authority will be broken.
(Albert Einstein. 'Ernst Mach.' Physikalische Zeitschrift 17 (1916): 101, 102 - A memorial notice for the philosopher, Ernst Mach.)


Metaphysical Foundations of Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity

Einstein (from Faraday, Maxwell, Lorentz) represented matter as a continuous field in spacetime. Einstein is correct that there is no 'particle' and matter is spherically spatially extended. However, the spherical 'force field' can be sensibly explained with the Spherical Standing Wave Structure of Matter. We realize that forces are caused by a change in the velocity of the spherical In-wave (from one direction) as this changes where these In-waves meet at the wave-center, which we observe as a 'force accelerating a particle'. The change in ellipsoidal shape of the In-waves is the cause of Einstein's Metrics and the Riemannian geometry of General Relativity.

Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity - Physics constitutes a logical system of thought which is in a state of evolution, whose basis (principles) cannot be distilled, as it were, from experience by an inductive method, but can only be arrived at by free invention.(Albert Einstein, 1936) When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence:
Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter.
(Albert Einstein)

Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity - Evolution is proceeding in the direction of increasing simplicity of the logical basis (principles). .. We must always be ready to change these notions - that is to say, the axiomatic basis of physics - in order to do justice to perceived facts in the most perfect way logically.(Albert Einstein,1936)Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended (as fields). In this way the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The field thus becomes an irreducible element of physical description, irreducible in the same sense as the concept of matter (particles) in the theory of Newton. ... The physical reality of space is represented by a field whose components are continuous functions of four independent variables - the co-ordinates of space and time. Since the theory of general relativity implies the representation of physical reality by a continuous field, the concept of particles or material points cannot play a fundamental part, nor can the concept of motion. The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high. (Albert Einstein, Metaphysics of Relativity, 1950)

For the complete articles see:

Physics: Albert Einstein: Theory of Relativity

Problems of Einstein's Theory of Relativity


Metaphysics: Albert Einstein
Simplifying the Metaphysical foundations of Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity. From Einstein's Unified Field Theory of Matter (Continuous Spherical Fields in Space-Time) to the Wave Structure of Matter (Spherical Waves in Continuous space).

Metaphysics is the attempt to know reality as against mere appearance, or the study of first principles or ultimate truths, or again the effort to comprehend the universe, not simply by fragments, but somehow as a whole. (F.H. Bradley, 1846-1924)
Metaphysics Solves
Problems of Science
All things come out of the one and the one out of all things. ... I see nothing but Becoming. Be not deceived! The very river in which you bathe a second time is no longer the same one you entered before. (Heraclitus, 500BC)
One and the Many
Dynamic Unity of Reality
Metaphysics is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance. ... Here we have the science to study that which is just as that which is, both in its essence and in the properties which, just as a thing that is, it has. (Aristotle, 340BC)
Aristotle Metaphysics
Substance & Properties
No one doubts but that we imagine TIME from the very fact that we imagine other bodies to be moved slower or faster or equally fast. We are accustomed to determine duration by the aid of some measure of MOTION. (Spinoza, 1673)
Benedictus de Spinoza
Metaphysics of Motion
Absolute Space, in its own nature, without regard to any thing external, remains always similar and immovable. ... It seems probable to me that God formed matter in solid, hard, impenetrable, movable particles. (Sir Isaac Newton)
Sir Isaac Newton
Absolute Space / Particles
Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. ... Substance cannot be conceived without activity, activity being the essence of substance in general. (Gottfried Leibniz, 1670)
Gottfried Leibniz
Metaphysics / Monadology
When we look towards external objects, and consider the operation of causes, we can never discover any power or necessary connexion which binds the effect to the cause, and renders the one a consequence of the other. (David Hume, 1737)
David Hume Metaphysics
Necessary Connection
Natural science contains in itself synthetical judgments a priori, as principles. ... Space then is a necessary representation a priori, which serves for the foundation of all external intuitions. (Immanuel Kant, 1781)
Immanuel Kant Metaphysics
Synthetic a priori Knowledge
Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended (as fields). Thus the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The field becomes an irreducible element of physical description, irreducible in the same sense as matter (particles) in Newton's theory. (Albert Einstein, 1950)
Albert Einstein
Field Theory of Matter
Do not allow yourselves to be deceived: Great Minds are Skeptical. ... There is nothing more necessary than truth, and in comparison with it everything else has only secondary value. (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1890)
Metaphysics of Skepticism
Skeptical / Skeptics Quotes



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Albert Einstein"When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. ... Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended. In this way the concept 'empty space' loses its meaning. ... The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high. ...
The free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres of cultural life. ... We must not conceal from ourselves that no improvement in the present depressing situation is possible without a severe struggle; for the handful of those who are really determined to do something is minute in comparison with the mass of the lukewarm and the misguided. ...
Humanity is going to need a substantially new way of thinking if it is to survive!" (Albert Einstein)


Biography: Geoffrey Haselhurst, Philosopher of Science, Theoretical Physics, Metaphysics, Evolution. Our world is in great trouble due to human behaviour founded on myths and customs that are causing the destruction of Nature and climate change. We can now deduce the most simple science theory of reality - the wave structure of matter in space. By understanding how we and everything around us are interconnected in Space we can then deduce solutions to the fundamental problems of human knowledge in physics, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, education, health, evolution and ecology, politics and society.

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