ernst mach epistemology and its influences on finnish science teaching l.
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  1. Ernst Mach’ Epistemology and Its Influences on Finnish Science Teaching “The lecture I heard in Prague from Mach was […] one of the most artistic lectures I ever heard.” “I am now trying to build up before my students a sort of elementary description of the construction of the world as built up of ‘pure experiences’ (in the plural) related to each other in various ways, which are also definite experiences in their turn. (There is no logical difficulty in such a description to my mind, but the genetic questions concerning it are hard to answer.[)] I wish you could hear how frequently your name gets mentioned, and your books referred to […].” William James PhD Dipl.-Kfm. Hayo Siemsen, FHOOW, Emden, Germany Helsinki 11/06/2008

  2. The narrative The Machian question Who is Mach? The phenomenon Mach’s worldview (genesis and concepts central in relation to the comparison with Finnish education) Initial question: What is knowledge? The synthesis of Darwin and Psychophysics Phenomenology Genesis Mach’s educational epistemology Scale of sensualism Comparison to Finland Epistemological influences on Finnish science education Eino Kaila Kaarle Kurki-Suonio (KKS)

  3. Who is (the real) Mach? - What is the “Portrait“ and what is the “Sitter“? (Bruner) How can we distinguish between the mental model and reality? → The tale of the boy and the shadow Ernst Mach (1838-1916) Portrait: “rugged guy with beard“ ( Autoportrait by Mach

  4. The phenomenon: Ernst Mach‘s scientific influences (direct and indirect examples) • Physics (Einstein, Pauli, Heisenberg, etc.) • Philosophy (Vienna Circle, Pragmatism, Brentano) • Psychology (James, Genetic Psychology, Gestalt Psychology, Behaviourism) • Chemistry (Ostwald) • Biology (Haeckel, Loeb) • Mathematics (Brouwer: Intuitionism, Klein, Bernais, Wittenberg) • Statistics (Pearson); Logics (Wittgenstein, Apostel) • Education (Binet, Claparede, Piaget, Wagenschein, Freudenthal) • Arts (Literature: Musil, Grillparzer, Schnitzler, Kafka?) • Etc. Why did Mach have so many and diverse influences and why is the knowledge about this mostly lost? Can this input on scientific creativeness be replicated? Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  5. Mach‘s intuitive influences Quotes from Einstein on Mach: “Mach and Hume were the two most important influences in my life, but with Mach I cannot tell anymore, how.“ (Einstein in a letter to his friend Michele Besso late in his life) All current physicists have “sucked-in Mach as with their mother‘s milk.“ (Einstein in his obituary to Mach in defense of Mach against Planck) Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  6. Ernst Mach: scientific influences Wolfgang Pauli • Mach’s godchild (books and intellectual support) • Discussion with Jung (Psychology: Archetype) • Finland: Laurikainen as Biographer => Resurfacing of Mach‘s question: As we cannot abstract from the observer, can we abstract from the psychology of the observer (Pauli)? Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  7. The Machian question: Knowledge and evolution 1859 Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” • Cartesian view result of adaptatation process (pre-Cartesian haptic space) • criticism of Newtonian mechanics (Mach: historio-critical Mechanics) • Genesis process not tree metaphor anymore (phylogenesis, ontogenesis, historical genesis, science): for example not linear, but exponebtial growth; status nascendi of ideas most important (instead the most elaborate version; post-Herbart) • Point of view of observer part of system • Psychology of observer? Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  8. The Machian question: the classical intuition The learning process: X Y What is X? • Socrates (God‘s knowledge; miracle) • Newton (mechanism: watchmaker) • Kant (a priori) • Von Ehrenfels (Gestalt psychology) • Husserl (logical phenomenalism) How do you get from X to Y (Michael’s question)? Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  9. Knowledge concepts in learning • Knowledge initiatory or adaptive? Can we transmit knowledge (Michael‘s question)? => Intuitive knowledge: we may think we know why we are doing something, because of apparent empirical “success“, but the reasons could be quite different. => According to Mach, all we can do is describe and live with an unfinished world view (Neurath‘s boat) Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  10. The Machian Genesis Concept “Every human discovers within himself, when waking up to his complete consciousness, already a completed image of the world, to which accomplishment he did not at all willingly contribute to and which he accepts on the contrary as a gift from nature and of the civilization and as something immediately intelligible. This image was built up under the pressure of the practical life; extremely valuable, in this regard, it is inerasable and never ceases to act upon us, no matter which are the philosophical views that we will later adopt.” (Mach 1905) → “Immediately given” as starting point, but with the need to research its basis (genetic origin). Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  11. Ernst Mach‘s psychology and concept of knowledge “In his essay Transformation and Adaptation in Scientific Thought, [Mach describes] one of the most characteristic ideas of modern science. […] Knowledge is an expression of organic nature. The law of evolution, which is that of transformation and adaptation, applies to thoughts just as well as to individuals or any living organisms. A conflict between our customary train of thought and new events produces what is called the problem. By a subsequent adaptation of our thought to the enlarged field of observation, the problem disappears and through this extension of our sphere of experience, the growth of thought is possible. Thus the happiest ideas do not fall from heaven, they spring rather from notions already existing.” Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  12. What do we really know? relation “the world” & “I” Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  13. Psychophysical sense elements Physics - Somatosensorimotor Physiology – Psychology → no meaningful consistent “cut” possible relation (training at central council of church bell ringers) Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  14. concept sound image writing image ear sound-movement hand-writing eye The physiological process of Gestalt formation: Machian “thought-doing” (Denktun) Schematized sketch from Mach Notebook Nr. 50, Manfred Sommer, p. 151 Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  15. Ratiomorphic thought construction Hierarchies of Perceptions (adapted from Damasio) somatic sensory motoric Conscious level Reflection & Feelings external perceptions actions emotion interpreted sensations Subconscious level Memory Access motivation routines Unconscious level Conditioning pain pleasure Instinctual level Reactions & Inhibition chemical control instinct instinct metabolic regulation immune response Basic level reflex sensation Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  16. Empirical examples: Gestalt perceptions A B How old were the children, who drew these pictures? Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  17. Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  18. The Gestalt concept after Mach and Konrad Lorenz Humean learning => Intuition Thought economy (number of concepts in mind simultaneously and over time) Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  19. Gestalt levels (points of view): Monism social level holistic view individual level “they“ “you“ “I“ relation iteration process (adaptation of perspectives) cognition (sub)cognitive level bias rationalization Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  20. Mach’s phenomenological worlds Finnish/German current western folk-world new physics world ancient family phenomenological worlds mathematical world school other cultures archaic individual child world Wittgenstein’s ladder Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  21. Mach‘s phenomenalism from Alfred Binet’s L’Année Psychologique “The thing is therefore an intellectual entity (a complex of views or a scientific concept); the phenomenon on the contrary is a sensual entity, which can concur with the intellectual entity and can achieve the expectations, which it induced, but which it can also completely disappoint.“ (Mach 1906) Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  22. Are we still intuitively Newtonian? Quantum Physics & Relativity Theory not consistent with classical (Newtonian) world view (quote KKS: “I don‘t care“) Can we consistently keep a Newtonian epistemology on the meta-level (philosophy, axiomatic concepts, realism)? Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  23. The relation of physics and psychology for Mach The physicist “relies on concepts so abstract, that he during his work tends to forget the countless sensual elements, which serve as basis for his measures and apparatus. He holds the result of his research for something objective, which can be generally applied and that deserves more trust than the special perception. […] The physiologist studies the organism of the human or the animal as a pure physicist and chemist. But as soon as an analogous induction prompts him to add perception to the purpose of his research, he fancies that he is leaving the objective and entering the area of the unknown, intangible. He does not think about that the physicist does constantly make use of these analogous inductions, for example when he sees the moon, which is only accessible ho his eye, as a tangible mass […]. The psychologist is submitted to the prejudices of physics, – as the biological callings urge every human to behave as a physicist –, the psychologist assumes the contrariety of two heterogeneous worlds; whereas for the physicist the psychological world seems intangible, he instead sees in the latter something immediately given, the necessary starting point; but from his philosophical position, the physical world is projected into an unreachable distance.” (Mach 1906) Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  24. Implications: Mach on Relativity "The initial spatial perception of humans is given by the organism of the senses. Joint idealized metric experiences of human beings lead to geometry. […] Similarly one will have to differentiate between the metric and the physical (also containing the time) space [...], in which direction substantial progress has been made by the works of A. Einstein and H. Minkowski. […] Matter is thus the time-spatial linkage of different sensory perceptions of a human and also the sensory perceptions of different humans among themselves. [...] The prior concept is physiological or psycho-physiological, the one just stated physical [...]. It would be completely idle to imagine still something else into matter, something non-experiencable, except for this actual and still further investigable linkage of reactions. The material world exists actually in this linkage of the reactions of the elements, of which the linkage of the human sensations is but a special case.” Mach 1910 Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  25. Types of education from a Machian perspective (sensualist scale) • “pure” logicism (Frege) or physicalism (Planck) → Germany • logicistic phenomenalism (Husserl) • experimentalism (Czech Republic: Strouhal) • sensualistic phenomenalism • Netherlands (Freudenthal; maths edu) • Finland (Kaila; gestalt psychology) • genetic (Mach) Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  26. Ernst Mach‘s genetic view on education "Nobody who concerned himself with scientific thinking will state [suggestions based on a "subject matter model"]. Thoughts can be stimulated and fertilized, like a field is fertilized by sunshine and rain. Thoughts however cannot be rushed out and not drilled out, certainly not through recipes, by amassing subject matter and lessons. They want to grow voluntarily. Thoughts can just as little be accumulated above a certain measure in a head, as the yield of a field can be increased unlimitedly. I believe that the subject matter for an appropriate education, which jointly must be offered to all pupils of a preparatory school, is very modest […]. If a young human is not to come dulled to the university, if he is not to have spent his vitality in the preparatory school, which he thereat still has to collect, an important change here has to occur. Even if I refrain here from stating the harmful physical consequences of physical overburdening, already the disadvantages for the intellect appear to me equally horrible. I do not know of anything more terrible, than the poor humans, who have learnt too much." Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  27. The educational implications: Co-evolution of concept formation Biological phylogeny • Instinctive • Intuitive • Consciously reflective Mental ontogeny (Bruner) • Haptic / Enactive • Iconic • Symbolic (but lower levels still exist as unconscious basis) Cultural genesis in science (Mach) • Ideas in the minds of some scientists • Ideas part of science culture after publication • Popularization of ideas to be part of general culture Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  28. Epstemological influences on the Finnish education system • Tengström/ Snellman: Hegel with development of individual personality and responsibility (explicit rejection of Heglian “hordes”) • Cygnaeus (Slöyd; haptic/enactive) • Kaila: Mach and Vienna Circle • von Wright (Kaila’s successor) • Laurikainen (student of Kaila and Pauli, colleague of KKS) • Kaarle Kurki-Suonio (influences of Wagenschein; intuitive Machian) Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  29. Main influences on Finish education by Eino Kaila • Gestalt psychology • Phenomenology Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  30. Eino Kaila at the Bühler Institute: the genetic origin of concept formation Oscar (2 months) & Enno Siemsen Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  31. Examples of Kaarle Kurki-Suonio’s Machian influences I • Gestalt Psychology: “There is certainly no perceived Gestalt behind, if you take F = ma as the starting point.” (also perceptions instead of sense elements as in Kaila’s adaptation of Mach) • Monism: “Elementary particles have no individual, only species identity, it is a great misconception. They are the expression of ‘one’.” • Genesis: “The unrewarding, eventually impossible task of the physics’ teacher is to help the pupil to uncover a secret, which even the teacher himself cannot know.” Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  32. Examples of Kaarle Kurki-Suonio’s Machian influences II folk-theory phenomenon quantification identification laws Adapted from Kurki Suonio theories application Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  33. Examples of Kaarle Kurki-Suonio’s Machian influences III:The concept of force • Does “Force” exist? • Transformations of energy • Interaction (KKS) • Should we teach the concept of force in school physics? => Problem of Gestalt stability vs. crutches/scaffolding in mental models! Only to be answered from a phenomenological or genetic point of view Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  34. Program of physics course (Kaarle‘s ladder) • Philosophy of science/physics • Perceptual experimentation • Knowledge structure of school physics • History of science/physics Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  35. How can we improve on general science education?Orhow to identify and resolve inconsistent pedagogical intuitions education from metaphysics? On the street children are playing, which could solve some of my most urgent fundamental physical problems, because they have a form of sense perception, which I lost a long time ago. (Robert Oppenheimer) Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  36. A Cycle Model of Ratiomorphic Cognition exploration CULTURE observation/ effective surprise contradiction / cognitive disharmony codification Cycle of Cognition associative reflection / adaptation teaching / publication CONCEPT knowledge idea testing of the idea for errors exploitation Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  37. A Cycle Model of Scientific Ideas length SOCIETY research / observation idea concept Cycle of Science width preservation falsification test (empirical, thought experiment) teaching knowledge theory scientific revolution depth Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  38. Physical Concepts: 1. Natural Laws • Animism: spirits, ghosts and order/chaos • The greek gods and moira (habitual law) • Codified law (Roman) • Nature as god‘s law (Spinoza) • The watchmaker (Newton) • Natural Law without god (after Darwin) • Probability as order in chaos (Pearson, Mahabharata) => 1st problem: Psychology, i.e. animism today: “because of the law“… => 2nd problem: Plank‘s anchor (the constants), does it still work? Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  39. Physical Concepts: 6. Quantification A mathematical comb into the stream of qualities. Do we measure the stream or just ist surface? Reliance on mathematics, but mathematics is not consistent; several mathematics (formal, intuitive, topological, etc.) according to problem, but do we know how to ask the right question? Adaptation with time according to Bernais, but it did not happen Example: Brouwer and the intuition of “one“ Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  40. Physical Concepts: 7. Limits of a system Importance of axioms and formal rules, but these in turn depend on relational comparisons (yardsticks or “coinages“) Bucket experiment: What is the “coinage“? Between what is there a relation? What is the role of the observer in the system? Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008

  41. Physical Concepts: 8. Dualism • Origin in Europe: • Zoroaster and the Iranian religion (two spirits) • Earth is just a shadow of what happens in heaven (the gods) • Plato (ideal ideas) • Descartes, Newton • Lenin (materialism) • Origin in India: The Gita (Krishna/Arjuna), detachment from one‘s acting • But Buddhism / Mach: Self is construct; Monism Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008