The Reality Principle as Strategy of Knowledge

Short text and an excerpt from the long text

Bertrand Russel pointed out that a common error in science is the mixing up of two languages: that pertaining the object with that refering to relationships. Relations are purely mental and come into being through mental associations. Through associations we attach understandable properties to objects, properties which are not inherent to objects themselves, for example that of one object being larger than another. My conviction is that the goal of science, in both mental and linguistic sense, has to be the argumentation on the object level, so far as possible. This basic rule of argumentation I call "the reality principle". The basic nature follows logically from my conviction that one has to differentiate between relationships and realities. Only realities, rather than relationships are able to produce causal actions which, however, are born only in the observing mind. Were mental relationships generate actions, we would deal with magic, rather than science. The reality principle as principle of thinking constitutes the very spirit of being scientifical. I state that just by applying consistently the reality principle we could avoid many problems of present day physics.

Evaluation of two* short essays by Helmut Hille
The second essay, "The reality principle as strategy of knowledge", starts with a strict differentiation between properties and relations. With this, relations will be understood as mental processes, rather than objects of natural scientific research. The author takes thus a position which has a long tradition, of Aristoteles through Leibniz till Kant. It shows up especially clear in Kant's work, that relations, too, could be seen as a special type of non-universal properties. This concept is criticized in set theory, and could be integrated in the personal manner of problem-solution of the author... The deductions of the author are self-consistent and represent an proposal which has to be seriously submitted to a critical analysis of natural-philosophical notions.

Jan Berg

München, den 14.12.1994
Professor Dr. Jan Berg
Technische Universität München
Lehrstuhl für Philosophie

* The first part of the evaluation deals with the essay "Measurement as Act of Knowledge".

Excerpt from the long text:

3. Reality principle and relativity principle
Unlike Newton, Einstein was betting on the relative behaviour. His "special relativity" states: "The basic laws of physics have the same form for two observers in inertial systems moving with uniform, rectilinear velocity to each other". Although correct, this statement leaves the mentioned behaviour uncleared, were somebody believe that the form of the basic laws of physics would be dependent on the rectilinear, uniform, relative motion of systems. These relations (i.e. the laws) are observer bound, as correctly stated by Einstein. However, observer could move relative to each other with uniform and rectilinearly only when they are objective force-free, in other words if they keep their state unchanged. Physical laws preserve, however, their form in force-free systems. Not the observer induced relation, but rather the presence or absence of real forces is determining the physical behaviour, so that we need no relativity principle in order to understand system behaviour! What we need is a realistic observation in according with the reality principle.

The reality principle makes the relativity principle in physics superfluous. It is already there, where the relativity principle would like to be: for the description of the state under the action of forces, independentlys on the motion of the reference frame!

translated by Dr. Georg Galeczki (Cologne/Germany)

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Lecture delivered at section Didactics of Physics of the conference of the German Physical Society in March 1995 in Duisburg, Conference Proceedings pp. 176-181