Cognition as Micro-Foundation by j0q608DU


									    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,
                 Helsinki 11/06/2008
               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)
           Ernst Mach (1838-1916)
 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

 Portrait: “rugged guy
      with beard“                                                      Autoportrait by
 (                                                        Mach
             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,
• 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            4
    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   5
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   6
      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          7
            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   8
    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   9
     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         10
   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      11
What do we really know?


 “the world”            &                       “I”

    Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008         12
             Psychophysical sense elements
     Physics - Somatosensorimotor Physiology – Psychology
              → no meaningful consistent “cut” possible


(training at central council of church bell ringers)
                              Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008   13
The physiological process of Gestalt formation:
     Machian “thought-doing” (Denktun)


                ear    sound-
                      movement                         hand-writing


   Schematized sketch from Mach Notebook Nr. 50, Manfred Sommer, p. 151
                 Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008                      14
Ratiomorphic thought construction
        Hierarchies of Perceptions (adapted from Damasio)
                                 motoric                   somatic                  sensory

   Conscious level                actions                  emotion                external
   Reflection & Feelings                                                         perceptions

   Subconscious level                                                                interpreted
                                         routines             motivation
   Memory Access                                                                     sensations

   Unconscious level
                                                    pain              pleasure

   Instinctual level              chemical             instinct               instinct
   Reactions & Inhibition          control

   Basic level              metabolic          immune                reflex              sensation
                            regulation        response

           Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008                                                 15
Empirical examples: Gestalt perceptions

          A                                           B
 How old were the children, who drew these pictures?

          Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008       16
Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008   17
          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   18
Gestalt levels (points of view): Monism

                                                            social level

           holistic view
                                                         individual level

  “they“      “you“                    “I“
                                                                   iteration process
                                                                     (adaptation of

                  bias                                  (sub)cognitive level


            Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008                           19
   Mach’s phenomenological worlds
                                                  current              Finnish/German

                       new physics
                                                   ancient                 family

phenomenological      mathematical
     worlds                                     other cultures             school

                            child                   archaic               individual
                                               Wittgenstein’s ladder

             Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008                                 20
      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

        Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008    21
  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   22
             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             23
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 Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008
         Hayo                                               24
Types of education from a Machian
  perspective (sensualist scale)
  “pure” logicism (Frege) or physicalism
  (Planck) → Germany
  logicistic phenomenalism (Husserl)
  experimentalism (Czech Republic:
  sensualistic phenomenalism
      Netherlands (Freudenthal; maths edu)
      Finland (Kaila; gestalt psychology)
  genetic Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008
            (Mach)                                25
         Ernst Mach‘s genetic view on
"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                   26
    The educational implications:
  Co-evolution of concept formation
Biological phylogeny          Mental ontogeny (Bruner)
1. Instinctive                1. Haptic / Enactive
2. Intuitive                  2. Iconic
3. Consciously reflective     3. Symbolic (but lower
                                 levels still exist as
                                 unconscious basis)
Cultural genesis in science (Mach)
1. Ideas in the minds of some scientists
2. Ideas part of science culture after publication
3. Popularization of ideas to be part of general
    cultureHayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008   27
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   28
 Main influences on Finish education
            by Eino Kaila

1. Gestalt psychology
2. Phenomenology

        Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008   29
Eino Kaila at the Bühler Institute: the
 genetic origin of concept formation

            Oscar (2 months) & Enno Siemsen
       Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008   30
 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
• Monism: “Elementary particles have no
  individual, only species identity, it is a great
  misconception. They are the expression of
• 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   31
Examples of Kaarle Kurki-Suonio’s
     Machian influences II




                                                  Adapted from Kurki Suonio

      Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008                         32
  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
=> 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   33
        Program of physics course
             (Kaarle‘s ladder)

1.   Philosophy of science/physics
2.   Perceptual experimentation
3.   Knowledge structure of school physics
4.   History of science/physics

          Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008   34
   How can we improve on general
         science education?
     how to identify and resolve
      inconsistent pedagogical
      intuitions education from
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

                                                                    (Robert Oppenheimer)

                  Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008                            35
A Cycle Model of Ratiomorphic Cognition


                                effective surprise

         codification                                         contradiction /
                                                           cognitive disharmony

                                    Cycle of                    associative
        teaching /                 Cognition                    reflection /
        publication                                             adaptation

             knowledge                                            idea

                          testing of the idea for errors


         Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008                                          36
A Cycle Model of Scientific Ideas


                                          research /

                     concept                                         idea

                                          Cycle of

                 teaching                 Science              falsification test
                                                             (empirical, thought

                     knowledge                                      theory

                                     scientific revolution


               Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008                                    37
                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
           Hayo Siemsen, Helsinki, 11th of June 2008       38
              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
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   39
              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   40
                 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      41

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