Advances in Psychology Research. Volume 72 by Alexandra M. Columbus

By Alexandra M. Columbus

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Poincaré‘s ―immovable eye‖ is therefore for Mach not a thought experiment, but a fiction, which misses the main genetic questions. For instance Mach experimentally details the connection between the motorical apparatus of the eye, without which Poincaré‘s ―immovable eye‖ could not adjust its lens to see anything in the first place. The biologically ―given‖ for Mach are for instance the asymmetries in perception between ―up‖ and ―down‖, ―far‖ and ―near‖ and – a little less asymmetrical but also slightly so – ―left‖ and ―right‖.

Mach adds that these words give the intuitive ―impression that Newton was glad to be able to pass over to less precarious questions that could be tested by experience‖. Mach continues in order to criticize this point of view of Newton (1883; 1976, p. 224) ―When we say a body K alters its direction and velocity solely through the influence of another body K‟, we have asserted a conception that is impossible to come at unless other concepts of physics which cannot create its objects, but finds them already present in nature, are ordinarily of the first-mentioned kind.

45 Because of this, he necessarily adapted the meaning of many of his concepts. The accumulation of such problems led to many misunderstandings and confusions still currently prevalent especially in the English speaking world. These effects have been additionally enhanced as a result of the enculturation problem already mentioned due to the World Wars and the breaks they caused in the transmission of knowledge. But these enculturation effects were already considered a problem before the wars. William James himself criticized (for instance in his lectures to teachers) the scientific fashions resulting from the arbitrary use of terminology.

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