Commentary 24 (to L Sundararajan, re. Raman and Boyd on speed of light)
( SPEED OF LIGHT SOUR GRAPES )
by Zvi Lothane
22 April 2008, posted 3 May 2008
This dialogue is quite illuminating. It shows the difference between the stance of an enlightened scientist, Raman, and a doctrinaire philosopher, Muller, spreading the gospel of Ernst von Glasersfeld. I was once a contributor to the KJF and met with appreciation from von Glasersfeld and others and then I fell out of grace.
V. G. no longer understood my point and Riegler, who first invited me to contribute to a journal of which he was editor, then refused to publish my article which was a balanced critique of this approach. So much for scientific and philosophical openness : Les savants ne sont pas curieux.
Man is the measure of all things, said the Greeks, and the so-called British empiricists (Lock, Berkeley, and Hume) ushered in their egregious confusion billed as empiricism which was actually a hidden brand of idealism. This idealistic position denies mind-independent reality, MIR, in the jargon of v. G. and HM. Irony of ironies: the word MIR in Russian means the world. Yes there was, is and will be a world out there no matter how we perceive it, intellectually or emotionally. Berkeley famously declared that esse est percipi, only those things exist that humankind can see. When they asked him what happens to the world when we close our eyes -- does the world disappear ? No, quoth the good bishop whose immortality is assured by having Berkeley CA named after him : the world does not disappear because when we are absent God sees is.
During his visit here I asked the Pope Berkeley was telling the truth and got a resounding yes.
The KJF rigid doctrine reminds me of the Catholic Church when it fought Galilei that the earth is moving. Galilei was almost convicted by the Inquisition and narrowly escaped being burned the stake.
He still had the guts to say to his earthly judges : Eppur si muove, it is still moving.
Why don't we go back to days of flat earth, or the earth as the center of the solar system ? After all, as subjects, that is what we perceive, à la KJF. They just play with the notions of subjective and objective and don't really get it. But like the Church, they think they know better than the scientists.
e-mail <Zvi.Lothane (at) mssm.edu>