Luonnonfilosofian seura

2016

28. year of activity

Chairman:
Tuomo Suntola
p. +358 45 6797 819
tuomo.suntola@sci.fi

Secretary:
Juha Samela
p. +358 50 5567 176
juha.samela@pivotal.fi

Board 2015:
Tuomo Suntola (chairman)
Tarkko Oksala (vice chairman)
Juha Samela (secretary)
Kari Kosonen (treasurer)
Tarja Kallio-Tamminen
Antero Langinauer
Viljo Martikainen
Avril Styrman
Jyrki Tyrkkö

Bank account:
Nordea Pankki Oyj
Helsinki-Kruununhaka
Account number:
FI3510193000204652
Business ID 1104153-7

The Finnish Society for Natural Philosophy


The Finnish Society for Natural Philosophy promotes studies on the philosophical aspects of natural sciences and encourages discussion between different branches of sciences with emphasis on the linkage between philosophy and physics. The Society arranges International Conferences and Workshops on specific subjects, and as its basic activity, arranges public lectures twice a month in the spring and autumn sessions in the House of Sciences in Helsinki – on subjects ranging from human consciousness to philosophy, physics and cosmology. The Society was founded by Prof. K.V. Laurikainen in 1988 – as a continuation of his popular Thursday-seminars on natural philosophy at the Department of High Energy Physics at the University of Helsinki.  (The Finnish Society for Natural Philosophy 25 Years, Helsinki 2015: e-book, pdf).

News

The  proceedings of the Workshop Scientific Models and a Comprehensive Picture of Reality held on May 20.-21., 2016 in Helsinki is now published as an on open access Special Issue of the Italian periodical La Nuova Critica dedicated to work in the fields of Philosophy of Science and System Theory. The direct link to the Special Issue Scientific Models and a Comprehensive Picture of Reality is http://www.arturocarsetti.it/scaricabili/La_Nuova_Critica_63-64.pdf.


Upcoming events:

No events in English in the autumn term 2016.


Recent events:

20.-21.5.2016 International workshop

Scientific models and a comprehensive picture of reality

The Finnish Society for Natural Philosophy, together with The Physics Foundations Society, will arrange a two-day workshop on the theme Scientific models and a comprehensive picture of reality to be held on May 20-21, 2016 at the House of Sciences in Helsinki. The workshop brings together recognized philosophers, physicists and cosmologists to discuss the scientific models and the challenge of making nature understandable. The workshop calls for novel aspects of unifying theories and discusses the postulates, testability and the philosophical criteria of the theories.

17.5.2016, Prof. Jayant Narlikar: Astronomy tradition in India

This talk will broadly divide the past into three periods: the early Vedic period, the flourishing centuries from Aryabhata to Bhaskara and the later period of the Kerala school. While describing the early astronomical tradition the talk will dwell on the reasons why the early progress did not continue on to modern times.

8.3.2016 An Evening with Ernst Mach

17.00-18.45 Dr. Hayo Siemsen: Ernst Mach’s contribution to natural science.

Ernst Mach had an extraordinary impact on science. Not only that his Erkenntnistheorie substantially influenced a larger part of Nobel Price winners, he also brought about the "new physics", i.e quantum theory and relativity theory in his intellectual successors. He also brought about an "empirical-genetic" pedagogy, which changed (and keeps changing) culture and the understanding of science in fundamental ways. Einstein therefore asked in his obituary to Mach 1916, what exactly it was in Mach's ideas that produced this effect and if this can be somehow reproduced.

How did Mach develop these ideas? It came from a long tradition of thought, which now can be traced back to the Presocratics and even to the "Old Danube Culture" some 10.000 years ago. The most direct influence on Mach though was Friedrich Eduard Beneke, who developed an empirical-genetic psychology (on which Mach founded his idea of Gestalt as a basis for Gestalt psychology). Mach "imbibed" these ideas as his "mother's milk", like Kaila used Mach's ideas and K.V. Laurikainen and K. Kurki-Suonio used these ideas respectively in order to transform Finnish science education. These ideas were too intuitive to make them explicit, unless, one could excavate their roots.

What is the meaning of "Natural Philosophy"? In terms of Beneke and Mach (and then Kaila, Nevanlinna, KVL, Kurki-Suonio), the meaning is an "empirical" philosophy, i.e. one built on empiriy, using metaphysics as a necessary, but adaptable tool to make sense of the world and develop a world view, which might always stay incomplete, but as general, close to the "world" and consistent as possible. These "goals" are of course partly in competition, so the interesting question is, how empiry suggests a process in order to resolve these inconsistencies. The resulting "Natural Philosophic" view is very different from the standard "Platonistic" view. This is probably, what Kaila meant, when he described his philosophy as "natural philosophy" and suggested that the "[standard] philosophers will never understand me".
Dr. Hayo Siemsen is working on his habilitation on the pedagogy and erkenntnis-theory of Ernst Mach. He is currently teaching Gestalt Psychology, Empirical Pedagogy, Psychomathematics and Meta-methodology at the University of Education in Heidelberg.

18.45-19.00 Coffee break.

19.00-20.00 Dr. Tuomo Suntola: Quantitative expression of Mach’s principle.

Mach's principle calls for a physical law that relates the inertia of motion to the presence of distant stars – or the whole space. In the early 1940s, philosopher Philipp Frank attributed to Mach himself the following graphic expression of Mach's principle: When the subway jerks, it's the fixed stars that throw you down.

There is no explicit expression of Mach’s principle, conceptually it is the question of the linkage of local to the whole. Mach’s principle can be seen as a manifestation of closed space and the zero-energy principle which requires that the sum of the total energy of motion and gravitation in space is zero. A quantitative expression of Mach’s principle is obtained in spherically closed space with a metric fourth dimension as the 4-radius. For the balance of motion and gravitation, spherically closed space contracts or expands in the direction of the 4-radius. Any motion in space is related to the motion of space – and any gravitational energy due to a local mass is related to the gravitational energy due to the rest of space. In such a system, the inertial work done in accelerating a mass object is the work done against the gravitation due to all other mass in space – just as suggested by Mach’s principle.

November 10, 2015, The general theory of relativity 100 years

16:15    Prof. Tapio Markkanen, What do the stars tell us? The status of astronomy and the knowledge about the universe at the time the theory of relativity was born.

Through centuries, astronomy has aimed to explain the motions of celestial bodies. In the early 1900s, the increased knowledge of matter and its interaction with radiation made it possible to raise the question of the buildup of the universe and the celestial structures.

17:10    Dr. Hannu Kurki-Suonio, The birth and the essence of the general theory of relativity
I aim to describe in an understandable manner what the general theory of relativity is (and what it is not). The general theory of relativity is a creation of Albert Einstein, but not all of his ideas were realized in the final theory. The underlying principle behind general relativity is that the essence of gravity is geometrical in nature. Gravity is not a real force but an apparent force actually explained by the curvature of space-time. I will also describe some classical and modern tests of the theory of relativity.

18:00    Coffee break

18:20    Dr Tuomo Suntola, What could have been done differently if today’s instruments, observations and knowledge had been available to Einstein?
The theories of relativity were based on the relativity and equivalence principles to make the laws of nature look the same for observers in any frame of reference. The laws of nature studied, included the laws of motion by Isaac Newton, Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism, and the phase velocity of light in an interferometric test setup. At Einstein’s time, following the Newtonian world picture, distant space was assumed to be static, and the structure of atoms as well as atomic clocks were unknown.
What kind of new perspectives on a restructuring of the theory bases can be derived from today’s knowledge and observations? Is the geometry of space the cause of the effect of gravitation? Do motion and gravitation modify time or affect the characteristic frequency of atomic clocks?
   
19:15-    Discussion on the theory of relativity and its role as the basis of our picture of reality.
20:00



The Finnish Society for Natural Philosophy promotes studies on the philosophical aspects of natural sciences and encourages discussion between different branches of sciences with emphasis on the linkage between philosophy and physics. The Society arranges International Conferences and Workshops on specific subjects, and as its basic activity, arranges public lectures twice a month in the spring and autumn sessions in the House of Sciences in Helsinki – on subjects ranging from human consciousness to philosophy, physics and cosmology. The Society was founded by Prof. K.V. Laurikainen in 1988 – as a continuation of his popular Thursday-seminars on natural philosophy at the Department of High Energy Physics at the University of Helsinki.  (The Finnish Society for Natural Philosophy 25 Years, Helsinki 2015: e-book, pdf).

 
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