Ernst Mach and Friedrich Nietzsche. On the Prejudices of Scientists

In John Preston (ed.), Interpreting Mach. Critical Essays. Cambridge, Regno Unito: pp. 123-141 (2021)
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Abstract
The paper provides a thorough account of the relationship between Ernst Mach’s thought and that of an apparently more intellectually distant near-contemporary, Friedrich Nietzsche. The consistency of their views is in fact substantial, as I try to show within the paper. Despite their interests being different, both Mach and Nietzsche were concerned with the same issues about our intellectual relationship with the external world, dealing with the same questions and pursuing a common aim of eliminating worn-out philosophical conceptions. Moreover, it can be argued that both Mach and Nietzsche converged on what we now know as the problem of realism versus anti-realism in the philosophy of science, and that they both rejected ‘representational’ (realist) conceptions of science in favour of a certain sort of pragmatic anti-realism, whose focus was on the role science plays as a means of orientation.
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Archival date: 2021-03-12
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