Experiment and Metaphysics

Experiment and Metaphysics—Connections between Natural and Cultural Sciences

Other involved Scholars: 

Jürgen Renn, Matthias Schemmel

Cooperation Partners: 

Claus Zittel (FU Berlin) and the Collegium for the Advanced Study of Picture Act and Embodiment (HU Berlin)


Lineal mit Busole, Alfred Rohde: "Die Geschichte der wissenschaftlichen Instrumente" (1923)

Lineal mit Busole, 2. Hälfte 16. Jahrhundert. Dresden, Mathem.-physikal. Salon. Aus: Alfred Rohde: "Die Geschichte der wissenschaftlichen Instrumente" (1923). Diese Publikation fand sich auch im Besitz von Edgar Wind.

The so called 'hermeneutic circle' -- well-known in the humanities, is applicable to the natural sciences too. With the developments in modern physics at the beginning of the 20th century, especially with quantum mechanics, this proved to be no vicious circle for physicists. The observer and his instruments are part of the observed system and the observations and measurements must be seen as interventions into the natural process being investigated.

Edgar Wind, a student of Ernst Cassirer and Erwin Panofsky, called this the 'principle of internal delimination'. In his work ''Experiment and Metaphysics. Towards a Resolution of the Cosmological Antinomies'' (published 1934) he tried to show on pragmatic grounds the consequences of this principle for the modern concept of nature, both for philosophy of science and for the humanities.

The project tries to explain the import of his theory of experiment and to confront it with recent debates about the connections of natural and cultural sciences.