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REVIEW

“AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTES ” (ALBERT EINSTEIN),
“EINSTEIN, MACH, AND LOGICAL POSITIVISM” (PHILIPP FRANK),
“THE PHILOSOPHICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY” (HANS REICHENBACH),
“EINSTEIN’S THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE” (VICTOR LENZEN),
“REMARKS TO THE ESSAYS APPEARING IN THIS COLLECTIVE VOLUME” (ALBERT EINSTEIN),

in SCHILPP, P. A. ALBERT EINSTEIN: PHILOSOPHER-SCIENTIST. Open Court. La
Salle, Illinois. 1970
1. “AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTES”
This writing contains what could be described as the ‘intellectual milestones’ of
Einstein’s scientific career. Even though it is not a ‘personal life’ biographical sketch,
the author makes a general statement about his subjective worldview which works as
a sort of standpoint for all of his intellectual autobiography. Einstein describes himself
as a thinker always characterized by a critical attitude to institutionalized authority of
any type. This attitude, which can be easily noticed in his political activism, is
considered by Einstein as a very important background for his scientific career too.
The very first appearance of such attitude happened when by reading popular
scientific books he came to the conclusion that most of the main religious explanations
contained in the bible were false. This discovery led him to deeply freethinking
convictions which he would never abandon: “Suspicion against every kind of authority
grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude towards the convictions which were
alive in any specific social environment –an attitude which has never left me, even
though later on, because of a better insight into the causal connections, it lost some of
its original poignancy” (5).
Two experiences of childhood –the wondering experience of watching a compass
working when he was 5 years old, and the wondering experience of the recognition of
the axiomatic structure of Euclidian geometry when he was 12– are characterized by
Einstein as decisive for his decision of becoming a scientist. After enrolling the
Polytechnic Institute of Zurich he decided to conduct his studies towards the realm of
physics mainly motivated by the fact that he felt more able to recognize the
foundational problems of the field; whereas in the case of mathematics he felt lost
among the multitude of different specialized branches of research without being able
to value what was really essential for the discipline. At this point he introduces a
comment which shows how deep his sense of the value of freethinking was. He claims
that the freedom to focus in the topics which really interested him was much more
fruitful than the strict discipline under which he was educated in Germany: “it is a very
grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted
by means of coercion and a sense of duty” (17).
After these ‘vocational remarks’, Einstein refers to the contextual situation of
physics science upon which he undertook his first research. Even though the
mechanicist framework was facing problems to make sense of some important
phenomena, dogmatic mechanicist rigidity prevailed: “In the beginning (if there was
such a thing) God created Newton’s laws of motion together with the necessary
masses and forces. This is all; everything beyond this follows from the development of
appropriate mathematical methods by means of deduction” (19). Moreover, he states
that students of the times felt quite impressed about the successful achievements of
mechanic physics in several different fields –theory of light, the kinetic theory of
gases, etc.–. These facts, Einstein points out, make understandable that mechanicism
was conceived by the times as the firm foundation of physics: “Even Maxwell and H.
Hertz, who in retrospect appear as those who demolished the faith in mechanics as
the final basis of all physical thinking, in their conscious thinking adhered throughout
to mechanics as the secured basis of physics” (21).

mechanicism was not favorably regarded by Einstein because of his agreement (during the first years of his career) with Mach’s critic concerning the unjustified reference of Newton’s physics to a substantival space. Interestingly. a conception of which for a long time I considered as in principle the correct one” (29). However. The last quotation shows the struggle that Einstein had to face in order to make deep sense of one of his very first outstanding contributions to physics (actually. even in the context of Lorentz’s theory. These results were never. precisely as was true for Newton’s other forces. As it is known. so that. to adapt the theoretical foundation of physics to this new type of knowledge failed completely. without having a substitute of classical mechanics. In the context of this problematic foundational situation of physics. the main empirical fact which condemned mechanicism was given by the electrodynamics of Faraday and Maxwell. As it is known. this scientist achieved a solution of the problems involved in the dynamics of heat radiation of a blackbody by the introduction of the notion of energy quanta.However. the problematic foundational problem of the duality among ponderable matter and electromagnetic fields could not be solved. The main development and interpretation on such field achieved during those times were made by Lorentz. upon which one could have built” (45). susceptible of being interpreted in a coherent mechanicist way. The program of ‘reducing’ ordinary matter to electromagnetic features was never completely accomplished. insofar as they exclude the possibility of emission over the range of a continuum. From the point of view of the empirical confirmation of theories. All my attempts. I could nevertheless see to what kind of consequences this law of temperature-radiation leads for the photo-electric effect and for other related phenomena of the transformation of radiation-energy. with no firm foundation to be seen anywhere. only . according to Einstein. but “this ether had to lead a ghostly existence alongside the rest of matter. That is. Such reference would constitute a violation of the criterion of empirical meaning for scientific theories (conceived from a positivistic point of view): “Mach conjectures that in a truly rational theory inertia would have to depend upon the interaction of the masses. inasmuch as it seemed to offer no resistance whatever to the motion of ‘ponderable’ bodies” (25). Einstein started to feel uncomfortable about such basis quite soon. “for this theory and its confirmation by Hertz’s experiments showed that there are electromagnetic phenomena which by their very nature are detached from every ponderable matter –namely. is not a necessary consequence of these equations” (45). The incorporation of optics into electromagnetism –and the derived consequences of it– “was like a revelation” (33). the waves in empty space which consist of electromagnetic ‘fields’” (25). All of these problems were enough for Einstein’s conviction of the necessity of the formulation of a radically new and coherent foundational framework for physics: “All of this [the deep foundational problems] was quite clear to me shortly after the appearance of Planck’s fundamental work. It was as if the ground had been pulled out from under one. These discrete packages of energy which determined the values of the radiation emitted by a blackbody contradicted the mechanicist view. although it is compatible with Maxwell’s equations. The reading of Mach History of Mechanics is stated as the main source of such suspicious feeling. From a more ‘internal’ and epistemological point of view. the peculiar features of such entity were understood by Einstein as problematic for a mechanicist framework. however. Einstein refers to two main criticisms of mechanics as the basis of physics. as well as for the specific heat of (especially) solid bodies. Einstein’s most appreciated field of investigation was given by Maxwell’s theory. “the incorporation of wave-optics into the mechanical picture of the world was bound to arouse serious misgivings” (25). then the mechanicist picture should necessarily postulate the existence of a medium for its propagation. However. A second source of deep problems for the foundational framework of physics was contained in Planck’s work. if light was to be conceived as an electromagnetic wave. Einstein points out that the results of Planck’s work were incompatible with electromagnetic theory too “for the expression for the density of radiationenergy.

Such universal principle. which has been interpreted by quantum-mechanics in an ingenious and amazingly successful fashion” (51). One sees that a priori it is not at all necessary that the ‘times’ thus defined in different inertial systems agree with one another” (55). who were quite numerous at that time (Ostwald. he soon acknowledged that such a thing was not possible. The next step in the narration of his scientific road consists on the formulation of the Special Theory of Relativity. the more I came to the conviction that only the discovery of a universal formal principle could lead us to assured results” (53). of course. Such interpretation of this fictitious situation was paradoxical from the point of view of mechanicism.. e. i. he arrived to the conclusion that the notion of (absolute) simultaneity needed not to be considered from an a priori standpoint: “A clock at rest relative to the system of inertia defines a local time. the reading of empiricist oriented works by Mach and Hume worked as the epistemological grounds to the trust he felt about the fruitfulness of this revolutionary conception. he realized that the mechanicist framework would predict that he should observe an oscillatory electromagnetic field at rest. that neither mechanics nor electrodynamics could (except in limiting cases) claim exact validity. and (2) the independence of the laws of the choice of the inertial system. Under the conception of physical coordinates as the result of measurements made by means of rigid rods and light clocks. but the freethinking attitude of Einstein led him to develop such idea: “One sees that in this paradox the germ of the special relativity theory is already contained” (53). Einstein narrates. Thinking about what would happen if he were able to pursue a light beam. Besides his critical attitude. The longer and the more despairingly I tried. By and by I despaired of the possibility of discovering the true laws by means of constructive efforts based on known facts. This revolutionary outcome of Einstein’s thinking occurred briefly after another very important landmark in his career. in a way such that: “My major aim in this was to find facts which could guarantee as much as possible the existence of atoms of definite size” (47). These considerations led Einstein to the formulation of the two principles which are the basis of the SRT: (1) the constancy of the light velocity. He was interested in getting an explanation of the phenomenon of Brownian motion. which belongs to the selected system of inertia. Mach) of the reality of atoms” (49). His research in this field allowed him to interpret Brownian motion of a suspended particle as the outcome of thermal agitation of the molecules constituting the solution. This twofold physical innovation made possible the ultimate recognition of the effective existence of atoms: “The agreement of these considerations with experience together with Planck’s determination of the true molecular size from the law of radiation (for high temperatures) convinced the skeptics. achievement which he describes. was the outcome of a line of thought which. after the problematic situation originated by electromagnetic results and Planck’s and his own innovations: “Reflections of this type made it clear to me as long ago as shortly after 1900. if a means is given to ‘set’ these clocks relative to each other. as one of the milestones along his scientific career: the attribution of particle-like behavior to light as the explanation of the photo-electric effect: “This double nature of radiation (and of material corpuscles) is a major property of reality. This interpretation contained a way to determine Avogadro’s number. and consequently grasped the insight that an observer riding a light beam would observe the physical reality as governed exactly by the same laws which hold for an observer at rest on the earth. The local times of all space points taken together are the ‘time’. He explicitly remarks that such two . As a general remark. occurred for the first time when he was 16 years old.further developments of quantum physics could accomplish a full meaning attribution). which would constitute a step towards the achievement of a new and firm ground for physics. Einstein states that his main motivation to undertake the project of SRT was the necessity to formulate a new grounding framework for science. However. Einstein introduces a very interesting remark concerning the background reflections which led to pursue the development of this ‘paradoxical’ line of thought. shortly after Planck’s trailblazing work.

Einstein did not find any grounding for the attribution of the special and qualitative hierarchy to inertial frames. On the one hand. in place of an ‘inertial system’. the contradiction disappears. The inert mass of a closed system is identical with its energy. within the frame of the special relativity theory. and the consequent loss of meaning of an expression such as ‘immediate action at a distance’ in the sense of Newtonian mechanics. As it can be seen. The formulation of Minkovski’s four dimensional spacetime allowed the introduction of a formalism which guarantees the invariance of the laws of physics under the Lorentz transformations. Together with the abandonment of absolute time and absolute simultaneity. Two main reasons are characterized as the motivation for such endeavor. The discovery of the equivalence principle happened in 1908. there is no room for a satisfactory theory of gravitation” (65). This principle showed even more clearly that the restriction of SRT of law-invariance under the Lorentz transformation operated among inertial frames was too narrow. Before Minkovski’s investigations such invariance had to be tested through the application of the transformations at issue. Einstein characterizes as the main second revolutionary result of his SRT to the fact that: “the principles of the conservation of momentum and of energy are fused into one single principle. Mach’s question concerning the grounds for a legitimate distinction among inertial frames above all other co-ordinate systems is not answered by SRT. Einstein states that he needed seven further years to accomplish the GRT because his important conception of the co-ordinates system as containing a metrical meaning had fallen down. another radically revolutionary and ‘paradoxical’ insight of Einstein. On the other hand. The reason was that such approach could not make a coherent sense of a twofold requirement: to account for the equality of inertial and gravitational mass. The equivalence among gravitational free-falling –and consequently among uniform acceleration– and inertial motion entailed by the principle showed that the scope of SRT to inertial frames was arbitrarily restricted. this rejection of classical physics in favor of a new conception of time is one of the landmarks of the achievement of a new framework for science. a reference system which is accelerated relative to an inertial system” (65). In simpler words. at the same time. is introduced in this writing in the following way: “In a gravitational field (of small spatial extension) things behave as they do in a space free of gravitation. his first attempts to include this kind of phenomena within a relativistic approach failed. if one introduces in it. But if one assumes the new meaning attributed to simultaneity. to account for the dependence of mass on the kinetic energy of a body: “This convinced me that. The first key for the solution came from a thorough conception of the equality of inertial and gravitational mass as the first principle of the pursued generalization. and.principles are contradictory if conceived from the point of view of classical physics. The reason of the arising of this problem lied mainly on the recognition that the gravitational red-shift predicted by the equivalence principle entailed on its hand a gravitational time-dilation which could not be accounted by the operation of Lorentz linear transformations: time runs slower for an observer in the top of a tower than for . The formulation of his famous principle of equivalence –among a gravitational field and a uniformly accelerated frame–. and assumes the Lorentz transformations as the expression of the relative nature of simultaneity. The next chapter in Einstein narration tells the story of his undertaking of the endeavor of a generalization and extension of SRT. a second feature of the physical revolution initiated is given by the mass-energy equivalence entailed by the theory. SRT was not able to offer a complete and coherent account of gravitational phenomena. that is. Moreover. One last remark that Einstein introduces in connection with SRT lies on the great relevance of Minkovski’s reflections. thus eliminating mass as an independent concept” (61). That is to say. Einstein affirms that Minkovski “showed that the Lorentz-transformation (apart from a different algebraic sign due to the special character of time) is nothing but a rotation of the coordinate system in the four-dimensional space” (59).

which forms a sub-group of the former” (69). and if we consider as well the fact that a complete measurement of the first system S1 plus the  -function of the total system we get an entirely definite  function for S2. Einstein then realized that the solution was given by finding a group of continuous coordinate transformations such that “this group replaces the group of the Lorentz transformations of the special theory of relativity. and such dilation is not a function of Lorentz transformations. Since we know from the special theory of relativity that the (inert) mass equals energy. Before describing what he considers as the most coherent program to achieve the completion of a general theory of unified fields. together with relativity theory. their coherent combination has resisted all undertaken efforts. It is interesting to note that in this writing Einstein only refers to the ‘mathematical’ problem of law invariance. In other words. but he still needed the physical explanation of the specific metric of any region. we shall have to put on the right side the tensor of energy-density –more precisely the entire energydensity. Einstein found such new group of transformation thanks to the insight that he could approach the problem from the perspective of Riemannian geometry. The remaining question for the complete formulation of GRT consisted in finding equations which to account the relationship of the metric assigned to a certain region of spacetime to the matter in it. He does not mention at all the importance that reflection about the physics of a rotating disk had for the abandonment of a Euclidian description of spacetime. is interpreted by quantum physicists as showing that “the value of the measurement only arises in cooperation with the unique probability which is given to it in view of the  -function only through the act of measuring itself” (85). If the two partial-systems involved in this famous paradox are considered as independent. he recognizes that. but he does not refers to the geometrical-physical aspect of the story. The  -function of the theory. But. In the case of the relativistic theory of the gravitational field Rik takes the place of  . or unless we deny independent real situations for things which are physically independent–. given the independence of the two partial-systems. His critical conception of quantum theory lies on the fact that Einstein renders it as incomplete. but not the general field “in which quantities corresponding somehow to the electromagnetic field occur too” (73). and that gravity has been reduced to the metric of spacetime in GRT. The outcome that Einstein attributes to this paradox is that one has “to give up the position that the  -function constitutes a complete description of a real . However. Einstein points out that such formulation is incomplete in the sense that it only covers the physical account of the pure gravitational field. then it follows that according to the type of measurement made on S1 we get different values for  -function of S2. Considering that in classical physics matter was conceived as the lawlike connected feature of gravity. with the Riemann’s tensor he had the description of the metric of spacetime. this means that for the same real situation of S2 we get different values for its  -function –unless we accept that S 1 telepathically affects the situation of S2. In the first place. On the right side we shall then have to place a tensor also in place of  . Riemann’s curvature tensor allowed him to express the invariant interval of special relativity ds2 in the generalized way that the principle of equivalence required. insofar as it does not belong to the pure gravitational field” (75). as a complete description of the corresponding system. Einstein exposes his critical interpretation of quantum mechanics. The root of the problem consists on the requirement of law-invariance among gravitational/uniformly-accelerated frames and inertial frames. which describes the probability of finding a certain physical magnitude.an observer fixed in the ground. it is clear that is matter the lawlikely related feature of a certain metric in the context of GRT: “In general one may write (Poisson equation)   4k (   mass density) [   gravitational potential]. To refute this interpretation Einstein then offers a brief and simple exposition of the EPR paradox. quantum mechanics is the most general and successful physical theory. These observations accomplish the story of the original formulation of GRT. and consequently.

factual situation. 2. The subtle difference lies then upon the ‘distance’ that Mach and Einstein allowed between concepts and experience. scientific concepts are ‘abstracted’ from. On the one hand. the fundamental laws of physics should be formulated so that they would contain only concepts which could be defined by direct observations or at least by a short chain of thoughts connected with direct observations. recognized that this requirement is an oversimplification. In twentieth-century physics the general principle have been formulated by using words or symbols which are connected with observational concepts by long chains of mathematical and logical argument” (274). and such connection is conceived as intuitive. In the later. On the other hand. For Mach. For in this case it would be impossible that two different types of  functions could be co-ordinated with the identical factual situation of S2” (87). such as Mach. not logical. MACH. The last pages of this writing contain a brief description of the attempts that he has done in that direction. it is interesting to pay some attention on some epistemological remarks he offers as his philosophical credo. The meaning of the concepts and propositions is grounded on their connection with sense-experiences. His convincement about the creative and free origin of concepts led Einstein to adopt a view of the positivistic criterion in which the meaning of physical concepts and statements is assured by the possibility of logically deriving observables quantities from them. even those which are closest to experience. he recognizes that at that moment he has not arrived to any definitive result. Einstein attributes a twofold importance to his interpretation of the essential incompleteness of quantum theory. whereas the simplicity and inner coherence of such system is given by logic laws. He also recognizes that. . The intuitive nature of the connection with sense experience is given by human creativity. In order to accomplish this summary of Einstein’s autobiographical notes. he strongly remarks the fact of the creative and non-inductive origin of the concepts: “All concepts. However. the system of concepts is a creation of human beings in accordance with the syntactical laws of logic. are from the point of view of logic freely chosen conventions” (13). must necessarily refer to sense perceptions. and therefore a larger distance for their connection to experience is allowed: “According to Mach and his immediate followers. and therefore directly linked to. inasmuch as mere approximations will not suffice” (93). The positivistic main epistemological principle. However. it determines that all of his scientific efforts undertaken after the formulation of GRT aim to the achievement of a general field theory which could be able to give a complete description of such field. especially because of the fact that such remarks can be evaluated from the standpoint of Frank’s paper. and especially by the logical empiricists. “EINSTEIN. AND LOGICAL POSITIVISM” The main point in Frank’s paper is to show that Einstein epistemological beliefs are deeply coherent with the description of scientific knowledge proposed by positivistic thinkers. the requirement that any proposition or concept. experience. Einstein. Einstein draws a basic distinction among the realm of sense experiences and the realm of concepts and propositions. whereas for Einstein they are freely and intuitively invented. Einstein considered that an interpretation of the positivistic principles as stating the requirement that every statement of physics must be translatable in terms of observable quantities is too strict and oversimplified. is stated by Frank as having a deep heuristic value for Einstein’s science. However. namely. Therefore. he states that “I believe that this theory offers no useful point of departure for future development” (87). in order to posses meaning. concerning the equations he proposes as the most natural generalization of the equations of gravitation: “the proof of their physical usefulness is a tremendously difficult task. the relations among concepts and propositions are characterized by a logical nature and governed by the rules of logical thinking. however.

or into empty talk. Franks points out that a deep common feature shared by classical positivism and logical empiricism is the requirement for the meaning of concepts and statements. This conception of metaphysical concepts as notions devoid of any meaning is. When Einstein complains about the complete rejection of metaphysics proposed by logical empiricists. in view of its task of ordering and surveying sense-experience. He refers to a distinction made by Mach between ‘direct’ and ‘indirect’ description in which the later method of formulation of concepts is not a mere observational description. he is not the term in the sense of ‘meaningless’. Einstein argues that there has to be some space for metaphysical concepts within science in the sense of concepts which do not directly refer to experience. Frank argues that remarks like this show that Einstein coincided with logical positivists not only about the criterion of meaning. In the case of a comparison between Einstein’s epistemology and logical empiricism of Carnap and others. The principles are regarded as ‘true’ only if by logical conclusions statements about observations can be derived which can be confirmed by actual experience” (275-6). Frank quotes a passage contained in his contribution for a book about the philosophy of Bertrand Russell in which Einstein asserts that: “in order that thinking might not degenerate into ‘metaphysics’. Frank points out that Mach himself and even Comte had a clear insight about the fact that the origin of scientific concepts is not a mere inductive abstraction. Frank states that for this philosophical tradition: “the principles themselves were regarded as products of the free human imagination and could contain any ‘abstract terms’ or symbols […]. the construction begins at the top and then adds lower and lower levels. Frank then states that this sense of ‘metaphysic’ is not excluded from science by the logical positivists. according to Frank. Einstein. Frank argues that the coincidence is even deeper. in some other writings. Whatever the nature or origin of such concepts and statements. Nevertheless. These remarks can be understood as a ground to assert that Einstein’s refining statements about the origin of concepts were at least prefigured by the main positivistic philosophers. in this passage Einstein shares the pejorative meaning attributed to the term ‘metaphysics’ as naming concepts and propositions which do not posses any meaning at all. so to speak.In spite of Einstein’s criticism of Mach’s original principle as oversimplified and too strict. not as an inductive grasping grounded on direct perception: “the calculus is first constructed floating in the air. he quotes a passage in which this author states that any observational process inherently requires the participation of a theoretical presupposed framework: no observation is possible without a previous conceptual scheme. supported by Einstein. in opposition of an inductive-abstractive conception. or if they are such that no possible confrontation with experience can be logically derived from them. should show as much unity and parsimony as possible” (278-9). In more general terms. The thorough rejection of metaphysics is . He quotes a passage of Carnap in which he states that in the formulation of the first principles of physical theories such process is made ‘from above’. by virtue of the impossibility of deriving any statements about possible sense experience. such concepts or statements are qualified as ‘meaningless’ or ‘metaphysical’. aims to detach himself from ‘contemporary empiricist philosophizing’ because of the thorough rejection of any metaphysical concepts of such philosophy from the realm of science. In the case of Comte. As it can be seen. but a mathematical scheme which describe phenomena starting from a purely symbolic set of terms. as the quotation of Carnap shows. but in the conception of the origin of concepts as well. if they are not directly related to observational entities. Finally. it is only necessary that enough propositions of the conceptual system be firmly enough connected with sensory experience and that the conceptual system. the lower level is anchored at the solid grounds of observable facts” (276). in the back of his claim there is his conception of the origin of scientific principles as the outcome of free human invention. Frank argues that this detaching attitude of Einstein is nothing but a terminological-semantical problem. Carnap’s quotation can be interpreted as being coherent with a view of freely created scientific concepts. by the semantical rules.

then it would be easy to consequently argue that the definitive basic principles governing nature will never be achieved. has this right way any existence outside our illusions? I answer without question that there is. A concrete example is given by one of the ramifications of logical positivism: Reichenbach’s reduction of scientific theories to the set of observational predictions they entail –consider the semantic conventionalism he proposes in The Philosophy of Space and Time– is clearly an example of a non-realist oriented conception of scientific knowledge. it follows that one could not be regarded as a realist. Einstein’s belief in the true principles of science and in the possibility to grasp them by means of mathematical reflection does constitute a deep philosophical departure from logical positivism. than as the expression of an epistemological task. understood as the correct ones. are the outcome of human invention. If the basic concepts of science. or at least not in the same sense as Einstein can be regarded. Einstein did believe in the existence of the ultimate principles governing the world. 3. I think that this last remark is a flaw in Frank’s argumentation. a right way. it is. can we ever hope to find the right way? Nay more. He states as a deep mistake to interpret Einstein’s science as supporting a sort of philosophical relativism in the sense of an abandonment of notions as truth and objectivity. Moreover. the author introduces some general remarks. If one denies the existence of the ultimate physical principles. Contrarily. Frank considers that this differentiation is not a matter of epistemological issues. He refers to the fact that Einstein associated this hope of finding the truth with his ‘religious world view’ to characterize it more as a subjective and personal opinion. . Frank’s last point consists on the expression of a difference among Einstein and logical positivists. it could suggest that such basic principle. and he did believe in the possibility to achieve them. he never felt in necessity of undertaking a properly philosophical analysis of such criterion. Einstein should be characterized as a realist – grounded on a kind of Pythagorean assumptions. I am convinced that we can discover by means of purely mathematical constructions the concepts and the laws connecting them with each other. In simpler words. and the key to such achievement lies upon a mathematical heuristic method: “if it is true that this axiomatic basis of theoretical physics cannot be extracted from experience but must be freely invented. The second remark also points out a mistake: it is wrong to believe that physical relativity is not a philosophical theory. In the first section. specifically in the sense of containing very important and definite consequences for the theory of knowledge. Frank states that what Einstein describes as metaphysics in the sense of a freely invented concept is not referred by the logical empiricists with the term at issue. Even though the structure and foundation of scientific knowledge that Einstein and the logical empiricists offer are quite similar and coherent to each other.made in the sense of ‘meaningless’. which furnish the key to the understanding of natural phenomena” (283). as Einstein and Carnap state. For instance. in my opinion. “THE PHILOSOPHICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY” Reichenbach’s paper aims to offer an explicit outline of the philosophical contentions implied by Einstein’s relativity philosophical. this fact does not mean that Einstein was a philosopher in the full sense of the word. However. and that we are capable of finding it.concerning the ultimate ontological status of scientific knowledge. even though always supporting a kind of empiricist criterion of meaning (as Frank points out). He thinks that it is only the expression of a personal and subjective reaction with regards to the fact of scientific knowledge –he offers an example of a different ‘personal reaction’ by P. However. Considering such beliefs. do not exist at all. Bridgman–. mistake which gets even bigger if applied to the realm of ethics. whereas in the case of positivisticly oriented thinkers the question is not so simple. Frank reminds that a position of this kind was adopted by Poincare and many of his logical empiricist followers.

is presupposing his own epistemology of geometry (semantic conventionalism)–which is not the only possible one–. to relate different co-ordinative definitions of simultaneity to different observers is nothing but a way to simplify the presentation of logical relationships: “It is convenient to identify one definitional system with one observer. Therefore. Moreover. or to any abandonment of the notion of truth. A second example is given by the statements referred to time: the attribution of a relation of simultaneity to distant events depends on a prior definition as well. This kind of presentation has the risk of suggesting that the relativity of the theory is an expression of different subjective standpoints. He explains this sentence by means of an example. As it can be seen. Reichenbach points out the fact that sometimes the theory is presented in a way such that the co-ordinative definitions are intrinsically related to different observers. In a logical exposition of the theory of relativity the observer can be completely eliminated” (295). Some misunderstandings about truth and relativity are given by considerations about the role of simplicity in the theory. By this he manes that “they are given by the co-ordination of a physical object. all of these systems are physically equivalent and are connected to each other by means of suitable transformations. This property of the basic grounds of relativity theory. insofar as “the choice of a geometry is arbitrary only so long 1 I think this contention is open to criticism. for example. The relativity of spacetime measurements has nothing to do with subjective perspectives of observers. Equal length. Reichenbach states that even though the definitions of certain features of spacetime vary throughout different definitional systems –related to different observers–. Therefore. Reichenbach is aiming to describe the precise meaning of relative in Einstein’s theory as a way to detach it from any interpretation which wrongly state it as somehow connected to any form of lack of objectivity. is a matter of definition just as the settlement of units of length measure is. the definitional nature of basic concepts leads to a plurality of equivalent descriptions. .In the second section Reichenbach begins to develop his view of the philosophical content of relativity. their co-ordinative definitional nature. Reichenbach asserts that the fact that nonEuclidian geometry allows a simpler presentation of the theory than Euclidean geometry does not imply that the non-Euclidean version is ‘truer’ 1. Simultaneity is defined by referring to light rays which cover equal distances. His first claim is that: “the logical basis of the theory of relativity is the discovery that many statements. are characterized by Reichenbach as co-ordinative definitions. That would be a big mistake. is quite important because of its connection to the reference to the features of different observers in the theory. These definitions used in the construction of space and time within the theory. which were regarded as capable of demonstrable truth or falsity. the comparison of distances. Einstein’s reflection on the physics of the rotating rigid disk shows that the adoption of non-Euclidian geometries is related to physical-geometrical issues as well. to some fundamental concept” (294). which are the grounds to construct meaningful statements. At least it is a fact that Reichenbach. or process. For instance. is defined by reference to a rigid rod whose transport lays equal distances. the adoption of a Euclidean or non-Euclidean presentation is just a matter of convention. In order to be even more precise about the philosophical meaning of relativity within Einstein’s theory. the geometrical conventionalism of Poincare claims that the geometrical statements about the physical world are not grounded on real features of it. congruence. are mere definitions” (293). In this theory. in this point. Reichenbach states this as misleading. simultaneity statements acquire a truth value only when a certain definition is presupposed. They are only ‘different languages’ to depict the same physical content. It ignores the fact that the adoption of Riemannian geometry is not only the outcome of mathematical necessities. A certain distance can be said to be congruent or incongruent to another distance just if a certain definition of congruence has been introduced. to speak of different observers is merely a mode of speech expressing the plurality of definitional systems.

For instance. Instead of speaking of conventionalism. for instance–. such visualization would be quite different. therefore. However. in connection with the empiricist criterion of meaning. is not a theory which could be understood as supporting Leibnizian relationisms.as no definition of congruence is specified. Time. The philosophy of space and time is not the work of the ivory tower philosopher […]. Helmholtz offered the first explanation of the relative character of geometry. In the case of Einstein’s theory. such possible singularities can take the form of causal anomalies –of the type of a light signal traveling from A to B passing through one pole of the sphere. that relativity. Reichenbach concludes these historical remarks with a general assertion about the relation of physics and philosophy: “this short account shows that the evolution of philosophical ideas is guided by the evolution of physical theories. and consequently the new representation contains some singularities –the poles of a sphere in a plane–. But the most influential antecedent is mach’s claim of the necessity of a relational account of inertial forces. Reichenbach nevertheless recognizes that this relativity of geometry has some limits. The fourth section of the article aims to make explicit the philosophical description of space and time contained in relativity. if the description of a closed universe is correct. in the special and general case. or even Machian-relationist claims. Reichenbach’s first claim about the subject is that space and time –specifically contra Kant–. Certain different representations of an original geometrical system are not continuous –a sphere represented on a flat-plane. the representation of such trajectory in a plane is causally anomalous–. The third section of the article deals with the task of assigning Einstein’s physics (more precisely. Leibniz’s attempt to build an account of space and motion in relative terms is also stated as connected to Einstein’s view 2. Geometry is relative in the same sense as other relative concepts” (297). bears witness to the fact that philosophy of science has taken over a function which philosophical systems could not perform” (301). it becomes an empirical question which geometry holds for a physical space […]. for example. Later on. Reichenbach claims that Einstein has no previous forerunners. and Spacetime. for instance. which we owe to Einstein. but if we would live close to a black hole. He also shed light on the problem of the psychological possibility of representation of geometrical features. Geometrical representations of relativity theory which give space to such anomalies are of course ruled out. to its epistemological consequences) within the course of the history of philosophy. option which would not be Kantian at all–. He established that the visualization of geometry is nothing but the outcome of everyday experience with solid bodies and light rays: we have a ‘natural’ visualization of space in Euclidean terms because of the features of the physics surrounding our everyday life. Space and time are real in the sense that they 2 This claim is also debatable. He explains such fact by asserting that the possibility of the formulation of such idea depends on the availability of some very accurate experimental methods: the assumption of light as the fastest possible signal could not have been conceived before the negative outcome of the Michelson-Morley experiment. The great synthesis of the various lines of development. Lawrence Sklar. argues in his influential Space. insofar as it depends on an explicit formulation of congruence. . Bolyai and Lobachevski was related to considerations about the possibility of an accurate geometrical description of the world which would not be Euclidean. we should speak of the relativity of geometry. are sketched by Reichenbach as antecedents of Einstein. Once this definition is set up. concerning his new and revolutionary conception of time and simultaneity. the neo-Kantian project of taking advantage of relativity of geometry in order to relate physics to a Euclidean framework is condemned to failure –unless they are willing to hold an anomalous conception of causality. Another line of thinking development connected to Einstein’s science and epistemology is given by the history of geometry. a Euclidean representation would contain causal anomalies. Occam’s razor and Leibniz’s principle of indiscernibles. are not ideal objects or necessary ordering forms of the human mind. The introduction of non-Euclidean geometries reached by Gauss. Hence.

In spite of the fact that qua concepts they are inventions of the human minds. in the context of Kant’s apriorism regarding Euclidean geometry. he considers that this is an open and completely unsolved problem for physics. just as in the case of geometry. That is. This is the sense in which Reichenbach establishes space and time as physically descriptive: “these conceptual systems describe relations holding between physical objects. that we have to consider the geometrical system and certain co-ordinative definitions–. a physical theory should include a foundation for the uni-directionality of time in order to be able to account for its irreversibility. Reichenbach deals with the task of circumscribing Einstein. determining some fundamental features of the physical world” (302). and the decision about which scheme is the correct one is an empirical task. Another way to explain this is that. the correct system does say something about empirical features –reminding. in terms of after and later. have been progressively challenged by modern science: Euclidean space. That is. Such principles. . Absolute simultaneity would exist in a physical world in which there is no upper limit to the velocity of signals. into a larger philosophical school. there are different possible time schemes produced by the human mind. a versatility vastly superior to the dogmatism of a pure reason which dictates its laws to the scientist” (309). Such uni-directionality is the precise formulation of the problem of irreversibility of time. The order of time. Since the speed of casual transmission is limited. Reichenbach asserts that no such foundation is available within the context of relativity theory. Reichenbach is quite clear and precise when explaining such connection. at least in general terms. In addition. these relations formulate physical laws of great generality. In the fifth and final section of his paper. The relation ‘telepathy’ is empty in terms of physical descriptive content. and thus. His last remark about the philosophy of time presupposed by Einstein is that it makes possible a better understanding of the meaning of absolute time in classical physics. the discovery of different geometries had as a main outcome the fact that choosing the most adequate system to describe physical reality became an empirical question. substances as the ultimate entities. light-rays. are concepts which have been abandoned by physics. whereas the relation ‘fatherhood’ is descriptive.specify some general features of physical objects. as determining the bounds of rationality. and the relativity of time is built upon this causal framework: “that Einstein’s theory admits a reversal of time order for certain events. we have to consider that not all of human conceptual inventions are descriptive of the world. Einstein has then contributed to a conception of human knowledge characterized by freedom and creativeness: “the fact that we are able to overcome these conceptions and to replace them by better ones reveals unexpected abilities of the human mind. solid bodies. This is an instance of time’s relativity and of time’s reality –as conceived by Reichenbach–. is reducible to causal order. and Einstein’s relativity is one of the milestones of this process. is merely a consequence of this fundamental fact [the intrinsic relation among time and causality]. Reichenbach’s second claim about the philosophy of spacetime has to do with the intrinsic connection among time and causality implied by Einstein’s theory. this is a relation whose order cannot be altered. That is. In the case of the direction of time things are not so simple. they are descriptive of the physical world. Moreover. Such world is as conceivable as one in which such limit exists. absolute time. a result from the relativity of simultaneity. and watches. For events of this kind a time order is not defined. Cause is always after its effect. and either of them can be called earlier or later than the other” (304). namely. of course. The first stage is to show that Einstein achievements can be understood as a step towards a rejection of Kantian views related to a synthetic a priori conception of the basic principles of knowledge and science. Causal-temporal relation assigns an order to time. but such order does not imply a certain direction or a uni-directionality for time. there exist events of such a kind that neither of them can be the cause or the effect of the other.

not on inductions or abstractions operated over sense experience. 4. which is so devised that it connects observational data by deductive operations and enables us to predict new data” (309). Theory of knowledge is analysis of science” (310). In the first stage of this progression. to construe their meanings and stake out their validity. The mathematical core of a theory which is not logically reducible constitutes the indispensable and not rationally deducible part of a theory. Besides this quotation from an article about Maxwell. but to an empiricism which gives space to the introduction of innovative ideas –that is. is grounded on human’s mind creativity. Lenzen remarks that Einstein holds a realist conception of the world. Lenzen also states that Einstein’s realist view can be traced in his analysis of quantum mechanics and his EPR paradox: he does believe in a determinate state of any physical system independently of the intromission of observers. he states that “the belief in an external world independent of the percipient subject is the foundation of all science” (363). In the second section of his article. Einstein considers. then modern physics is anti-metaphysical. related to the creative origin of any concept. The realm of sense experiences is organized and made intelligible by concepts which refer to them. immediately or via logical derivations of observational statements. That is. It is true that not to the classic empiricism of Bacon and Mill. However. Moreover. “EINSTEIN’S THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE” In order to offer an explicit description of Einstein’s relativity. Consequently: “there is no separate entrance to truth to philosophers. it is the conception that there are no a priori or necessary notions to which knowledge must conform. there is always a possible conceptual alternative. even though their validity derives only from reason. Lenzen offers a preliminary account of the distinction among sensory experience and conceptual description which is presupposed by Einstein’s view. Such distinction is quite coherent with what has been stated by Frank and Reichenbach. Lenzen undertakes a sort of progressive approach. the empiricism of mathematical construction. Reichenbach asserts that Einstein belongs to an empiricist conception of knowledge. In a manner of speaking. However. If by metaphysics we understand the conception that the main principles of science are not analytical. and concludes with an account of the structure and nature of the whole theory of relativity (both special and general). the ultimate goal of physical science is to build theories in which the mathematical apparatus would be as small as possible. The path of the philosopher is indicated by that of the scientist: all the philosopher can do is to analyze the results of science. Lenzen begins by an examination of Einstein’s view about the origin and structure of concepts in general. Reichenbach concludes his article with a general remark about the nature of philosophy of science connected to the value he assigns to this ‘modern theoretical physics empiricism’. continues with an exposition of the structure and origin of the main scientific concepts involved in relativity. Einstein believes that the truly creative process lies on the introduction of mathematical constructions. the empiricism which Frank depicts–: “Einstein’s empiricism is that of modern theoretical physics. Modern science denies the possibility of knowledge grounded on any different basis than experience. immediate or mediate reference to sense experience is the necessary criterion of meaning. not directly to . As a general framework for the analysis of the meaning. The origin of concepts. Lenzen remarks the fact that in the case of physics. the merits of which is judged only through its reference to experience. finally. this realist talk is attenuated by the conception that the meaning of any concept is given by its reference to sense-impressions.Grounded on this view. that is. origin and structure of this concept. Lenzen begins continues his progressive examination by stating that the most basic concept involved in Einstein’s science is the bodily object.

but is a free creation of the human (or animal) spirit” (365). For example. Einstein holds that. In other words. The collection of conceivable quasi-rigid continuations of a body K0 is the infinite space determined by this body as a frame of reference” (368). the structure of space can be conceptualized in several ways. and ii) to any point in space one can assign a triplet of co-ordinate numbers so that to any stretch a positive number can be assigned. Examples of this are given by the 3 It is quite clear that the analogy presupposes the introduction of light as a further concept – insofar as Einstein’s clocks are light clocks. Lenzen states that the next level in the theory of knowledge presupposed by Einstein. the concept of bodily object is not identical with the totality of those sensations. the square of such number is the sum of the squares of the co-ordinate difference –and this positive number is the length of the stretch. and once this notion is available: “a specific body K0 can be continued by a second body which is in contact with it at three or more points. Lenzen affirms that the construction of the concept of a bodily object is the outcome of human intuition. The concept of a rigid rod is the outcome of idealizing properties of relatively to each other moving bodily objects. and Einstein declares that forgetfulness of this fact was responsible for the fatal error that Euclidean geometry is a necessity of thought which is prior to all experience” (369). this remark is an expression of Einstein’s rejection of a priori knowledge. since the time required for the propagation of light was neglected. but again. he also remarks that sometimes Einstein refers to it as signifying an element of an independent reality beyond the realm of mere sense impressions. in which the concepts do not refer immediately to sense experience. Einstein conceives two methods and origin for the formulation of this theoretical level. On this framework. Lenzen’s next step consists in an examination of the construction of a higher level of knowledge. The quasi-rigid continuation of a body is unlimited.the real objects. Lenzen remarks that this account of the concept of a bodily object avoids any idealistic consequences –insofar as the concept is not reducible to a complex of sense impressions–. and absolute simultaneity for time. This ‘mistake’ favored the development of modern physics. Objective extended time is based on the synchronization of distant clock signals. Just as space presupposes the rigid body. In the case of time the reasoning is analogous. logically considered. In the third section of his paper. the forgetfulness of its empirical origin led to a misconception of the error of attributing an a priori and fixed nature to the structure of time. we find the concepts of space and time. time presupposes clocks. When the source of the formulation of the main statements is empirical. which is independent of the position of the body and of the position of any other body–. he calls them theories of principle. That is. As it can be seen. even this basic notion is not abstracted from experience. . The concept of space is explained by Einstein in terms of the properties of a specific type of bodily object: the rigid rod. but through the sensitive presentation of such object in the cognitive subject. A deep philosophical consequence of this description of space as grounded on the concept of bodily object is that “the axiomatic construction of Euclidean geometry has an empirical foundation. but posited by the human mind on the realm of sense impressions: “certain recurring complexes of sensation are arbitrarily selected by thought out of the fullness of sensations and to them is assigned the concept of bodily object. Both these concepts presuppose the notion of a bodily object to be construed. Moreover. Mechanics presupposed Euclidean structure for space. Lenzen offers no account of such introduction. Now. Objective local time is defined through the correlation of a certain process with the indications of a clock –a periodically running isolated system–3. Lenzen now approaches a description of the formulation of the principles of Einstein’s scientific theories. in the case of Euclidean space. but in which a wide range of sense-impressions can be organized –by means of the observational statements which this level entails–. Lenzen points out that Einstein conceives as its main properties i) two points determine a stretch.

Lenzen points out that Einstein’s contribution to the development and acceptance of the atomic theory are of this kind. Finally. can be chosen freely. than what Newton’s theory did 5. 5 But if the free origin of scientific concepts is for Einstein a general rule. he declares. the freedom is controlled to the extent that consequences of the axioms must be confirmed by experience. However. what is the exact meaning of the concept of theories of principle. and in spite of all of the criticism introduced in positivistic terms by Mach and others. In the fourth section of his article. Einstein refers to constructive theories. Lenzen conceives this account of the nature of the empirical science as the foundation for Einstein’s criticism of the interpretation of quantum mechanics as completely descriptive. Einstein argues that even though quantum physics represents an element of truth. and considering that the establishment of the conditions under which experiments are carried on requires methods of approximation. In the case of empirical science. it refers to an ensemble of systems in the sense of statistical mechanics” (383). 4 I think this is misleading. Lenzen refers to Einstein’s evaluation of the scope of the achievements made by physics science. The variables in a physical theory are interpreted by results of measurement which are never completely consistent” (381). Any word can be proposed as a solution. even though using hypotheses quite different from Newton’s gravitation theory. In the specific case of GRT. but there is only one that fits the puzzle in all parts” (373). Consequently. The constructive character of theories is understood by Lenzen as an argument supporting his conception of the origin of scientific knowledge: “the use of rational criteria for the construction of physical theories confirms Einstein’s doctrine that concepts are free creations of the mind. it follows that “confirmation of an applied theory by perception is only approximate. it cannot serve as the basis for a more adequate theory. The freedom is not that of a novelist. when referred to the created objects.hypotheses of the non-existence of perpetuum mobile as the foundation of thermodynamics. for GRT it was possible to comprehend the whole range of experience data. Lenzen asserts that Einstein’s hope in the possibility of complete –even though approximate– theories “is founded on the faith that a pre-established harmony between thought and reality will win for the human mind. Einstein himself remarked that the formulation of special relativity was not grounded on the negative outcome of the Michelson-Morley experiment. In the later case. its objects are given. according to Lenzen. Quantum mechanics is an approximately valid theory in a sense even deeper than ‘normal’ theories: “Einstein holds that quantum mechanics is limited to a statistical point of view. Besides these examples offered by Einstein. Einstein always believed in this theory –and certainly contributed to its final acceptance–. To be sure. after patient effort. the certainty of such construction. He refers to the importance of the mathematical requirement of general covariance under coordinate transformation as an ‘ideal of reason’ which motivated the introduction of its main hypotheses. However. but of the person who solves a cross-world puzzle. Lenzen also states that the two basic hypotheses of special relativity are of this type4. the most apparent example of a constructive theory is general relativity. On his view the wave-function does not describe the state of a single system. when the formulation of theoretical hypotheses is guided by ‘ideals of reason’. . in a manner even more complete and satisfactory. On the other hand. In the last section of his article. is complete and exact. and by Galileo’s law of inertia. an intuition of the depths of reality” (384). The fundamental axioms. Are they an exception to Einstein’s view? Or their difference with respect to constructive theories lies on the ‘different distance’ to sense impressions of their concepts? Lenzen exposition does not consider these issues. given that the objects of the rational construction are created by the mind through the adoption of certain axioms and definitions. It is quite clear that the attribution of an atomic structure to matter is not a hypothesis which could be empirically suggested. the creative nature of its main principles can be clearly recognized by the fact that. Such evaluation rests upon a distinction among empirical science and pure mathematics. his explanation of Einstein’s conception of theories of principle is not deep enough as to make a completely clear sense of his claim. contrarily to what Lenzen suggests.

it differs from Kant in the sense that the categorical status is not fixed. But then Poincare claims that we would be using physical laws which presuppose Euclidean geometry. he replaces him for an anonymous rival to Reichenbach). the selection of which is. The legitimacy of the distinction lies on the fact that it is a necessary presupposition to avoid solipsism. His mistake of assigning Euclidean geometry a fixed and necessary status is an . and that given the essential link among macroscopic and microscopic realm. The non-positivistic finishes his intervention by stating that by his abandonment of a strict verificationist principle Reichenbach would have to recognize a more Kantian oriented conception of knowledge. Therefore. His rival then replies that in such a case Reichenbach would seem to be forgetting or even rejecting his basic verificationist principle of meaning. due to his respect for the superiority of Poincare as a thinker. Concepts in a scientific theory would not need any further justification than to make experience intelligible. therefore should not we. The program at issue works as a category in the sense of a condition of possibility for physical thinking. However. Insofar as such papers refer to very different topics. as any conceptual achievement it is the outcome of a free invention of intellect. Einstein offers an amusing fictional debate among Poincare and Reichenbach himself about the relativity of geometry. Einstein offers a personal reaction to the papers contained in the book. However. without the theorems of any geometry cannot be verified or falsified. Einstein argues. In this context. I will refer just to his response to the reviewed articles. “REMARKS TO THE ESSAYS APPEARING IN THIS COLLECTIVE VOLUME” In this writing.5. Einstein asserts that his position regarding reality is in a sense Kantian. As a way to offer a philosophical ground to his convincement on the real possibility of a complete theory for the realm of the microscopic ultimate particles. in principle. the verification achieved would be of the physical theory as a whole. is not susceptible to be conceptually defined or to be confirmed by any empirical data. there would be no objectivity and no access to truth. Without a distinction among the realms involved. Finally. it is interesting to notice some general remark which Einstein introduces in the context of an exposition of his criticism against quantum mechanics as an incomplete theory. entirely open to us and whose qualification can only be judged by the degree to which its use contributes to making the totality of the contents of consciousness ‘intelligible’” (674). as if there were rigid rods? –actually. electro-magnetic striction. but not of a certain geometry (at this point. In other words. their elasticity. He argues that in the realm of the macroscopic no one is willing to abandon such program. Concerning his opinion about Reichenbach’s article. this distinction is needed in order to assign meaning and rationality to science as a whole: “the only justification lies in its usefulness. the program of reality must be pursued in the later as well. he states that his notion of ‘reality’ as the aim of science is a metaphysical concept. Einstein characterizes this sense of the ‘real’ –which he hopes can be completely grasped by scientific theories even in the field of elementary particles– as a “type of program” (674). These remarks are quite expressive about his ontological standpoint. etc. at least tentatively. operate with a concept of length thus defined. The basic and prescientific distinction among sense-impressions and concepts. Reichenbach answers that the assumption of an objective meaning to length and the interpretation of differences of coordinates as distances has not led to problems. The sense in which it is metaphysical is that it works as a framework concept for the very possibility of knowledge. therefore. Reichenbach replies that a meaning can be assigned to distance if we consider the thermal volume-dependence of bodies. The non-positivistic conceives this sense of categories as epistemic conditions as a great philosophical achievement introduced by Kant. this is what Einstein did–. We are here concerned with ‘categories’ or schemes of thought. and consequently the concept of distance is not empirically instantiated. Poincare begins by stating the fact that empirically given bodies are not rigid.

Einstein states that Lenzen’s article also shows that once the epistemologist has elucidated the system he is seeking and which is contained in the science “then he is inclined to interpret the thought content of science in the sense of his system and to reject whatever does not fit into his system”.unavoidable consequence of the scientific framework of his time. sometimes behaves as a realist. the external conditions of his practice do not allow him to adhere to any epistemological system. even though the scientist gratefully accepts the epistemological analysis of his work. and “he therefore must appear to the systematic epistemologist as a type of unscrupulous opportunist” (684). sometimes as a Pythagorean. In more general terms. Einstein asserts that Lenzen’s paper contributes to clearly show the positive and necessary independence among science and epistemology: “epistemology without contact with science becomes an empty scheme. regarding Lenzen’s paper. depending on the context and guided by a a sense of what is more convenient in any case. Finally. He states that grounded on his occasional utterances about epistemological tasks. not by Einstein. Moreover. sometimes as an idealist. Science without epistemology is –insofar as it is thinkable at all– primitive and muddled” (684). PABLO ACUÑA LUONGO . I think that they show that he was not as distant to Kantian philosophy as Frank and Reichenbach argued. Einstein is quite favorable. he built a consistent presentation which carefully filled what was missing in his occasional expressions. the scientist. Even though these words are pronounced by the non-positivistic. On the other hand. and so forth. sometimes as a positivistic. However.