The Intermediate Stage: Helmholtz, Mach and Poincaré

  • Milič Čapek
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 7)


The example of Mach is especially instructive because by his criticism of some classical concepts he prepared the way for the future far-reaching revision of the Newtonian physics in the twentieth century. Although in this respect he was not alone, there were only a very few thinkers who expressed equally prophetic views at that time. For our purposes it will be sufficient to describe briefly besides the views of Mach also those of Helmholtz and Poincare, to show how all three in spite of their bold anticipations of certain aspects of contemporary physics remained essentially loyal to the most important postulates of the classical science. This loyalty was logically correlated with their biologically oriented theory of knowledge which either explicitly or implicitly was identical with the theory of Spencer described above.


Modern Physic Euclidian Geometry Biological Theory Logical Simplicity Associative Link 
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  1. 1.
    H. von Helmholtz, ‘Ober die Ursprung und Bedeutung der geometrischen Axiome’, in: Vortrage und Reden, Braunschweig 1884, II, pp. 1–31;Google Scholar

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© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1971

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  • Milič Čapek

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