Mach, Jerusalem and Pragmatism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

27 Downloads (Pure)


Ernst Mach’s positivism, it is argued in this paper, may be regarded as a version of pragmatist philosophy of science. Already James’s biographer Perry detected such tendencies in Mach and this is confirmed here by close attention to Mach’s early works, esp. History and Root of the Principle of the Conservation of Energy and The Science of Mechanics. Both Mach’s principle of the economy of thought and his principle of scientific significance are shown to bear out his pragmatism. A similar conclusion is shown to hold for the philosophy of Wilhelm Jerusalem already long before he became the translator of James’s Pragmatism into German. But while Jerusalem early on relied perhaps even more than Mach on evolutionary theory for promptings of pragmatist insights, he soon too linked them, as Mach had all along, to broadly sociological observations concerning the condition of human cognition
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationErnst Mach - Life, Work, Influence
EditorsF. Stadler
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783030043780
ISBN (Print)9783030043773
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameVienna Circle Institute Yearbook
PublisherSpringer, Cham
ISSN (Print)0929-6328
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1818


Dive into the research topics of 'Mach, Jerusalem and Pragmatism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this