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[打听,讨论] 爱因斯坦“探索的动机 Motive des Forschens”(三类科学家)说的对吗?

已有 1145 次阅读 2024-4-18 22:18 |个人分类:科学 - 艺术 - 社会|系统分类:科研笔记

   对真理的追求要比对真理的占有更为可贵! The search for truth is more precious than its possession.

   我所追求的东西非常简单,我要以我微弱的力量,冒着不讨任何人喜欢的危险, 服务于真理和正义。 What I seek to accomplish is simply to serve with my feeble capacity truth and justice at the risk of pleasing no one.

——爱因斯坦 Albert Einstein



探索的动机 Motive des Forschens, Principles of Research

马克斯·普朗克60岁生日 Zu Max Plancks sechzigstem Geburtstag

爱因斯坦 Albert Einstein


[打听,讨论] 爱因斯坦“探索的动机 Motive des Forschens”(三类科学家)说的对吗?


一、[打听] 爱因斯坦 Motive des Forschens 探索的动机


   “Motive des Forschens.” In Zu Max Plancks sechzigstem Geburtstag. Ansprachen, gehalten am 26. April 1918 in der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft. Karlsruhe: C. F. Müller, pp. 29–32. English translation: “Principles of Research.” In Einstein 
























Principles of Research

address by Albert Einstein (1918)

(Physical Society, Berlin, for Max Planck's sixtieth birtday)

   IN the temple of science are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the motives that have led them thither. Many take to science out of a joyful sense of superior intellectual power; science is their own special sport to which they look for vivid experience and the satisfaction of ambition; many others are to be found in the temple who have offered the products of their brains on this altar for purely utilitarian purposes. Were an angel of the Lord to come and drive all the people belonging to these two categories out of the temple, the assemblage would be seriously depleted, but there would still be some men, of both present and past times, left inside. Our Planck is one of them, and that is why we love him.

   I am quite aware that we have just now lightheartedly expelled in imagination many excellent men who are largely, perhaps chiefly, responsible for the buildings of the temple of science; and in many cases our angel would find it a pretty ticklish job to decide. But of one thing I feel sure: if the types we have just expelled were the only types there were, the temple would never have come to be, any more than a forest can grow which consists of nothing but creepers. For these people any sphere of human activity will do, if it comes to a point; whether they become engineers, officers, tradesmen, or scientists depends on circumstances. Now let us have another look at those who have found favor with the angel. Most of them are somewhat odd, uncommunicative, solitary fellows, really less like each other, in spite of these common characteristics, than the hosts of the rejected. What has brought them to the temple? That is a difficult question and no single answer will cover it. To begin with, I believe with Schopenhauer that one of the strongest motives that leads men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from personal life into the world of objective perception and thought; this desire may be compared with the townsman's irresistible longing to escape from his noisy, cramped surroundings into the silence of high mountains, where the eye ranges freely through the still, pure air and fondly traces out the restful contours apparently built for eternity.

   With this negative motive there goes a positive one. Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world; he then tries to some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of experience, and thus to overcome it. This is what the painter, the poet, the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientist do, each in his own fashion. Each makes this cosmos and its construction the pivot of his emotional life, in order to find in this way the peace and security which he cannot find in tbe narrow whirlpool of personal experience.

   What place does the theoretical physicist's picture of the world occupy among all these possible pictures? It demands the highest possible standard of rigorous precision in the description of relations, such as only the use of mathematical language can give. In regard to his subject matter, on the other hand, the physicist has to limit himself very severely: he must content himself with describing the most simple events which can be brought within the domain of our experience; all events of a more complex order are beyond the power of the human intellect to reconstruct with the subtle accuracy and logical perfection which the theoretical physicist demands. Supreme purity, clarity, and certainty at the cost of completeness. But what can be the attraction of getting to know such a tiny section of nature thoroughly, while one leaves everything subtler and more complex shyly and timidly alone? Does the product of such a modest effort deserve to be called by the proud name of a theory of the universe?

   In my belief the name is justified; for the general laws on which the structure of theoretical physics is based claim to be valid for any natural phenomenon whatsoever. With them, it ought to be possible to arrive at the description, that is to say, the theory, of every natural process, including life, by means of pure deduction, if that process of deduction were not far beyond the capacity of the human intellect. The physicist's renunciation of completeness for his cosmos is therefore not a matter of fundamental principle.

   The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them. In this methodological uncertainty, one might suppose that there were any number of possible systems of theoretical physics all equally well justified; and this opinion is no doubt correct, theoretically. But the development of physics has shown that at any given moment, out of all conceivable constructions, a single one has always proved itself decidedly superior to all the rest. Nobody who has really gone deeply into the matter will deny that in practice the world of phenomena uniquely determines the theoretical system, in spite of the fact that there is no logical bridge between phenomena and their theoretical principles; this is what Leibnitz described so happily as a "pre-established harmony." Physicists often accuse epistemologists of not paying sufficient attention to this fact. Here, it seems to me, lie the roots of the controversy carried on some years ago between Mach and Planck.

   The longing to behold this pre-established harmony is the source of the inexhaustible patience and perseverance with which Planck has devoted himself, as we see, to the most general problems of our science, refusing to let himself be diverted to more grateful and more easily attained ends. I have often heard colleagues try to attribute this attitude of his to extraordinary will-power and discipline -- wrongly, in my opinion. The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind is akin to that of the religious worshiper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart. There he sits, our beloved Planck, and smiles inside himself at my childish playing-about with the lantern of Diogenes. Our affection for him needs no threadbare explanation. May the love of science continue to illumine his path in the future and lead him to the solution of the most important problem in present-day physics, which he has himself posed and done so much to solve. May he succeed in uniting quantum theory with electrodynamics and mechanics in a single logical system. 








   在所有可能的图像中,理论物理学家的世界图像占有什么地位呢?在描述各种关系时,它要求严密的精确性达到那种只有用数学语言才能达到的最高的标准。另一方面,物理学家必须极其严格地控制他的主题范围,必须满足于描述我们经验领域里的最简单事件。对于一切更为复杂的事件企图以理论物理学家所要求的精密性和逻辑上的完备性把它们重演出来,这就超出了人类理智所能及的范围。高度的纯粹性、明晰性和确定性要以完整性为代价。但是当人们胆小谨慎地把一切比较复杂而难以捉摸的东西都撇开不管时,那么能吸引我们去认识自然界的这一渺小部分的,究竟又是什么呢?难道这种谨小慎微的努力结果也够得上宇宙理论的美名吗? 我认为,够得上的。因为,作为理论物理学结构基础的普遍定律,应当对任何自然现象都有效。有了它们,就有可能借助于单纯的演绎得出一切自然过程(包括生命过程)的描述,也就是它们的理论,只要这种演绎过程并不超出人类理智能力太多。因此,物理学家放弃他的世界体系的完整性,倒不是一个什么根本原则问题。







[1] 戴世强,2011-05-18,学习漫谈(38):非功利的献身精神——浅评爱因斯坦的学问观 


[2] Principles of Research, address by Albert Einstein (1918), (Physical Society, Berlin, for Max Planck's sixtieth birtday) 




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