Einstein was weg van Spinoza
Er bestaan behoorlijk veel sites op internet waarop iets over Einsteins Spinoza-interesse nageschreven wordt. Ook op dit weblog heb ik het al enige malen over Einstein's liefde voor Spinoza gehad. In het blog Einstein's belief on (Spinoza's) God bracht ik op 2 nov. 2008 enkele aardige YouTube-video’s over dit onderwerp bijeen. En op 31 aug. 2008 bracht ik een blog met Einsteins gedicht over Spinoza.
Een heel mooie webpagina is Speaking of Faith - Einstein’s God - een programma van American Public Media dat nog is te beluisteren en dat van fraaie informatie, illustraties en muziek is voorzien.Maar de allermooiste ontdekte ik gisteren: een schitterende website over Einstein van AIP Center for History of Physics. Die hele website gewijd aan Einstein is ook als PDF te downloaden (omvang 3,5 Mb) en dan als e-book te raadplegen. Daarop staat o.a. het prachtige essay van Gerald Holton "Einstein's Third Paradise", dat eerder in Daedalus is gepubliceerd [Fall 2002, pp. 26-34]. Het geeft een indrukwekkende studie over de wijze waarop Einstein religieus is. Daarbij wordt met veel feiten aangegeven wat Spinoza voor Einstein betekende. Ik had hierover al veel opgestoken, maar zo uitvoerig als hier was ik het nog niet tegengekomen.
Het is een artikel van een omvang van ca 8 A4-tjes. Daarvan neem ik hieronder ca 20% over - het gedeelte waarin het met name gaat over Einstein en Spinoza. Ik verwijs echter graag naar het hele essay, waarin Einsteins kosmische, zowel wetenschappelijke drive als religieuze gevoelens (ineen) én zijn interesse voor Spinoza's Ethica van meer achtergrond wordt voorzien.
"Einstein's Third Paradise" by Gerald Holton
[first published in Daedalus (Fall 2002), pp. 26-34. Enige citaten […]
In another of his essays on religion, Einstein points to a plausible source for his specific formulations: "Those individuals to whom we owe the great creative achievements of science were all of them imbued with a truly religious conviction that this universe of ours is something perfect, and susceptible through the rational striving for knowledge. If this conviction had not been a strongly emotional one, and if those searching for knowledge had not been inspired by Spinoza's amor dei intellectualis, they would hardly have been capable of that untiring devotion which alone enables man to attain his greatest achievements."I believe we can guess at the first time Einstein read Baruch Spinoza's Ethics (Ethica Ordinae Geometrico Demonstrata), a system constructed on the Euclidean model of deductions from propositions. Soon after getting his first real job at the patent office, Einstein joined with two friends to form a discussion circle, meeting once or twice a week in what they called, with gallows humor, the Akademie Olympia. We know the list of books they read and discussed. High among them, reportedly at Einstein's suggestion, was Spinoza's Ethics, which he read afterwards several times more. Even when his sister Maja joined him in Princeton in later life and was confined to bed by an illness, he thought that reading a good book to her would help, and chose Spinoza's Ethics for that purpose.
By that time Spinoza's work and life had long been important to Einstein. He had written an introduction to a biography of Spinoza (by his son-in-law, Rudolf Kayser, 1946); he had contributed to the Spinoza Dictionary (1951); he had referred to Spinoza in many of his letters; and he even had composed a poem in Spinoza's honor. He admired Spinoza for his independence of mind, his deterministic philosophical outlook, his skepticism about organized religion and orthodoxy – which had resulted in his excommunication from his synagogue in 1656 – and even for his ascetic preference, which compelled him to remain in poverty and solitude to live in a sort of spiritual ecstasy, instead of accepting a professorship at the University of Heidelberg. Originally neglected, Spinoza's Ethics, published only posthumously, profoundly influenced other thinkers, such as Friedrich Schlegel, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Goethe (who called him "our common saint"), Albert Schweitzer, and Romain Rolland (who, on reading Ethics, confessed, "I deciphered not what he said, but what he meant to say"). For Spinoza, God and nature were one (deus sive natura). True religion was based not on dogma but on a feeling for the rationality and the unity underlying all finite and temporal things, on a feeling of wonder and awe that generates the idea of God, but a God which lacks any anthropomorphic conception. As Spinoza wrote in Proposition 15 in Ethics, he opposed assigning to God "body and soul and being subject to passions." Hence, "God is incorporeal" – as had been said by others, from Maimonides on, to whom God was knowable indirectly through His creation, through nature. In other pages of Ethics, Einstein could read Spinoza's opposition to the idea of cosmic purpose, and that he favored the primacy of the law of cause and effect – an all-pervasive determinism that governs nature and life – rather than "playing at dice," in Einstein's famous remark. And as if he were merely paraphrasing Spinoza, Einstein wrote in 1929 that the perception in the universe of "profound reason and beauty constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this sense alone, I am a deeply religious man."Much has been written about the response of Einstein's contemporaries to his Spinozistic cosmic religion. For example, the physicist Arnold Sommerfeld recorded in Schilpp's volume that he often felt "that Einstein stands in a particularly intimate relation to the God of Spinoza." But what finally most interests us here is to what degree Einstein, having reached his Third Paradise, in which his yearnings for science and religion are joined, may even have found in his own research in physics fruitful ideas emerging from that union. In fact there are at least some tantalizing parallels between passages in Spinoza's Ethics and Einstein's publications in cosmology – parallels that the physicist and philosopher Max Jammer, in his book Einstein and Religion (1999), considers as amounting to intimate connections. For example, in Part I of Ethics ("Concerning God"), Proposition 29 begins: "In nature there is nothing contingent, but all things are determined from the necessity of the divine nature to exist and act in a certain manner." Here is at least a discernible overlap with Einstein's tenacious devotion to determinism and strict causality at the fundamental level, despite all the proofs from quantum mechanics of the reign of probabilism, at least in the subatomic realm.
There are other such parallels throughout. But what is considered by some as the most telling relationship between Spinoza's Propositions and Einstein's physics comes from passages such as Corollary 2 of Proposition 20: "It follows that God is immutable or, which is the same thing, all His attributes are immutable." In a letter of September 3, 1915, to Else (his cousin and later his wife), Einstein, having read Spinoza's Ethics again, wrote, "I think the Ethics will have a permanent effect on me."Two years later, when he expanded his general relativity to include "cosmological considerations," Einstein found to his dismay that his system of equations did "not allow the hypothesis of a spatially closed-ness of the world [raeumliche Geschlossenheit]." How did Einstein cure this flaw? By something he had done very rarely: making an ad hoc addition, purely for convenience: "We can add, on the left side of the field equation a – for the time being – unknown universal constant, λ
Altogether a beautiful, immutable universe – one an immutable God could be identified with. But in 1922, Alexander Friedmann showed that the equations of general relativity did allow expansion or contraction. And in 1929 Edwin Hubble found by astronomical observations the fact that the universe does expand. Thus Einstein – at least according to the physicist George Gamow – remarked that "inserting λ
Even if all of these suggestive indications of an intellectual, emotional, and perhaps even spiritual resonance between Einstein's and Spinoza's writings were left entirely aside, there still remains Einstein's attachment to his "cosmic religion." That was the end point of his own troublesome pilgrimage in religiosity – from his early vision of his First Paradise, through his disillusionments, to his dedication to find fundamental unity within natural science, and at last to his recognition of science as the devotion, in his words, of "a deeply religious unbeliever" – his final embrace of seeming incommensurables in his Third Paradise.
[Hier het complete artikel]
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Om het blog helemaal compleet te maken...
3 sept. 2009 werd in Brazilië dit boek gelanceerd van prof. Roberto Leon Ponczek: Deus ou seja a Natureza: Spinoza e os novos paradigmas da Física [God of de Natuur: Spinoza en het nieuwe paradigma van de fysica]. Editora: EDUFBA (Editora da Universidade Federal da Bahia)
Book by Prof. Roberto Leon Ponczek, which describes the immense influence that the Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza of Portugese ancestry had on Albert Einstein. [Klik op de cover voor méér info)
Dit boek van professor Roberto Leon Ponczek, beschrijft de enorme invloed die de joodse filosoof Baruch Spinoza uit Portugal had op Albert Einstein. Verdeeld in vier delen (1) De filosofie van Spinoza en de gevolgen ervan voor de natuurkunde (2), Spinoza en Einstein en hun positieve verwantschap: de relativiteitstheorie, (3) Spinoza en Einstein en hun negatieve affiniteiten: de quantumtheorie, en (4) een filosofische pedagogie van de natuurkunde, het boek is voorzien van een korte biografie, de filosofie en theorieën van Spinoza, en een historische, pedagogische en conceptuele reflectie over het onderwerp, welke een zinvolle evaluatie van de natuurkunde en de filosofie biedt. [Vertaling m.b.v. de Google vertaalmodule]
Voor wie Portugees lezen volgt hier nog een link naar een artikel van Roberto Leon Ponczek: Uma definição Geométrica e uma interpretação Física para os Atributos de Spinoza [Een geometrische definitie en een fysische interpretatie van Spinoza's attributen] [PDF]
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Zie Het deterministisch mensbeeld van spinozist Albert Einstein. Einstein & Spinoza, geestverwanten. Door: Koen Dortmans, In: Filosofie Magazine, 2000, nr 5 [In z'n geheel op de website van FM te lezen]
Cartoons van http://hirsutehistory.com/]