Lydia Patton


Virginia Tech

The Methodological Arguments of Mach’s Economy of Science

In the chapter “The Economy of Science” of Ernst Mach’s 1883 The Science of Mechanics, Mach defends a “biological-economical”, naturalist account of scientific knowledge. According to this account, the aim of science is “to replace” or “save” experiences by the use of memory and anticipation. Science allows humans to orient themselves to experience in as economical a manner as possible. Along these lines, Mach rejects the argument that laws of nature are or depict real relations.