If we ask how Mach arrived at this scepticism, which is contained in his well-known scientific work Die ill echanik in ihrer Entwickelung (1883; ed.
As with Kant against Hume, so with Wundt against Mach and Avenarius, the world we know will contain something more than mere complexes of sensations, more than pure experience: with Wundt it will be a world of real causes and some substances, constituted partly by experience and partly by logical thinking, or active inner will.
In a word, Mach and Kirchhoff agree that force is not a cause, convert Newtonian reciprocal action into mere interdependency, and, in old terminology, reduce mechanics from a natural philosophy of causes to a natural history of mere facts.
These are the views of Mach and of Pearson, as we read them in the latter's Preface.
Under the first head he attacks mechanics precisely as Mach had done (see above); if this attack had been consistently carried out it would have carried him no further than Mach.
In the case of this one force we know far more than the interdependence supposed by Mach and Kirchhoff; we know bodies with impenetrable force causing one another to keep apart.
Again he agrees with the reaction both to Hume and to Kant in limiting knowledge to mental phenomena, and has affinities with Mach as well as with Lange.
It is important to understand that Mach had developed this economical view of thought in 1872, more than ten years before the appearance of his work on the history of mechanics as he tells us in the preface, where he adds that at a later date similar views were expressed by Kirchhoff in his V orlesungen fiber mathematische Physik (1874).
ERNST MACH (1838-), Austrian physicist and psychologist, was born on the 18th of February 1838 at Turas in Moravia, and studied at Vienna.
Nor is there any objection to this economical view of thought, as long as we remember what Avenarius and Mach forget, that the essence of thought is the least action neither more nor less than necessary to the point, which is the reality of things.