# SCIENCE AND SANITY - online book

### An Introduction To Non-aristotelian Systems And General Semantics.

 660 IX. ON EMPIRICAL AND VERBAL STRUCTURES jectivity of the instruments and the finite velocity of propagation. When we discuss the psycho-logical or methodological or semantic significance of science and scientific method, we deal with different subjects. When we use the term 'observer' we mean an observer so equipped that he can do whatever is demanded of him. What was said about the definition of 'simultaneity' by the aid of the camera, applies also to ourselves. The problem of prime importance before us is to find out if 'simultaneity', as defined, has an 'absolute' and universal significance, or if it is perhaps a private and relative notion. We will carry out the analysis in two ways, the first by example, which will be instructive, though perhaps not completely conclusive; the other, by the use of the Lorentz-Einstein transformation. Let us perform our last experiment, which, with modern methods seems to be feasible, in a slightly more complicated form. We can select a dark night in which flashes will photograph well even at considerable distances. We can place powerful projectors at A and B, and we place our camera so that the film will come exactly at C, midway between A and B. We can start the mechanism of the rapidly moving film and, by an electrical contact made at C, we can produce a short flash from each of the two projectors. Because of the assumptions, AC=CB, and equal velocity of the propagation of electrical currents and light-waves in all directions we shall have by the structural definitions which condition the experiment, one picture in Fig. 2, say at the spot of our moving film marked by 5. The rays of light from A and B would arrive 'simultaneously' - that is, 'at the same time' - and would affect our moving film in one spot. Our definition was for a stationary observer, and under the conditions, the experiment was fairly definite - all the underlying structural assumptions, of course, being taken for granted. Now consider an observer, as shown in Fig. 3, moving uniformly in the direction from A to B. Let us assume that he is also equipped with a similar sort of moving picture camera as the stationary observer, and that just before he passes the point C