Skip to main content

Publication Details

The Relationship of the Principle of the Conservation of Energy to Causality

(Original title: Zákon zachovania energie a kauzalita)
Otázky marxistickej filozofie, 20 (1965), 5, 433-447.
Type of work: Papers and Discussions
Publication language: Slovak
The principle of the conservation of energy stands in close relationship to the concept and principle of causality in physics; however, it is not deduced of them. Their relationship is not a subordination but a relationship of existential connexity. In physics, in its development up to the present, this existential connexity often became manifest, and it manifested itself in many ways. It became manifest both by the fact that changes occurred in conceiving the principle of the conservation of energy (and of principles of conservation in general) have exerted an influence on the conception of causality, and also by the fact that any endeavour at the elimination of the principle of the conservation of energy from physics had shattered the acknowledgment of the principle of causality, and vice-versa. The first moment became exemplarily manifest in Mayer's interpretation of the principle of the conservation; of energy which has lead to a new conception of causality, based on the principle of concrete identity. The second moment was to be seen for instance in resolving the problem of beta-desintegration. Modern physics have made an important step forward towards the understanding of this existential connexity by revealing the interdependence of the principles of conservation with certain types of the symmetry oi the space-time structure of physical reality. The principles of conservation are an expression of this symmetricity; at the same time, causal analysis and the application of the concept of causality in general would not be possible at all in physics without the acknowledgment of this symmetricity. The ontological significance of the connexity examined lies particularly in the fact that both the principles of conservation (and particularly the principle of the conservation of energy as up to now the most generalized physical principle of conservation) and also the dialectically comprehended concept and principle of causality are the expression of a movemenl of material reality as something which is immanent in it, i e., as an auto-movement.
File to download: PDF