1 6 2 V O L U M E 8 , D O C U M E N T 5 3 3 a
Ob die Forderung der strikten Ordnung der Erfahrungsdinge nach Ursache und
Wirkung sich erfüllen lässt, wissen wir nicht, und werden wir auch nie sicher wis-
sen. Praktisch müssen wir fast in allen Gebieten darauf verzichten, weil die sichere
und vollständige Herstellung der Kausalkette fast stets über unsere Kraft geht
Haken: Rationell definierte Wahrscheinlichkeit lässt an sich keine Anwendung
zu. Aufbau der Theorie, ausgehend von empirischer Definition der Wahrschein-
lichkeit begegnet grossen Schwierigkeiten..
ALS (SzZ, Nachl. H. Zangger, box 1a). [89 524].
This letter is dated on the assumption that it was written before a response came from the Reichs-
bank (see 8 May 1918, in Calendar).
See Einstein’s remarks at the end of the letter.
Einstein had been bedridden with a stomach ulcer during the preceding winter (see Vol. 8,
Doc. 513a, note 7, in the present volume).
Rousseau 1870. A couple of weeks earlier, Einstein also mentioned that he was reading
“Rousseaus Bekenntnisse” (see Einstein to Heinrich Zangger, 22 April 1918 [Vol. 8, Doc. 514]). Ein-
stein’s library contained the “Bekenntnisse” (Rousseau 1897), but the volumes look as if they were
never opened. His library also contained France 1908a, 1908b, and 1917.
Perhaps in the letter mentioned in note 1. Emil Zürcher Jr., the attorney representing Mileva
Einstein-Maric; in their divorce proceedings.
Michele Besso. Two months earlier, Einstein had written to Anna Besso-Winteler, requesting
her continuing help with his arrangements to send financial support to his wife. He also asked that she
help convince Mileva to agree to a divorce, but Besso-Winteler expressed disagreement with his views
(see Einstein to Anna Besso-Winteler, after 4 March 1918 [Vol. 8, Doc. 474], and Anna Besso-
Winteler to Einstein, after 4 March 1918 [Vol. 8, Doc. 475]). Around the same time, Besso-Winteler
expressed hostility toward Einstein in a face-to-face encounter with his sister, Maja Einstein-Winteler,
and her husband, Paul Winteler (see Vol. 8, Doc. 475b, in the present volume).
Zangger was organizing a special session on the significance of the concept of probability for
the meeting of the medical-biological section at the annual conference of Swiss scientists (Naturfor-
scherversammlung) in Lugano. His idea was “to show the medical reasoning from the various disci-
plines how a thought process that is not fixed much, and is dealing with experiences that are not
analyzable into every detail, can nevertheless be made more acute at least by reliable self-control and
also by searching for special, exactly controllable events and elementary processes” (“dem medizini-
schen Denken von den verschiedenene Disziplinen aus zu zeigen, wie sich das wenig feste Denken
mit nicht ins Detail auflösbaren Erfahrungen mindestens durch zuverlässige Selbstkontrolle, dann
durch Suchen nach besonderen, exakt beeinflußbaren Ereignissen und Elementarvorgängen schärfen
läßt,” Zangger 1920b). The meeting was scheduled for September 1918 but had to be postponed to
January 1919 when the influenza epidemic hit Lugano (see letter by unknown to Zangger, 28 August
1918, in SzZ, Nachl. Zangger, box 175). In 1920, the Schweizerische Medizinische Wochenschrift
published a special issue (Nr. 34) containing four papers on the topic that were prepared for the
Lugano meeting. Among the authors were Hermann Weyl, as well as Zangger himself. In this letter,
Einstein is commenting presumably on a manuscript version of Zangger’s contribution (Zangger
1920c). See also Zangger 1930 and its draft in SzZ, Nachl. H. Zangger, box 175, where Zangger also
comments on the Lugano meeting.
Hermann Weyl’s paper is Weyl 1918a. For more on this paper, and Einstein’s “measuring rod