D O C U M E N T 5 1 J U N E 1 9 2 0 1 9 1
ations would seem to me to have very fundamental validity, and thus I would be-
lieve that without a recurrence of the same, one should not speak of a regularity.
Am I mistaken in this? It would be nice to get some clarification still—hopefully
in person even, in the near future!
About the problem of the causality postulate being violated by the old law of in-
ertia (the philosopher H. Driesch, now full professor at Cologne, oddly asserted
about it: The law of inertia is “the causality principle applied, nothing
am afraid to say I still have not reached final lucidity. For I still do not quite see
how far your view actually deviates from the representations in my
part of your objections seems to be directed against the first assumption toward the
solution, which in the article itself is considered only preliminarily and is later im-
proved—obviously not enough. The initial purpose of the consideration is merely
that absolute space, which Newtonian mechanics must obviously assume, does not
need to be taken here as a cause, in the sense of the principle of causality. In o[ther]
w[ords]: inertial resistance in certain motions need not be looked upon as effects of
an absolute acceleration, but rather can be interpreted as its defining property. This
statement does not seem to me to contradict your view, though, and if I have under-
stood correctly, I am mistaken only in my explanation of the reason why Newton’s
approach is so unsatisfactory. I thought it was to be found in that the former me-
chanics stopped applying the causality explanation earlier than was necessary; am
I right to conceive that it stopped sooner than it was permitted to at all? The latter
seemed only to follow from the preconditions indicated in the paper, which are ir-
revocable postulates for current science, of course. I naturally must admit, though,
that it was an impermissible schematization to speak of an object’s properties as if
there were only a finite number of them; likewise, that some of the properties were
always a consequence of the others as soon as the object belonged within a “theo-
retical system.” It just seemed to me that in experience no other theoretical systems
existed than those which operate with processes (four-dimensionality of all real
I was probably not right with the assertion that a gravitational field was not ob-
servable in the same sense as masses. This does apply, at very most, in the very
rough sense that one may say: I do perceive two objects but not the gravitational
field midway between them. It obviously does seem to me to be a debatable point
whether in examining MachÊs ideas the word “perceptible” may be taken in the
It was somewhat unphilosophical and dogmatic of me, of course, to think that
lawfulness within a time segment should not be denoted as
My reasons
for it were simply (1) the fact that in conscious reality, time plainly does seem to
play a preferred role; and (2) that those regularities would have to be of a different
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