D O C U M E N T 1 7 1 O C T O B E R 1 9 2 0 2 8 7
171. From Moritz Schlick
Rostock, 23 Orléans St., 9 October 1920
Dear, highly esteemed Professor,
For the last few days I have been reading with greatest enjoyment the booklet by
Reichenbach about relativity theory and a
knowledge. The work really
does appear to me to be a very outstanding contribution to the theory’s axiomatics
and to physical knowledge in general. You surely were also very pleased with the
logical probity. Obviously, on a few points I cannot concede Reichenbach to be
completely right; I hope to be able to arrive at an agreement with him about that by
letter, for this matter really does lie very close to my heart. I would have liked to
ask for your opinion, but in writing that would be too inconvenient; perhaps I may
be allowed to come back to it in conversation, for I fervently hope that I shall be
granted the favor of seeing you again sometime in the winter. Reichenbach does not
seem to me to have done justice to Poincaré’s theory of conventions; what he calls
a priori correspondence principles and rightly distinguishes from empirical corre-
spondence principles seems to me to be completely identical to Poincaré’s “con-
ventions” and not to have any meaning extending beyond
R.’s reliance on
Kant seems to me, upon closer examination, to be merely terminological. I would
later like to ask your opinion also with respect to a passage in the magnificent book
by Born on the theory of
of which I saw the correction proofs. It concerns
the juxtaposition of matter and field (in the last section of chapter V). I exchanged
correspondence with Born about this, and although his reply fully placated me with
regard to the passage itself, questions did arise in connection with it which, owing
to their philosophical importance, I would like to present to you once in person. I
heard some nice things about [Bad]
and I would heartily like to have
been there, but the trip seemed just too long to me from here. What trip doesn’t
seem too long nowadays?
I would again like to shake your hand in sincere gratitude. For, I have perceived
from various quarters that, in the interim, you have been solicitously mindful of me
again. Through your recommendation, I received invitations to deliver talks in Dan-
zig and
furthermore, to write articles for the journal The Monist and for
the paper Berliner
Nothing came of the Danzig talks, because the trea-
sury of the local scientific society was unable to promise me sufficient travel reim-
bursement, but I am going to speak in Harburg. The article for the Tageblatt turned
out badly because of the obligatory, exaggerated brevity; by contrast, the one that
I was permitted to write up for Mosse’s Almanac, also as a consequence of your
generous recommendation, does seem to me to be better. Neither of the two have
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