2 4 2 D O C . 1 4 9 R E V I E W W I N T E R N I T Z
Published in Deutsche Literaturzeitung 1, no. 1 (1924): cols. 20–22. An autograph draft is also avail-
able [1 037].
[1]Winternitz 1923. Josef Winternitz (1896–1952) was former editor in chief of the Vorwärts in
Reichenbach, and a functionary of the German Communist Party. In the preface to the book, he thanks
Einstein for their conversations: “I am especially obliged to Professor Einstein for being kind enough
to indicate to me his views on almost all of the problems treated here” (“Zu besonderem Dank bin ich
Herrn Professor Einstein dafür verpflichtet, daß er die Güte hatte, mir im Gespräch seine Anschauun-
gen über fast alle hier behandelten Probleme anzudeuten”; Winternitz 1923, p. iv). He had submitted
the manuscript to Teubner in spring 1922, and recommended that the publisher ask Einstein “whether
he can recommend [the manuscript] wholeheartedly on the basis of the discussions that [Einstein] had
with the author” (“ob Sie aufgrund der Besprechungen, die Sie mit dem Verfasser darüber gehabt
haben, mir die Herausgabe rückhaltlos empfehlen können”; see Teubner to Einstein, 6 April 1922
[Vol. 13, Abs. 145]). Teubner included a copy of the preface and the table of contents, and mentioned
that Philipp Frank had already praised the manuscript. In his response, Einstein declared that he
agreed with Frank and that he warmly recommended the publication. He had convinced himself that
Winternitz was an extraordinarily acute and independent thinker and that he created a work of perma-
nent value. See Vol. 13, Abs. 154.
[2]Moritz Schlick (1882–1936) was Professor of the Philosophy of Inductive Sciences at the Uni-
versity of Vienna; Hans Reichenbach (1891–1953) was Privatdozent at the Technische Hochschule
in Stuttgart. Both were rather critical of Winternitz’s book. Schlick had written to the publisher that
the book should not be published “since it really contains nothing new” (“weil es im Grunde nichts
Neues enthält”; Moritz Schlick to Hans Reichenbach, 3 February 1923, cited in Schlick 2012, p. 558).
In his published review of the book, however, Schlick praised it for its comprehensiveness. He char-
acterized Winternitz’s standpoint as a moderate, or modified, Kantianism, but found that in justifying
this point of view he did not go beyond his predecessors, especially not beyond Ernst Cassirer. Schlick
concluded that the strength of the book did not reside in any substantive contribution or original solu-
tion of the problems, but that it expounded the situation in a stimulating, clear, and reliable way
(Schlick 1923, Schlick 2012, pp. 559–560). Similarly, Reichenbach praised the book for its compre-
hensiveness and its understanding of the physics, but criticized the lack of a justification for a “refined
Kantianism” (“geläuterter Kantianismus”). He found the “glossing way of presentation, which
derived from a lack of planning, tiring” (“wirkt die mehr glossierende Art der Darstellung, die aus
einem Mangel an Disposition entspringt, ermüdend”; Reichenbach 1923).
[3]Immanuel Kant.
[4]The quotes are from pp. 11–14 of the first chapter. The last quotation is not a faithful rendition
of the original. The entire sentence reads: “Sondern so wie ich früher allgemein sagte, daß man die
Prinzipien an ihrer Unentbehrlichkeit im System der Erkenntnis erkennen müsse, so kann man von
Prinzipien a priori in der Naturwissenschaft nur dann sprechen, wenn sich aus dem Wesen, aus dem
Sinn der Naturerkenntnis ergibt, daß sie sich nach gewissen Grundsätzen zu richten hat, ohne die den
Methoden der Naturforschung die logische Grundlage fehlen würde” (Winternitz 1923, p. 14).
[5]In a letter to Einstein of 16 February 1924, Winternitz stated: “On the problem of the a priori
principles, and especially the causality principle, we have had a debate to the point that we understood
each other, even if we did not agree with each other. This too is a rare success in philosophical prob-
lems” (“Über das Problem der apriorischen Grundsätze haben uns ja so weit ausgesprochen, daß wir
uns zwar nicht verständigt, aber doch verstanden haben. Auch das ist ja bei philosophischen Fragen
ein seltener Erfolg”; see Abs. 305).
[6]The autograph ends with “beweist:.”
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