1 4 4 D O C . 1 4 9 R E V I E W W I N T E R N I T Z
149. Review of Josef Winternitz, Relativity Theory and
[Einstein 1924a]
Completed before 13 November 1923
Published 1 January 1924
In: Deutsche Literaturzeitung 1 (1924): 20–22.
J. Winternitz [Ph. D.], Relativitätstheorie und Erkenntnislehre. [Wissenschaft und Hypothe-
se Vol. XXIII.] Leipzig, B. G. Teubner, 1923.
A lack of creative power often manifests itself among philosophical authors in
that they do not present their subject systematically on their own but instead adopt
their theses from others and only attempt to comment upon and criticize them. The
powerful author, however, grapples with his subject matter himself, creates a sys-
tematic representation of it, and only compares the results of his own analysis
against the theses of others once he has formed and implemented his own point of
view through independent work.
The author of this book belongs, in this sense, among the independent, creative
ones and thereby has at his disposal a thorough knowledge of the subject in its
physical and philosophical aspects. In his philosophical approach, which is related
and Reichenbach, he is—as far as my knowledge extends—the only
one who has done full justice to
without losing his own independence to
him. The following statements, which I surely may take out of context, give a no-
tion of the author’s stance toward Kant, on the one hand, and toward empiricists,
on the other:
“For Nature is not, as must defiantly be repeated again and again to all empiri-
cists for whom Kant did not come to life, just something that ‘experience’ gives,
but a system that thought builds out of individual facts that are, according to its
principles, themselves meaningless and unrelated.” “The characteristics of exten-
sion, of spatial arrangement and motion, as we encounter them in visual perception,
exactly like color qualities, are certainly not distinguished in any way from these;
but when we construct a regularity out of mathematical concepts of magnitude not
borrowed from this worldview—particularly variables that represent spatio-tempo-
ral order, on which what are to us directly givens (in Mach’s meaning), conformally
[p. 20]
[p. 21]
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