D O C . 3 2 1 R E V I E W E L S B A C H 3 2 3
That we are able to connect experiences with one another, and order them, through
conceptual frameworks, that we can base correct predictions on them, is a miracle
that is acknowledged by the reality hypothesis and which cannot be eliminated
from the world by any philosophical acumen.
In the third chapter, the Aristotelian theory of concepts (the “category” theory of
concepts) is opposed and, following Cassirer closely, a new theory of concepts
(“serial principle”) is presented. One will surely definitely have to concur with the
author in that concepts cannot be logically derived from sensory experiences
through some method (abstraction), even though sensory experiences do psycho-
logically point out the way for the formation of concepts. On the other hand, how-
ever, I don’t think it has been successfully shown that the Aristotelian principle of
categories does not correctly reflect the relationship between concepts. It definitely
does not signify a contradiction if such a notion leads to the more general concept
being poorer in some respects; it is simply poorer in characteristic traits, but for it,
richer with respect to the subsumed individual cases (concepts). The weakness in
the deduction seems to me to be that no sharp distinction is drawn between a single
sensory experience, on the one hand, and the concept, on the other. Logic generally
only relates to the concepts and their mutual relations; and in this area the Aristo-
telian approach does not appear to me persuasively refuted. On the contrary, I am
of the conviction that the relations between concepts and single sensory experienc-
es cannot be grasped otherwise than intuitively. One can, for example, imagine that
the entire conceptual framework of a natural science be preserved, while the rela-
tions between its concepts and the sensory experiences fall into oblivion; this sci-
ence would then not exist anymore in the sense of a natural science. It is different
in mathematics as usually conceived by mathematicians, where the relationship to
experiences is foregone.
In general, it seems to be the weakness of positivists that the logical indepen-
dence of concepts from sensory experiences is not clearly brought to the fore, while
idealists like to forget that the dignity of concepts ultimately rests solely on the fact
that they connect sensory experiences.
Chapter 4 deals with the “Structure of Theoretical Physics and the Task of The-
oretical Philosophy.” The content of this chapter is indicated by the author himself
in the sentence: “In physics by means of independently constructed concepts and
laws the manifoldness and heterogeneousness of individual observations are or-
dered and united to a firmly interrelated (and measurable)
(The words
“and measurable” are enclosed in parentheses by me as not logical, because the
whole, composed of concepts and laws, cannot be called “measurable.”) Most peo-
ple would probably approve of the content of this chapter; it contains polemics
against the purely positivistic interpretation that are worth reading. I would just like
[col. 1687]
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