D O C U M E N T S 1 3 , 1 4 J U N E 1 9 2 7 3 7 13. To Rudolf Seeliger[1] [Berlin,] 25 June 1927 Dear Mr. Seeliger, I have read your essay on the theory of knowledge carefully and with interest, and I support its conclusions in the main.[2] There is, however, a point of principle on which I have a different opinion. One cannot simply claim that physics developed via induction from the empiri- cal facts instead, it emerges from free intellectual creations, whose consequences to be sure must be consistent with those empirical facts.[3] For example: The kinetic theory of heat, or the theory of electricity, evidently cannot be obtained from any number of empirical facts by induction. A critical analysis of the intellectual mate- rial shows that this is the case for all theories, although in some cases, the creative step appears in such a natural way that one easily overlooks the license taken. In case you intend to publish your study, it would in my opinion be expedient to point out right at the beginning that the point of view that you support is essentially in agreement with that of Mach and of the positivists in general.[4] Respectfully yours, 14. From Michele Besso Bern, 25 June 1927 Dear Albert, I have just received the enclosed letter from Mr. Franz Bandi, Oberwil, a brother-in-law of Rosa’s [1] the Ernst who is mentioned in the letter is indeed Rosa’s Ernst.[2] I told Mr. Bandi that I would send the letter on to you, and that I presume that if everything is prepared in such a way that you need only add a few signatures and then send it off, that you would perhaps actually do it. Mr. B. will inquire as to when the flight is to take place, and he will obtain German airmail stamps and send you the prepared materials, if you are willing.[3] “Sono gli incerti del mestiere,” said Umberto as he was grazed by the bullet of an anarchist.[4] __________________________
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