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Schlick's Critique of Positivism Author(s): Joia Lewis Source: PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science

Association, Vol. 1988, Volume One: Contributed Papers (1988), pp. 110-117 Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Philosophy of Science Association Stable URL: . Accessed: 01/07/2011 01:01
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Schlick's Critique of Positivism Joia Lewis IndianaUniversity It is not well known that Moritz Schlick, whose name is inseparablefrom the development of logical positivism, was extremely critical of positivism priorto the 1920's. The positivism Schlick found fault with was associatedwith the physicist Ernst Mach. Schlick went to considerablelengths to criticize Machianpositivism on both epistemological and ontological grounds. He also objected to the positivist claim to be able to account for relativitytheorywithin its framework. Schlick's views before his move to Vienna in 1922 have been labeled a "critical realism"(Friedman1983, empiricistrealism"(see Feigl 1938, p. xx) or a "structural p. 501). His exposure to the work of Ludwig Wittgensteinis generally held up as the crucial factor in turninghim away from his early realist views towardspositivism. There is general acknowledgmentof a majorchange in Schlick's philosophical thinking in the early 20's; disagreementexists, however, over both the extent of the change and of whetherit was a positive or negative one. I believe a clearerunderstanding Schlick's early criticisms of positivism helps to put the transitionin Schlick's philosophical developmentin betterperspective. It also shows the role of Schlick's philosophical work on relativity theory in turninghis attentionto a positivist concern with empirical the verification. His early criticisms of positivism, particularly fact thatit ignored the significance of the logical and conceptualin favor of the immediatelyexperienced, became the issues thathe then had to deal with. Familiaritywith Schlick's logical positivist writings show that he spent the second partof his philosophicalcareer strugglingto work out solutions to the very problemshe had so vehemently criticized in his early work. 1. Schlick's epistemological objections to Machianpositivism All of Schlick's epistemological criticismsof positivism follow from the sharp distinction he made between 'knowledge' and 'intuition' (or aquaintance). This featureof Schlick's early work, not only distinction is without doubt the most important with respect to his criticisms of positivism but also because he will work on the problems stemmingfrom his efforts to clarify the relationshipbetween knowledge and intuitionfor the rest of his life.1 Before his move to Vienna in 1922, however, Schlick was more concernedwith elaboratingon the differences between knowledge and intuitionthen with showing how they were related. Schlick identified intuitionspecifically with the act of sensing, with the fleeting moment before the one who is sensing has become consciously awareof what it is one

PSA 1988, Volume 1, pp. 110-117 Copyright? 1988 by the Philosophy of Science Association

111 andb urred n ourmemor esandnever cons u e momen sare is sensing. These moments are vague and blurredin our memories and never constitute s sens ng genu ne know edge genuine knowledge: Pureune abora edpercep on sensa on s Pure unelaboratedperceptionor sensationis mere acquaintance(Kennen)... acqua n ance Kennen Sensa on g ves Sensation gives us no knowledge whatsoeverof things, but only an know edge wha soevero h ngs bu on y o Know edge herea erGTK acqua n ancew h hem Genera acquaintancewith them. (General Theoryof Knowledge, hereafterGTK, p 89 p. 89) Genu ne know edge Erkennen Genuine knowledge (Erkennen),on the other hand, involves the use of concepts, he o her hand nvo ves he o concep s wh ch which we orderand coordinatein systems of interlockingjudgments: "[s]o long as an orderand coord na e n sys ems o n er ock ng udgmen s " s o ong n ob ec s no compared object is not compared,or in some way incorporatedinto a conceptual system, it is not ncorpora ed n o concep ua sys em s no known " Vo o Sch ck s Ph osoph ca Papers herea er p 146 There ore known." (Vol. I of Schlick's PhilosophicalPapers,hereafter p. 146) Therefore I I, ha wh ch s know ng nvo ves wo ac ors no us one "some h ngknown knowing involves two factors, not just one: "somethingknown, and that as which it is known" (I, p. 144), in orderto lodge it firmly within our own conceptual system. o odge I p 144 n rm y w h nourown concep ua sys em Sch ck con ras s h s o he Schlick contraststhis to the "mereexperiencing"of an object, which is only a one-place exper enc ng"o ob ec wh ch s on y one p ace re a on " ncon emp a on n u onwe arecon ron ed relation: "incontemplationor intuitionwe are confrontedby a single object, without s ng e ob ec w hou re a ng o any h nge se " I p 146 relating it to anythingelse." (I, p. 146.) Bes des h s s r c den ca ono n u onw h he ac o sens ng Sch ck a so Besides this strictidentificationof intuitionwith the act of sensing, Schlick also identified intuitionmore generally with any philosophy thatwas 'anti-science' in den ed n u onmore genera y w h an sc ence n ph osophy ha a ude Th s attitude. (This may explain what Coffa has called his "anti-intuitionist " in ca ed h s "an n u on szea n zeal" exp a n wha Co a n u onp ays e ro e " Co a deve op ng p c ureo know edge developing "apictureof knowledge where intuitionplays little or no role." (Coffa, ch XI p 31 Sch ck d rec eda ch. XI, p. 31) Schlick directeda good deal of criticism at philosophies thatrejected the dea o cr c sma ph osoph es ha re ec ed he type of knowledge found in the exact sciences in favor of a type of knowledge ype o know edge ound n he exac sc ences n avoro ype o know edge immediately experienced by a knowing subject. He frequentlymentions the work of mmed a e yexper encedby know ng sub ec requen ymen ons he worko andHusser n h s con ex see I pp 142 7 Sch ck wr eso hese Bergson and Husserl in this context (see I, pp. 142-7). Schlick writes of these ph osophers ha philosophersthat they believe that intuition attainsin perfect fashion to precisely what hey be eve ha n u ona a ns n per ec ash on o prec se y wha sc en c know edge s pursu ngva n y scientific knowledge is pursuingvainly by imperfectmeans. (I, p. 145) mper ec means I p 145 Fur her hey d rec y nver Sch ck s p c ure Further,they directly invert Schlick's picture: I s no It is not by comparing,measuringand calculating,they say, thatwe obtain ob a n compar ng measur ng ca cu a ng hey say ha our final insights, but by the most immediateexperience, by living and na ns gh s bu he mos mmed a eexper ence v ng looking. (I, p. 142) ook ng I p 142 Bu But, as we have seen, for Schlick "intuitionand science, experiencing and knowing, seen or Sch ck " n u onand sc ence exper enc ng know ng are opposites." (I, p. 151) oppos es " I p 151 Sch ck Schlick had been trainedas a physicist,2 and was well aware of the prevailing ra nedas phys c s 2 andwas we awareo he preva ng sc en s s 3 a so enormous y mpresseda hos y owardsph osophy hostility towardsphilosophy among scientists.3 He was also enormously impressedat this time with Planck's mandatethat progresstowarda "unifiedworld-picture," he goal h s me w h P anck s manda e ha owarda "un edwor d p c ure " goa the o ma uresc ence nvo ved he e m na ono he qua a ve sense der ved of maturescience, involved the eliminationof the qualitative,sense-derived e "an hropomorph elements" n avoro he quan a veresu so exper men a sc ence "anthropomorphic emen s"in favor of the quantitativeresults of experimentalscience. c G ven Sch ck s s rongpro sc ence sen men s Given Schlick's strongpro-science sentiments,why would he reject the dominant wou d re ec he dom nan sc en c ph osophy o h s day he pos v sm assoc a edw h he phys c s Erns scientific philosophy of his day, the positivism associated with the physicist Ernst Mach? The culprit was Mach's theoryof sensations. If "pureunelaborated Mach s heoryo sensa ons I une abora ed cu pr percep on perception or sensation"did not constituteknowledge for Schlick, it is not surprisingthat he would sensa on"d d no cons u eknow edge or Sch ck s no surpr s ng ha wou d Mach s v ew ha Mach's view that we cannot know anythingabout the world beyond the canno he oppose any h ngabou he wor d n var ous comp exes o e emen s o sensa ons ha complexes of elements of sensations that are simply given to us in various s mp y g ven o comb na ons Sch ck s accep anceo P anck s "non an hropocen r c combinations. Schlick's acceptanceof Planck's "non-anthropocentriches s"o the thesis"of he o sc ence a so ha Mach s comp exes o progressof science also made it impossible for him to agree that Mach's complexes of mposs b e or h m o sensa ons he co ors sounds pressures empera uresetc., ha sensations (the colors, sounds, pressures,temperatures, c that we directily perceive) e d rec yperce ve cons u ea ha constitute all that we can know about the world. abou he wor d

112 Sch ck s mos vehemen cr c smso Machconcern he a er scons rua o he Schlick's most vehementcriticisms of Mach concern the latter'sconstrualof the o hough Mach s words 'principleof the economy of thought.' In Mach's words, pr nc p eo he The goal which [science] has set itself is the simplest and most economical se se s he s mp es andmos econom ca goa wh ch sc ence abs rac express on o ac s Quo ed n B ackmore 1972 p 169 abstractexpression of facts. (Quotedin Blackmore, 1972, p. 169) ra heru op anv s on o he goa o know edge ando sc ence n Sch ck s a edh s Schlick stated his own ratherutopianvision of the goal of knowledge, and of science in hus par cu ar o ows " odes gna eun voca y he arges poss b e number particular,as follows: "todesignate univocally the largestpossible number,and thus meanso m n ma numbero concep s" u ma e ya he ac s n he en re wor d ultimatelyall the facts in the entire world, by means of a minimalnumberof concepts" o d er rad ca y Sch ck (I, p. 139). While the two versions do not appearto differ radically,Schlick regards I p 139 Wh e he wo vers onsdo no Mach s proposa or econom ca express on "asor o men a ndo ence" I p 226 Mach's proposalfor economical expression as "a sort of mental indolence"(I, p.226) he shor es andeas es poss b e wh ch s o "unders ood which is to be "understood psycho og ca y o psychologically to mean the shortestand easiest possible o represen ng mag n ng he ac s" I p 293 Sch ck con ras s h s o h s way of representingor imagining the facts" (I, p. 293). Schlick contraststhis to his own version, which is to be "interpreted ca y to mean designationby a minimumof vers on wh ch s o " n erpre edog logically o des gna onby m n mumo w h n he rom bu concep s" I p 293 Mach s vers ondoes no concepts" (I, p. 293). Mach's version does not remove us from, but keeps us within the h s cons ra n prec ud ng he og ca rea mo he realm of the humansenses; Schlick saw this constraintas precludingthe 'logical' senses Sch ck ac v y o work ng w h sys ems o concep s activity of working with systems of concepts: How absurdto believe thatthe goal of knowledge is to make our thought o be eve ha he goa o know edge s o makeour hough n ac abouro n e ec ua e or ess arduous o processes less arduous,to spareus intellectualeffort, when in fact labourof the greatestintensity is demanded... [Mach's] is a principleof convenience, he grea es n ens y s demanded Mach s s pr nc p eo conven ence o ak ng he of taking the easy path;the other is a principleof unity. (I, p. 292 and GTK, GTK pa h he o her s pr nc p eo un y I p p 99 p. 99) Sch ck s ep s emo og ca cr c smso Mach anpos v sm warran ed?Mach Are Schlick's epistemological criticisms of Machianpositivism warranted?Mach n ermso he abs rac concep ua ormu a ons ha cou d bu o en often spoke in terms of the abstractconceptualformulationsthat could be built on our bas c un so sense exper ence 4 However Sch ck gnores Mach s re erences o he basic units of sense-experience.4 However, Schlick ignores Mach's referencesto the ocuses h s cr ca cons ruc ono concep ua andma hema ca ormu a ons constructionof conceptualand mathematicalformulations,and focuses his critical remarkson Mach s ounda on o know edge n sensa ons Fur hera houghmucho remarkson Mach'sfoundation of knowledge in sensations. Further,althoughmuch of o d rec edmore owards Sch ck s cr c smso ph osoph es o n u on Schlick's criticisms of philosophies of intuitionappearto be directedmore towards c ear ha andHusser he o ow ng ph osophers philosopherssuch as Bergson and Husserl, the following passage makes it clear that zeal" Sch ck s d rec ngh s "an n u on szea at Machas we Schlick is directinghis "anti-intuitionist "a Mach as well: they still conflate knowing (Erkennen)with being acquaintedwith hey s con a e know ng Erkennen w h be ng acqua n edw h (Kennen), thatis, with pure experiencing,mere being given... What the Kennen ha s w h pureexper enc ng be ng g ven Wha he d rec we o Avenar us "e emen s"in he "elements", n the case of Mach and Avenarius,"are" know by direct de n onbu exper ence a one ha acqua n ance I s no udgmen acquaintance... It is not a judgmentor a definition but experience alone that no ha he n orma onabou he r"na ure" Bu h s g ves gives us informationabouttheir "nature".But this does not mean that the he rna ureareknown GTK p 231 e emen s elements and their natureare known. (GTK, p. 231) 2 2. Sch ck s on o og ca ob ec ons o Mach anpos v sm Schlick's ontological objections to Machianpositivism

s den a o he ex s ence o Sch ck s on o og ca crit c smso pos v sm Schlick's ontological criticisms of positivism concern its denial of the existence of cr devo ed wo sec ons o h s Genera Theoryo Know edge things-in-themselves. He devoted two sections of his General Theoryof Knowledge h ngs n hemse ves 26 pp 194 231 o exam na ono he no on o mmanence advoca ed (25. and 26., pp. 194-231) to an examinationof the notion of immanence,advocatedby 25 ph osophy re ec he ex s ence o h ngs n hemse ves ph osophers philosopherswho reject the existence of things-in-themselves. Immanencephilosophy o he rea mo he g ven S nce h s con nes bo hwha here s andwha confines both what thereis and what can be known to the realm of the given. Since this v ew accord ng o Sch ck " s ound n s pures orm n Avenar usand Mach " view, accordingto Schlick, "is found in its purestform in Avenariusand Mach,"he presen s andcr c zes " heessen a so he mmanences andpo n w h re erence o presents and criticizes "theessentials of the immanencestandpointwith reference to bas c hes s o mmanenceph osophy these authors."(GTK, p. 201) The basic thesis of immanencephilosophy, or hese au hors " GTK p 201
pos v sm s positivism, is:

(1) Only the given is real. 1 On y he g ven s rea S nce Sch ck de ned h ngs n hemse ves "ob ec s Since Schlick defined things-in-themselves,as "objectswhose reality is asserted rea y s asser ed o ows ha pos ng he r w hou he rbe ng d rec yg ven"5 GTK p 195 without theirbeing directly given"5(GTK, p. 195), it follows thatpositing their ex s ence s ncompa b ew h 1 above Bu deny ng he ex s ence o no g ven existence is incompatiblewith (1), above. But denying the existence of not- given

113 cou d ex reme y un or una e ob ec s objects had extremely unfortunate consequences accord ng o Sch ck a bes consequences, accordingto Schlick: at best, it could no not be reconciled with empiricalprinciplesused in science, such as the principleof reconc ed w h emp r ca pr nc p es n sc ence he pr nc p eo o of causa y a wors cou d ead o he "renunc a on know edge"comp e e y causality; at worst, it could lead to the "renunciation knowledge"completely. In o he ormer Sch ck s a es ha he pos v s s aced w h " he mposs b y regardto the former, Schlick states that the positivists are faced with "theimpossibility o reconc ng he den a o h ngs n hemse vesw h he soundnesso emp r ca of reconciling the denial of things-in-themselveswith the soundnessof empirical researchme hods researchmethods and their best establishedprinciples"(GTK, pp. 200-1). The most he rbes es ab shedpr nc p es" GTK pp 200 1 mos ha Sch ck men ons ha he pos v s s importantprinciple (and the only one that Schlick mentions) that the positivists are mpor an pr nc p e and he on y forced to relinquishis the principleof causality, which "demandsan unbroken orced o re nqu sh s he pr nc p eo causa y wh ch "demandsan interconnectionof all thatis real so thatreal processes proceed accordingto strict n erconnec ono a ha s rea ha rea processesproceedaccord ng o s r c emp r ca aws " GTK p 220 empiricallaws..." (GTK, p.220) Bu arworse han he prospec o abandon ng he pr nc p e o causa y s he oss But far worse than the prospectof abandoningthe principle of causality is the loss o know edge se Sch ck s a es ha s obv ous ha of knowledge itself. Schlick states thatit is obvious that a meticulously rigorousexecution of [the positivist] programwould wou d me cu ous yr gorousexecu on o he pos v s o a renunc a ono know edge Know edge un or una e y unfortunatelymean a total renunciationof knowledge. Knowledge k nd o h nk ng or h s concep s areneeded presupposes some kind of thinking,and for this concepts are needed. (GTK, p. 198) GTK p 198 Th s This harshpronouncementdoes indeed follow from Schlick's definition of knowledge ndeed o ow rom Sch ck s de n ono know edge pronouncemen as distinct from intuition,and from the fact thatMach's theory of sensations fell on the d s nc rom n u on rom he ac ha Mach s heory o sensa ons e he s de o he he know edge barr er on he s de o n u on wrong side of the the knowledge barrier, the side of intuition. Severe polemics aside, it is interestingto note, in the light of Schlick's later views, po em cs as de s n eres ng o no e n he gh o Sch ck s a er v ews that he cannot hide his feeling thatneverthelessthereis something extremely attractive ha canno h de h s ee ng ha never he ess here s some h ngex reme y a rac ve abou he pos v s v ew about the positivist view: n ou ne Here we have in outline a grandworld view of astonishingsimplicity... wor d v ew o as on sh ngs mp c y we ha he mmanence necessar y ree rom con rad c on necessarily free from well chosen that the immanence ar rom he o dua smandma er a sm ph osopherrema ns us philosopherremainsjust as far from the dangersof dualism and materialism as from subjective idealism... (GTK, p. 202) rom sub ec ve dea sm GTK p 202 3 3. Mach anpos v sm Machianpositivism and relativity theory re a v y heory

Sch ck devo ed sec on Schlick devoted section VII of his "PhilosophicalSignificance of Relativity o h s "Ph osoph ca S gn cance o Re a v y 1915 o exam na ono J Pe zo d s c a m" ha E ns e n s pr nc p e o Theory"(1915) to an examinationof J. Petzoldt's claim" thatEinstein's principle of re a v y relativity was a "trulypositivistic achievement,"in that "theideas of Mach were " ru ypos v s c ach evemen " n ha " he deas o o ead o " I p 178 Sch ck rs acknow edges ha re a v y necessar y necessarily bound to lead to [it]." (I, p.178) Schlick first acknowledges that relativity ha E ns e n "cou dhard y theory is compatible with positivist thought,and thatEinstein "couldhardly have heory s compa b e w h pos v s hough arr veda h s heory arrivedat his theory, if he had not himself alreadybeen toying with these ideas." (I, hadno h mse a ready oy ng w h hese deas " I pp 178 9 I s he s rongerc a m ha pos v sm a ready n pp. 178-9) It is the strongerclaim thatpositivism alreadyin some way prefiguredthe pre gured he pr nc p e o re a v y ha Sch ck cha enges principle of relativity that Schlick challenges: The basic thesis of positivism, that only the perceived is to be declaredreal, bas c hes s o pos v sm ha on y he perce ved s o dec aredrea and that the world is to be constructedsolely from immediately given ha he wor d s o cons ruc edso e y rom mmed a e yg ven o en ed o he c a m ha s nce on y re a vemo ons 'elements', has often led to the claim that since only relative motions are e emen s rea ha abso u emo ons perce vab e s hey a one ha perceivable, it is they alone that are real; that absolute motions have no ex s ence wha ever andcan hus existence whatever, and can thus have no physical effect either. Is this hs phys ca e ec e her pos u a e n postulate in any way equivalent to the propositionthat we have designated equ va en o he propos on ha des gna ed h her oas he pr nc p eo re a v y? I p 179 hithertoas the principleof relativity? (I, p. 179) Sch ck s a es he bas c hes s o pos v sm Schlick states the basic thesis of positivism as (above) above (1) Only the perceived (the given) is real. 1 On y he perce ved he g ven s rea He had earlier in the same essay stated the principleof relativity as: hadear er n he s a ed he pr nc p eo re a v y as

114 (2) All uniformand rectilinearmotions referredto in naturallaws are relative. 2 A un ormandrec nearmo onsre erred o n na ura aws arere a ve When applied to motions, (1) leads to the claim that app ed o mo ons 1 eads o he c a m ha (3) Only perceived motions are real. 3 On y perce ved mo ons arerea S nce on y re a vemo ons Since only relative motions are perceivable,they alone are real; in other words, (3) can rea n o her words 3 perce vab e hey a one be stated as s a edas (3a) Absolute motions do not exist, since they are not perceivable. 3a Abso u e mo onsdo no ex s s nce hey areno perce vab e ha Bu h s But this means that re a ve (3b) All motions arerelative, 3b A mo ons s nce any h ng ha s rea mo on s perce vab emo on since anythingthatis a real motion is a perceivablemotion, and only relative motions on y re a vemo ons are perceivable. perce vab e o ha h s Sch ck Schlick proceeds to show that this very generalpostulateof relativity, (3b), is not genera pos u a eo re a v y 3b s no he pos v s s wou d equ va en o 1 equivalentto (1), as the positivists would have it. un orm F rs he genera propos on 3b mus nc udeacce era ed we First, the general proposition(3b) must include accelerated as well as uniform mo ons wh e E ns e n s pr nc p e 2 re ers o un ormmo ons on y motions, while Einstein's principle(2) refers to uniformmotions only: "Thepositivist pos v s mus e herma n a n h s propos on or must either maintainthis propositionfor any given motion, or has no right to maintainit r gh o ma n a n g ven mo on ash onw h o o h sc a m he a a at all. For the groundsof his claim arepresentin the same fashion with regardto every presen n he con rmed he re a v yo un orm mo on " I p 179 However exper ence motion." (I, p. 179) However, experience has confirmedthe relativityof uniform mo ons on y reca ha Sch ck s wr ng h s n 1915 Second E ns e n s pr nc p e motions only (recall that Schlick is writingthis in 1915). Second, Einstein's principle (2) is a contingentproposition,"aresult of perfectly specific experiences, not a mere 2 s con ngen propos on "aresu o per ec yspec c exper ences no o h s genera re a v s cpropos on " I p 179 pos v s s 3b s consequence of this generalrelativisticproposition."(I, p. 179) The positivists' (3b) is, left o on the other hand, invoked as a "necessityof thought"ratherthan "ultimately e to he o her hand nvokedas "necess yo hough "ra her han "u ma e y ar va d " E ns e n n ended 7 exper ence o dec de experience to decide how far it may be regardedas valid,"as Einstein intended.7 (I, p. 183) I p 183 Ano herma or au ha Sch ck nds w h he pos v s accoun o re a v y Anothermajorfault that Schlick finds with the positivist accountof relativity he d s nc onbe ween wha Sch ck ca ed sub ec ve concerns the distinctionbetween what Schlick called 'subjective' and 'objective' ob ec ve me d s nc on guresprom nen y n Sch ck s wr ngs no ons o notions of space and time. The distinctionfigures prominentlyin Schlick's writings on unders ood n he con ex o h s know edge n u on re a v y heory andcan bes relativity theory, and can best be understoodin the context of his knowledge/intuition he rexc us ve ocus wha d s nc on Sch ck s comp a n aga ns he pos v s s distinction. Schlick's complaintagainstthe positivists was theirexclusive focus on what Sch ck cons deredour " s ub ec vepsycho og ca exper ences o ex ens on n Schlick consideredour "[s]ubjective,psychological experiences of extension in space n wh ch hese concep ons andorder n me "ra her hanon " he ob ec ve and orderin time,"ratherthan on "the'objective' sense in which these conceptions n na ura sc ence " I p 259 he o spa a percep ons or ns ance occur in naturalscience." (I, p. 259) In the case of spatialperceptions,for instance, each ar d eren exper ence o space ha " ac ua o of our senses gives us a differentexperience of space, so that "[t]actualspace has so far g ves he psycho og s nds h mse ob ged no he s gh es resemb ance o v sua space not the slightest resemblanceto visual space, and the psychologist finds himself obliged senses " I p 260 or n u onas to say that there arejust as many spaces for our intuitionas we have senses." (I, p. 260) o ha hereare us o he phys c s "Sch ck con nues con ras " he By contrast,"thespace of the physicist,"Schlick continues, wh ch which we have set up as objective in opposition to these subjective spaces, se ob ec ve n oppos on o hese sub ec vespaces is a single definite one, and we thinkof it as independentof our sense s s ng e de n e one andwe h nko ndependen o here oreno he da ao sense ob ec s o phys cs impressions... The objects of physics are thereforenot the data of sense: mpress ons the space of physics is not in any way given with our perceptions,but is a he o phys cs s no n percep ons bu s g ven w h produc o productof our conceptions. (I, p. 260) concep ons I p 260 he Sch ck a so nds Schlick also finds no justificationfor singling out only the intuitionalelements and the us ca on or s ng ng ou on y he n u ona e emen s o wha s res restrictionof rea y n h s re a onsbe ween hem rea relations between them as real. The arbitrary r c ono reality in this way to what is arb rary on narrow ng g ven s "unsa s ac ory accoun o cer a n ack o con nu y given is "unsatisfactory accountof a certainlack of continuity. In narrowingdown the conception of reality...we tear,as it were, certainholes in the fabric of reality" he concep on o rea y we ear were cer a nho es n he abr co rea y" (I, p. 265). I p 265

115 4 4. Trans on The Transition

In 1921 Schlick published a review of Cassirer'sEinstein's Theory of Relativity, Sch ck pub shed rev ew o Cass rer sE ns e n s Theoryo Re a v y o of en ed "Cr caor Emp r c s In erpre a on entitled "Criticalor EmpiricistInterpretation Modem Physics?" It is within the Phys cs?" I s w h n he o of con ex o cr c z ng Cass rer sneo Kan an n erpre a on re a v y heory ha context of criticizing Cassirer'sneo-Kantianinterpretation relativity theory that ear er Sch ck Schlick has his first words of approvalfor Machianpositivism. Schlick drops earlier h s rs wordso approva or Mach anpos v sm Sch ck equa y we gh ed a ackson bo h ep s emo og ca schoo s andnow p s hem aga ns equally-weighted attackson both epistemological schools and now pits them against each other: o her or ph osoph ca um na on ha he pr nc p es it seemed to me that the principles needed for a philosophical illumination o armore andv nd ca ono he heory o re a v y cou d and vindicationof [the] theory [of relativity]could be drawnfar more read y rom he emp r c s han he Kan an heoryo know edge andeven readily from the empiricistthan the Kantiantheoryof knowledge; and even o h s pos on on subsequentoccasions I found no reason to abandonthis position, more subsequen occas ons oundno espec a y s nce he success u comp e on o he genera heory brough especially since the successful completion of the generaltheory... brought dea ha hadar sen rom he so o ex reme emp r c sm v c ory o victory to an idea that had arisenfrom the soil of extreme empiricism (namely the positivism of Mach). (I, p. 322) name y he pos v sm o Mach I p 322 The publicationof Einstein's The Foundationof the General Theoryof Relativityin pub ca ono E ns e n s TheFounda ono he Genera Theoryo Re a v y n he exper men a con rma ono he e ec o grav y 1916 and the experimentalconfirmationof the effect of gravityon light in 1919 gh n v nd ca edMach s ear er genera pos u a eo re a v y vindicated Mach's earlier 'general postulateof relativity.' ((3b), above) Schlick is now 3b above Sch ck s sa s ed ha h s propos on satisfied that this propositionhas been empiricallyverified, and not merely invoked as a emp r ca yver ed andno mere y nvoked o g ve Machcred or hav ng tenet of an epistemological school. He is also preparedto give Mach credit for having ene o s a so ep s emo og ca schoo genera re a v y an c pa edE ns e n s anticipatedEinstein's work on generalrelativity. he m s akeo cons ras ng" hecr ca Cass rer accord ng o Sch ck Cassirer,accordingto Schlick, makes the mistake of constrasting"thecritical he nameo s r c pos v sm Be ween v ewpo n on y w h he sensua s one viewpoint only with the sensualistone, underthe name of 'strict' positivism... Between the two we still have the empiricistviewpoint, accordingto which these constitutive he wo s he emp r c s v ewpo n accord ng o wh ch hese cons u ve no pr or pr nc p es aree her hypo heses conven ons n he rs principles are either hypothesesor conventions;in the first case they are not a priori hey n he (since they lack apodeicticity), and in the second they are not synthetic."(I, p. 324) It is s nce hey ack apode c c y hey areno syn he c " I p 324 I s this new empiricist viewpoint that Schlick now wants to defend, dissociating it from hs wan s o de end d ssoc a ng rom emp r c s v ewpo n ha Sch ck wha what he now labels 'strictpositivism', an "exaggerated a v s cpositivism [which] abe s s r c pos v sm re relativisticpos v sm wh ch "exaggera ed has actually led to claims which contradictthe presuppositionsof the theory of ac ua y ed o c a ms wh ch con rad c he presuppos onso he heory o ndeed o phys cs genera y " I p 349 re a v y relativity, and indeed of physics generally."(I, p. 349) Fr edmanwr es ha Sch ck "pre gures pr nc p eo ver ab y" 1983 Friedmanwrites that Schlick "prefigures he principleof verifiability"(1983, the p 505 n h s rs pro emp r c s wr ngs n he o ow ng phrase p. 505) in his first pro-empiricistwritings, in the following phrase: the principle that differences in reality may be assumed only where there he pr nc p e ha d erences n rea ymay here on y are differences that can, in principle, be experienced. (I, p. 330) exper enced I p 330 d erences ha can n pr nc p e Sch ck Schlick even says at this point that this principlecan "beelevated to the supreme a h s po n ha h s pr nc p e "bee eva ed o he pr nc p e o a emp r ca ph osophy o he u ma e gu de ne wh ch mus principle of all empiricalphilosophy, to the ultimate guideline which must govern our a ude o attitudeto every question of detail, and whose ruthless applicationto all special ques on o de a andwhose ru h ess app ca on o a spec a (I, p 331 Fur herre a v y heory prob ems s exceed ng y ru u problems is an exceedingly fruitfulprocedure" I p. 331). Further,relativity theory relativi then points the way to the correctepistemology: hen po n s he o he correc ep s emo ogy the theory of relativitycan enable us to separatethe legitimate aspects of he heory o re a v y enab e o separa e he eg ma easpec s o this philosophy from those that are hasty or perverse. The theory permits h s ph osophy rom hose ha has y perverse heoryperm s no wild, uncriticalempiricismor positivism, but...restricts hemw h n quite them within qu e w d uncr ca emp r c sm pos v sm bu res r c s I p 349 spec c m s specific limits... (I, p. 349) A year later, in his "TheTheory of Relativity in Philosophy"(1922), Schlick again o Re a v y n Ph osophy" 1922 Sch ck aga n a er n h s o spoke of a new epistemological postulate, "theprinciple thatonly something really ep s emo og ca pos u a e " hepr nc p e ha on y some h ngrea y observab e shou d observable should be introducedas a ground of explanationin science." (I, p. 345) The n roducedas groundo exp ana on n sc ence " I p 345 o E ns e n s re a v y heory power u heore ca s gn cance powerful theoreticalsignificance and empirical success of Einstein's relativitytheory emp r ca had forced a rethinkingof epistemological assumptions: "thisphilosophical postulate orced re h nk ngo ep s emo og ca assump ons " h sph osoph ca pos u a e

116 carries so much weight with all those of us who believe in Einstein's theory, that we cheerfully accept into the bargainall the consequences that follow from the doctrine based on it..." (I, p. 345) 5. ConcludingRemarks

Schlick's betterknown logical positivist writings, writtenafterhis move to Vienna in 1922 and his founding of the Vienna Circle, show that he dedicatedtremendous energy to the problemof how to groundscientific knowledge on sense-experience. The success of relativitytheory forced him to take seriously the role of experience and observationin science. He then concentratedhis efforts on finding a solution to the very problemhe most criticized aboutpositivism in his early work: specifically, that sense-experiencedid not of itself constitutegenuine knowledge. The logical positivists' well known preoccupationwith verificationencompassedboth the logical and the empirical. When Carap and Neurathgave up the projectof groundingour empirical knowledge on immediatelygiven data in the famous 'protocoldebates' of the 30's, however, Schlick upheldhis proposalfor just such a sensory foundationfor empirical or knowledge. (Vol. II, pp. 370-387) His Konstatierungen, 'ascertainments'were meant to endow those fleeting moments of intuition,or sense-experience,with a respectabilityworthy of the scientific enterprise. They were "theunshakeablepoints of contact between knowledge and reality"from which "comesall the light of knowledge" (II, p. 387). The unreliabilityof intuitionas a groundfor knowledge, which he argued for so forcefully duringhis early years, was finally dissolved in these "momentsof fulfillment and combustion." (II, p. 387) Notes 1Latervariationson the distinction(e.g., form vs. content, communicablevs. incommunicable,public vs. private)will be vehicles for Schlick's continuingwork on the problemof how the communicable,conceptualknowledge of science can result from the incommunicable,privateexperiencesof its practitioners. 2Schlick's doctoraldissertation,on the reflection of light in a nonhomogeneous medium, was completed in 1904, underthe supervisionof Max Planck at the University of Berlin. 3This hostility, accordingto Schlick, was "psychologicallyexplicable as a residue from the period duringthe last centurywhen the special sciences...hadto defend themselves against the pretensionsof philosophers,as exhibitedin the idealist systems aga ns he pre ens onso ph osophers exh b ed n he dea s sys ems o F ch e Sche ng of Fichte, Schelling and Hegel..." (I, p. 104) Hege " I p 104 n 4Mach spoke of adapting thoughtsto facts (Analysisof Sensations, p. 316), and in o adap ng hough s o ac s Ana ys so Sensa ons p 316 o of Sc ence o Mechan cs pp 522 23 Machwro e ha "ourmen a represen a ons he Science of Mechanics (pp. 522-23) Mach wrote that "ourmentalrepresentations the subm ed o concep ua ormu a ons " facts of sensual experience must be submittedto conceptualformulations." ac s o sensua exper ence mus Mach s de n ono h ng n se "some h ng ha s e 5CompareMach's definition of a thing-in-itself: "somethingthat is left over when h nko we thinkof a thing with all of its propertiesremoved." (Quoted in GTK, p. 195) h ng w h a o s proper esremoved " Quo ed n GTK p 195 n h s ar c epub shed ar c e see Sch ck s #44 I p 189 6InPe zo d s 6In Petzoldt's 1912 article (see Schlick's #44, I, p. 189) and in his articlepublished in Zeitschriftfurpositivistische Philosophie, 1914 (see Schlick's #55, I, p. 189). n Ze schr urpos v s schePh osoph e see Sch ck s #55 I p 189 to 7Sch ck no es w h rony ha s "remarkab eo observehow o en he 7Schlick notes with irony thatit is "remarkable observe how often the very endeavourto hold always to sense experience alone, leads to bold a priori postulations" o ho d a ways o exper ence a one eads o bo d pr or pos u a ons" (I, p. 181). I p 181

117 References Blackmore,J. (1972). ErnstMach, His Work,Life, and Influence. Berkeley: University of Caifomia Press. Coffa, J. A. (forthcoming). To the ViennaStation: Semantics,Epistemologyand the A Priori from Kant to Carnap. Daum, A., (1982). "Schlick'sEmpiricistRealism,"Synthese,52: 449-493. Feigl, H. (1938). "MoritzSchlick, a Memoir",in Philosophical Papers Vol. I. Edited by H.L. Mulderand B. van de Velde-Schlick, Dordrecht: Reidel, 1978. Friedman,M., (1983). "MoritzSchlick, PhilosophicalPapers,"Philosophy of Science, 50: 498-514. Schlick, M., (1925). General Theoryof Knowledge. Lasalle, Illinois: Open Court, 1985. _ __ __ _, (1909-1922). Philosophical Papers Vol. I. Edited by H.L. Mulder and B. van de Velde-Schlick, Dordrecht: Reidel, 1978. _ ____, (1925-1936). Philosophical Papers Vol. II. Edited by H.L. Mulderand B. van de Velde-Schlick, Dordrecht: Reidel, 1979.