Mind Volume 21 Issue 81 1912 [Doi 10.2307%2F2248912] Review by- F. C. S. Schiller -- Die Philosophie Des Als Ob. System Der Theoretischen, Praktischen Und Religiosen Fiktionen Der Menschheit Auf Grund

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Mind Volume 21 Issue 81 1912 [Doi 10.2307%2F2248912] Review by- F. C. S. Schiller -- Die Philosophie Des Als Ob. System Der Theoretischen, Praktischen Und Religiosen Fiktionen Der Menschheit Auf Grund
  Mind ssociation Die Philosophie des Als Ob. System der Theoretischen, Praktischen und Religiosen Fiktionender Menschheit auf Grund Eines Idealistischen Positivismus, mit einem Anhang uber Kantund Nietzsche. by H. VaihingerReview by: F. C. S. Schiller Mind, New Series, Vol. 21, No. 81 (Jan., 1912), pp. 93-104Published by: Oxford University Press  on behalf of the Mind Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2248912 . Accessed: 10/06/2014 14:03 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at  . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp  . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.  . Oxford University Press  and  Mind Association  are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to  Mind. http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:03:56 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  VII.-CRITICAL NOTICES. Die Philosophie es Als Ob. System er theoretischen, iaktischen und religitsen iktionen der Menschheit uf Grund eines idealistischen ositivismus, mit einem Anhang uber Kant und Nietzsche. Herausgegeben on H. VAIHINGER. Berlin, Reuther Reichard, 911. Pp. xxxv, 04. THIS impressive ork has had a remarkable istory. The first part pp. 1-327), ontaining he systematic iscussion f the con- ception f fiction,' as written o long ago as 1876; part 2 (pp. 328-612) dates from 877-8 nd contains he special llustrations; part 3, a citation f passages from ant, Forberg, . A. Lange and Nietzsche, s based on collections made n 1875, but has been dded to since, nd contains lso some references o current ontroversies. There are, moreover, wo Prefaces, ne signed by Prof. Vaihinger as the 'editor,' he other unsigned) y the author,' who is not stated o be identical with he editor'. This curious act, ogether with he bundance f misprints nd the bsence of any attempt o bring he contents f the work up to date, s no doubt connected with the distressing malady of the eyes which, o every one's regret, ept Prof. Vaihinger way from he Bologna Congress f Philosophy, o which he book s dedicated. It was clearly case of publication ow or never, nd in the form n which he material existed or not at all, and Prof. Vaihinger s certainly ight n thinking hat the learned world would rather have so valuable work n an imperfect orm han ose it altogether. The second Preface serves as an introduction o the whole argument y formulating s its central uestion he problem f Fiction and asking'how s it possible hat with deas known o be false we can yet attain right results and by explaining why ts publication as so long delayed. Prof. Vaihinger xplains, uite frankly, hat he did not dare to publish t before, hereas now four influences ave paved the way for t, viz., the growth f Voluntar- ism Paulsen, Wundt), he biological heory f knowledge Mach, Avenarius), he popularity f Nietzsche, nd the rise f Pragmatism. The whole assage s most nstructive, nd throws strange ight n the vaunted enkfreiheit f he German niversities. ere we have an extremely earned, ighly cientific ork, which f t had appeared thirty-five ears ago would ndubitably ave made an epoch nd enormously ccelerated he progress f philosophy, eliberately This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:03:56 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  94 CRITICAL NOTICES: suppressed y its author, not because he feared deprivation r official ensure as many German philosophers ave done in the past), but because he shrank rom he odium of setting ight he dominant ogmatisms f his colleagues Why, this is quite as bad as anything e have elsewhere. But Prof. Vaihinger's vowal shows, not merely hat courage s one of the great ntellectual virtues though is book s a sufficient roof hat he himself as no lack of t), but still more that dogmatism nd intolerance re as deadly nemies o science when they re found n university ro- fessors s in state-officials nd that there s something ravely wrong, rom social point f view, n any system which produces these vices and gives hem uch opportunities. However, we ought o be glad to have at ast got Prof. Vaihinger's work, which s, as he says, the first ystematic reatise n the epistemological unction f Fictions, and considers ts subject exhaustively n its scientific, thical nd religious spects nd with copious, nd often econdite, llustrations rom hilosophic istory. Incidentally t involves new interpretation f Kant, which s regarded s the most radical form f Criticism, nd as the secret doctrine f Kant himself n his more enlightened or bolder?) moments, hough rof. Vaihinger f course knows Kant and his ways far oo well to pretend t is the only nterpretation nd the only doctrine o be got out of his contradictory ronouncements. For this new 'Kant,' whose genuineness nd truth o some at least of Kant's moods Prof. Vaihinger's uotations eem con- vincingly o establish, rof. Vaihinger's reat Commnentary nd his position s the foremost Kenner' of Kantian philosophy, ill no doubt ecure respectful earing, nd the thorougb iscussion he German Kant-philologers love, while t may also be a check n the ttempts o turn Kant into dogmatist hich re so popular n other uarters. Thus here gain the maxim holds that very ew philosophy nvolves new ' Kant'. But Prof. Vaihinger, hough he is proud of his Kantian nspiration nd apparently olds that Kant was big enough to be allowed to contradict imself s he pleased nd that t is ' Philistine' o deny him this right p. 639), and though e must know how his Kantian ore must mpress nd overawe esser men, nd how nterestingly t llustrates he mount of valuable hought hich histories f philosophy ommonly eave out, does not pose as a mere disciple. He has an eye to the absence n Kant of essential modern deas, ike those of value and of the teleological ature of thought p. 191), and is conscious f going beyond Kant. The real core of his system, nd its real merit, ie in the thesis he has raised about the nature nd value of Fiction and its relation o Truth. With the results of this investigation e conceives is philosophy s taking ts seat on the extreme eft f the philosophic andemonium s an insight nto the necessity f conscious ictions s indispensable oundations f our scientific nquiry, ur esthetic njoyment, ur practical ction This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:03:56 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  H. VAIHINGER, Die Philosophie es Als Ob. 95 which enfolds ith common ie the differentials f mathematics, the atoms f physics, he deas of philosophy, nd even he dogmas of religion p. xv.). It will be seen hat he scope of Prof. Vaihinger's rogramme-is enormous, nd to appreciate t it will be necessary o consider I. his notion f F iction,' L. his ist of fictions,' II. his relations to Scepticism, nd IV. to Pragmatism. I. He begins y conceiving he oul n the modern iological ay as active nd (in a way) creative. It follows hat s thinking s an organic unction, ts aim must e practical, iz., o to transform he material iven by the senses that we can calculate the course f events nd act successfully chap. i.). All thinking herefore s instru-mental Dewey's word), nd not ts own end, nd all thoughts are Denkmittel' pp. 95, 126, 181, etc.), nd so 'fictions'. Thus the aim of truth hroughout s, not a theoretic opying, r a comparing ith eality, ut a practical esting f the usefulness f ideas, so that for modern pistemological tandpoint here an no longer be a question f ' truth' n the ordinary ense of the word (pp. 5, 7). Thinking, eing simply n instrument o find one's way about he world, which ubstitutes an deal world or he real pp. 22-23), has however o make use of dodges Kunstgriffe) in order o attain ts ends, and these are the Fictions which no science an dispense with. . Any departure rom he given s 'fictitious,' hough t is not necessarily full-fledged Fiction'. The latter s distinguished from 'semi-fiction' y the fact that it not only departs rom reality nd contradicts t, but also contradicts tself p. 24). In- deed self-contradiction s the most ertain ymptom f fictions (p. 94). A ' fiction' s not however ntended o express reality, and should be accompanied y this consciousness p. 127). It should not claim o be fact' (p. 173). Thus a ' fiction is defin- able as any conscious, urposive ut alse assumption (p. 130), or a scieztific nvention or practicalpurposes p. 65). It should be sharply distinguished rom n hypothesis, hough they have been constantly onfused o far. A hypothesis ims at represent- ing reality nd must not be contradictory; t claims theoretic value (p. 148), and (if it succeeds) produces understanding r real knowledge p. 147), or explanation p. 187). Hypotheses e- mand verification, nd the rule for hem s 'take the most prob- able' (p. 144): for ictions t is 'take the most suitable'. They can never e verified, ecause hey begin y departing rom eality (p. 152); what they require s justification y their usefulness; their value is practical nd their fruit s successful alculation. They are in fact useful, ruitful nd salutary errors' which con- trast with terile nd harmful truths . They may be called errors legitimated y their success (pp. 62-64, 190, of. 143), and are heuristically ndispensable. For all thinking s only reg'ulated error (p. 217). This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:03:56 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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