Naive and Philosophical Viewpoints on the Question of Reality

  • Moritz Schlick
Part of the LEP Library of Exact Philosophy book series (LEP, volume 11)


The concept of reality is not a scientific one. It is not the product of some piece of research like, for instance, the concept of energy or of the integral. It does not belong to some specific science; in fact, strange as this may sound, the scientists could not be less interested in its determination or definition. It is true, of course, that theorists always receive the stimulus for their investigations from reality. But so far as the actual interest of science is concerned, which finds satisfaction in the game of reducing concepts to one another, it is of no consequence whether these concepts do or do not designate realities. In either event, the cognitive process can take its course with equal vigor. The mathematician displays no less zeal in his preoccupation with ideal structures than the historian or the economist, whose interest is centered on reality. But even the latter two construct ideal cases; and in the inquiry into their general principles they work with simplifying abstractions. In the final analysis, all science is theory and all theory has unreal abstractions as its subject-matter.


Perceptual Image Real Relation Minimum Boundary Natural View Ordinary Person 
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  1. 4.
    Wilhelm Dilthey, Beiträge zur Lösung der Frage vom Ursprung unseres Glaubens an die Realität der Außenwelt und seinem Recht, Sitzungsberichte der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, 1890, p. 977.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    In his work Wissenschaft und Wirklichkeit, 1912.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    System der Philosophie, 3rd edition, p. 79.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    System der Metaphysik, 1840, pp. 76, 83, 90.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, Volume I, § 4.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Ibid., Volume II, Book I, Chapter 4; see also Abhandlung über den Satz vom Grunde, near the end of § 21.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Logik, I, 2nd edition, p. 138.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    This is pointed out specifically by E. Becher in “Naturphilosophie”, p. 62 (Kultur der Gegenwart, 1914).Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Metaphysik, § 1.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Metaphysik, § 5, § 8.Google Scholar
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    Metaphysik, especially § 10.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    Book III, Chapter 24, § 1.Google Scholar
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    Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Kehrbach edition, p. 202 (Raymund Schmidt edition, 1956, p. 266).Google Scholar
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    Ibid., pp. 206ff. (p. 271).Google Scholar
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    Beiträge zur Logik, 2nd edition, 1912, p, 25.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Moritz Schlick

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