By Michael Drieschner
This publication provides a suite of texts via the German thinker and physicist Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker (1912-2007), to be used in seminars on philosophy, mostly epistemology and the philosophy of physics or foundations of quantum mechanics, but additionally for classes on German philosophy of the 20 th century or the philosophy of technological know-how. so much texts seem in English for the 1st time. Weizsäcker grew to become recognized via his works in physics, later changing into renowned as a thinker and an analyst of up to date tradition and politics. He labored intensively on initiatives for the prevention of nuclear conflict and for peace often. – Texts approximately classical philosophy are integrated in addition to on common sense, at the philosophy of biology and at the philosophy of arithmetic, on “death” in addition to on “power”.
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Extra resources for Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker: Major Texts in Philosophy
The fact that neither absolute certainty nor absolute doubt is possible for us can also be expressed this way: One cannot cognize without faith. This may become clearer if we distinguish between inexplicit and explicit faith, as we did with cognizing. The deeper we go down into the sphere of inexplicitness the more impossible it becomes to distinguish at all between, on one hand, knowledge and cognition and, on the other hand, faith. In order to establish that lead is heavier than water, I let a piece of lead fall into water.
Thus, in the first quarter of our century, Einstein developed the so-called general theory of relativity, which deposed Newton’s general mechanics as well as his law of gravity; merely as limiting cases do they still remain valid. Since Einstein all Newtonian formulas are, strictly speaking, wrong. They are approximations, good ones in most cases, but experimentally poor in others. How shall we put this? If one demands the strictest application of the term ‘true’ to a theory, then it follows that Newton’s theory was not true; although uncontested for two centuries, it was wrong.
With this ‘can’ enters the concept of potentiality, which will soon become a main object of reflection for us. Thus we have a cyclical connection: The given is an excerpt of the factual, the factual is what can become given. Otherwise put: The individual is only understandable from the whole, the whole is only exhaustible by way of the individual. Therefore the methodological necessity to jump into the swirling current. I have, in fact, already done so in this methodological preliminary consideration.