The Debate on Begriffstheorie Between Cassirer, Marc-Wogau — and Schlick

Thomas Mormann
University of the Basque Country
The aim of this paper is to reconstruct a peculiar debate between Ernst Cassirer and the Swedish philosopher Konrad Marc-Wogau on Begriffstheorie that took place in the late thirties of the 20th century. This debate may be conceived as sort of ersatz of the discussion between Cas sirer's Neokantian Begriffstheorie on the one hand, and logical empiricist accounts on the other, in particular Schlick's Begriffstheorie as presented in his Allgemeine Erkenntnislehre. Although Schlick did not participate in personam in the discussion that took place between Cassirer and Marc-Wogau, one may consider him as a “virtual” participant of the debate, since his Begriffstheorie played an important role in the background, in particular for Cassirer. More precisely, I'd like to show that the debate can be read as a dispute on the feasibility of a “rich” account of Begriffstheorie, favored by Cassirer, and the necessity of restricting Begriffstheorie to an “austere” approach whose protagonists were Marc-Wogau and Schlick, although in a quite different ways. More generally, the debate on Begriffstheorie exemplifies the complex interactions — and non-interactions — between three important currents of scientific philosophy, namely, the Marburg Neokantianism of Cassirer, the scientifically minded philosophers of the Uppsala School, and, indirectly, the Logical Empiricism of the Vienna Circle
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DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-3683-4_10
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