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Robert Musil

On Mach´s Theories

Translation from the German by Kevin Mulligan

ISBN: 3-88405-044-3

Price: €38.00 (including 7 % tax)


(Original title: Beitrag zur Beurteilung der Lehren Machs [1908])
Introduction by G.H. von Wright

Robert Musil is best known in the English-speaking world for his multi-volume chronicle of Imperial Austria, The Man Without Qualities. What is less well known is that Musil had at one stage in his life considered embarking upon a career as a philosopher, and his doctoral dissertation, here translated into English for the first tine, represents the outcome of five years of study in Berlin under the philosopher and psychologist Carl Stumpf.

The Man Without Qualities has sometimes been described as the one truly significant positivist novel. From the standpoint of the critique of Machian positivism which is contained in the present work, however, the novel must be conceived in a different light. For whilst Musil, like the positivists, attempts to break down the objective world into a multiplicity of subjective experiences, his notion of experience rests essentially upon the concept of structure introduced into philosophy by Stumpf, Brentano and the phenomenologists: it owes little to narrow positivist conceptions of experience as a matter of unstructured sensory impressions.

But it is not only as a key to the understanding of the philosophical background of Musil's fiction that the work will be of interest. Musil's painstaking account of the entire corpus of Mach's writings on epistemology and philosophy of science will make this volume useful also as a general introduction to the Machian philosophy. And as G. H. von Wright makes clear in his introduction to the volume, Musil's own philosophy, too, is of considerable interest in its own right.

Of interest to:
Philosophers and historians of science, literary theorists, historians of ideas, students of these disciplines


Munich: 1983, 97 pp., library binding


 





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