The Proto-Ideas and Their Aftermath

  • Nathan Rotenstreich
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 87)


The purpose of the present exploration is not to deal with the details of Fleck’s analysis of the scientific fact and its conceptual components. The purpose is rather to point to some trend in modern philosophy — as a matter of fact formulated at the time of Fleck’s writing of this major book — without assuming that Fleck was aware of those trends and their affinity with his own ‘style of thinking’. Hence we can say that we are concerned with the whole notion of ‘Pre-ideas ’ (Prä-Ideen) as formulated1 in several major philosophical presentations, or to take advantage of a historical expression -we are interested in the ‘climate of opinion’ in which or against which Fleck’s theory was formulated. To be sure, when Whitehead uses the term ‘climate of opinion’ he points to the understanding of the antecedents of a certain world-view.2 We are more concerned with the contemporary points of view than with that which preceded Fleck. One could say that we are interested in the contemporary milieu, in the philosophical sense, of Fleck’s position and its major issues.


Scientific Fact Historical Dimension Historical Knowledge Philosophical System Universal Validity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    “Prä-Ideen” — Fleck’s own expression — called also Archideen. My friend Professor Y. Elkana called my attention to the fact that the expression is Joseph Glanvill’s. I thank Professor Elkana for all the comments he made with regard to the present paper.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. N. Whitehead: Science and the Modern World, Penguin Books, 1938, p. 14. The expression appears in Glanvill’s, The Vanity of Dogmatizing, Harvester Press, Hove Sussex, 1970 reproduction, p. 227.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fleck: ‘On Foundations of Medical Knowledge’ is contained in: Thaddeus J. Trenn (tr.), Ludwik Fleck’s ‘On The Question of The Foundations of Medical Knowledge’, republished in The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 6 (1981), 237–256. The references contain among other items E. Schrödinger’s Ist die Naturwissenschaft Milieubedingt?, Barth, Leipzig, 1932. It is not clear to the present reader whether the article of Fleck in its original publication referred to that lecture of Schrödinger or it is an addendum of the editor Dr. Trenn.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The page numbers in the text refer to Ludwik Fleck: Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache. Einführung in die Lehre vom Denkstil und Denkkollektiv. Mit einer Einleitung herausgegeben von Lothar Schäfer und Thomas Schnelle, Suhrkamp, 1980, p. 131.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ibid., p. 130-131.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ibid., p. 38.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ibid., p. 35.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ibid., p. 140.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ibid., p. 141.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ibid., p. 31.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ibid., p. 53.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ibid., p. 50.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ibid., p. 56-57.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ibid.,p. 58.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ibid., p. 62-63. As a matter of fact Max Weber uses the term ‘Lebensstil’, and ‘Lebensreglementierung’ implying a form of behaviour and representations of values of a certain group of people. Gesam. Aufsätze zur Religionssoziologie (Siebeck) Tübingen, pp. 43, 327-268.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ibid., p. 148.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ibid., p. 143.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ibid., p. 122.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ibid., p. 17.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ibid., p. 124.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ibid., pp. 132-133.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ibid., p. 2.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    This is a comment which probably is not unrelated to the various versions of the distinction between Naturwissenschaft and Kulturwissenschaft.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Hans Leisegang: Denkformen, Zweite neu bearbeitete Auflage, 1951, Walter de Gruyter & Co. Berlin, 1951, p. 11, note.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ibid., p. 13.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ibid., p. 15.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Ibid., p. 18.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ibid., p. 22.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ibid., p. 44.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ibid., p.446.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ibid., p. 444.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Eduard Spranger: Lebensformen, Geisteswissenschaftliche Psychologie und Ethik der Persönlichkeit (Fünfte vielfach verbesserte Auflage), Verlag von Max Niemeyer, Halle (Saale), 1925. Wittgenstein’s relation to the concept of ‘forms of Life’ has to be explored.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Vorwort p. IX.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Ibid., p. 407.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ibid., p. 445.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Ibid., p. 445.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Ibid., p. 405.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Ibid., p. 360.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ibid., p. 369 — text and footnote.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Ibid., p. 376.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Ibid., p. 124.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Ibid., p. 358.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Ibid., p. 112.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Ibid., p. 63.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Ibid., p. 122.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Ibid., p. 391.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Versuch zu einer Soziologie des Wissens, herausgegeben von Max Scheler, Verlag von Duncker & Humboldt, München und Leipzig, 1924.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Ibid., p. 493. Compare the chapter: ‘Die Lehre von Drei Tatsachen’, in Max Scheler: Schriften aus dem Nachlass Bd. 1 Zur Ethik und Erkenntnislehre (zweite, durchgesehene und erweiterte Auflage mit einem Anhang herausgegeben von Maria Scheler), Francke Verlag, Bern, 1957, p. 450ff.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Entstehung etc., p. 129.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Ibid., p. 129.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Ibid., p. 132.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    ‘Beiträge zur Lösung der Frage vom Ursprung unseres Glaubens an die Realität der Aussenwelt und seinem Recht’, Ges. Schriften, V. Bd. B. T. Teubner Stuttgart, and Vandenhouck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, p. 105. It is obvious why Dilthey used the term ‘Glaube’ and not ‘Argument’ or ‘Beweis’.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Ibid., p. 104.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Ibid., p. 101.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Ibid., p. 98.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Max Scheler: Die Wissensformen und die Gesellschaft, Zweite, durchgesehene Auflage, Francke Verlag, Bern und München, 1960, p. 370.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Ibid., p. 374.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Max Scheler: Der Formalismus in der Ethik und die materiale Wertethik, Neuer Versuch der Grundlegung eines ethischen Personalismus, 4. Aufl. mit einem neuen Sachregister von Maria Scheler, Francke Verlag, Bern, 1954, p. 154.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Nicolai Hartmann: Zum Problem der Realitätsgegebenheit, Pan-Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin, 1931, p. 23.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Ibid., p. 56.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Ibid., p. 16.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Ibid., p. 27.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Ibid., p. 48, the Statement of Theodor Litt in the discussion of Hartmann’s presentation.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Ibid., p. 91.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Michel Foucault: The Order of Things. An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (transl. from the French), Tavistock Publications, London, 1970, p. xi.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Ibid., p. 242.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Ibid., p. 319.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Ibid., p. 344.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Ibid., p. 364.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Ibid., p. 371.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Michel Foucault: The Archaeology of Knowledge. Transl. from the French by A. M. Sheridan Smith Harper Colophon, New York, 1969, p. 33.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Ibid., p. 79.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Ibid., p. 127. Knowledge as ‘immature’ in its way is rightly pointed out in Ian Hacking: ‘Michel Foucault’s Immature Science’, Noûs 13 (1979), 39ffGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Kr. d. v. Vernunft B, p. 867, Kemp-Smith, transl.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathan Rotenstreich
    • 1
  1. 1.The Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations