Gräfelfing near Munich, November 14, 1937
My dear friend,
n I was saddened to hear that you have been ill, and I hope you have overcome this illness by now. Hopefully, you did not return to work overly hasty!
n I would like to thank you for your letter, which was an honor for me. I am pleased to hear that there has been the desired impression about my lecture in your circle. In addition, I would like to thank you for sending me volume I of “Studia Philosophica”. At the same time, I am also writing the chairman of the Philosophical Society, our friend Ajdukiewicz, to express my gratitude to him as well. I was very happy about this honor, which also tells me that the Philosophical Society thinks positively of me. I would like to add that I perceived the days in Lwów as the highlight of my journey through Poland and that I will never forget this experience. I would first and foremost like to thank the two of you – you and Ajdukiewicz – since you made sure these days were enjoyable in every respect.
n Regarding your comment on the lack of publicity for our new philosophical titles, I would like to respond that it was particularly bad for my Kant Commentary, because the publishing house that published the book and is featured at the beginning of the book went bankrupt immediately after the book’s release. Next, the book fell into the clutches of another publisher who also suffered a misfortune before it finally ended up with the Palm & Enke Company in Erlangen. However, they did absolutely nothing to benefit the distribution of the book. All I can do is lament this; there is nothing I can do about it.
n Nobody knows if and when a new edition will be published. The same is generally true for all philosophical new editions, considering the current state of destitution among scientific circles and the general lack of interest in philosophy. Nevertheless, I am excited that my Commentary on Kant is now at least becoming known in Poland as a result of your actions. I also sent a copy to Ketarbinski to make sure the book is represented in Warsaw! I am very interested to hear your impression regarding the contents of the book, so please write and include your honest opinion!
n Your comment regarding the presentation of the Studia Philosophica to me reminds me of a fact that I had almost forgotten: When you kindly escorted me to the hotel (to pick up my luggage), the doorman gave me a package containing books by Skibniewski, and you noted that another box of books was supposed to arrive. Were you referring to Studia Philosophica? I kept worrying that a package may arrive at the hotel after my departure and that the package would get lost. However, I eventually forgot about this issue because of the many distractions that day. Am I correct assuming that this issue has been resolved by now?
n I will read your work on the structure of the individual object as soon as I can find time and have enough energy. Unfortunately, I had to tell Ajdukiewicz that I will be unable to read his work (Syntactic Connexity) because I do not understand the required logistical sign language. Perhaps he can teach me the next time I come to Lwów. I don’t feel confident that I can overcome this obstacle by myself as earlier attempts have already shown. Carnap gave me the impression that these logistical expressions don’t contribute much to the advancement of understanding, but rather to the disguise of the actual problems.
n I am glad to sense that, based on your kind words concerning my way of philosophizing, you somewhat agree with me in this respect. Nevertheless, it seems odd and, in my opinion, ominous that Ajdukiewicz too cultivates this branch of modern science, although I had the impression that he is a rather consequent and clear thinker. Therefore, I wrote him that I would like him to teach me about the logical conceptual world if I should be lucky enough (which I truly hope!) to return to Lwów. If I didn’t have such a positive impression of him, I would not care about the logistics. Thus, I don’t know what to make of this matter. Indeed, by no stretch of my imagination can I put myself in a state in which my scientific desires prompt me to conduct a thorough study of logistical questions and make this an unavoidable necessity. I simply cannot work on a philosophical level without a problem becoming unavoidable. Everything I have achieved with regard to philosophy originated from such unavoidable necessity.
n Oddly enough, I have a similar problem with another language besides the logistical language, namely the Polish language! I realize that I must learn the Polish language because otherwise, I will not be able to have a conversation on important matters with my Polish friends. In this case, there is the unavoidable necessity! In this regard, it differs from the logistical language; however, the similarity is that I am having a difficult time learning it despite all of my efforts. The main reason is that I don’t have a teacher or partner to help me learn.
I hope that I will eventually find someone to help me, so I don’t have to maintain the position: Słabo jeszcze rozumiem i méwięn po polsku! (Which is probably the most difficult phrase I know how to say.) Well, since I am determined not to return to Poland until I have a basic command of the Polish language, and I am feeling an unavoidable necessity, I must do everything I can to learn the language.
n Anyway, I am afraid I am boring you. It is probably best if I close this letter now, but before I do so, let me just add one more thing: I concur with you that Husserl’s phenomenology and my way of philosophizing are by no means complete opposites. Instead, I believe that the differences concerning all of the key points go back to terminology whereby I have the perhaps erroneous view that with regard to Husserl’s fundamental term of the “act”, my terminology is more consistent, i.e. it provides an easier way to describe facts. You can tell that my head has gotten a little bit bigger because of your praise! However, I have good intentions and am open to conviction.
n I will write you separately regarding your paper which you mentioned at the end of your letter. For now, I am closing with my warmest regards.
n n n n Your friend and devoted servant,
n n n n n n n Hans Cornelius