Most Honourable Professor!
Yesterday afternoon I was given your card. (It turned out that the information I had been given previously regarding the address was not quite accurate, since there’s no post office in Tłumaczyk [now Tovmachyk, Ukraine], only in Kołomyja [now Kolomyia, Ukraine], and the letters are delivered later, when opportunity permits.)
First of all, I thank you very cordially for graciously remembering my name day and for such well-conceived wishes. Too often in life, unfortunately, we have occasion to confirm the validity of Mickiewicz’s verdict on the subject of health [i.e. ‘thou art like good health; I never knew till now how precious, till I lost thee’ – Pan Tadeusz]. In any case, I celebrate my name day in February, but was nevertheless enormously pleased with this new proof of your kindness to me, the more so since I know how many different classes and problems you have on your mind.
I was inordinately worried by the news about the new misfortune that’s befallen Kazik. It’s just that I can’t understand how he contracted the infection. In any case, it’s a very regrettable thing, since, whereas the disease took a favourable course, usually a case of pneumonia leaves certain traces in the lungs. I hope that, given Kazik’s strong constitution, such traces won’t be extensive, but I think that a stay in the mountains would be useful, all the more given that Lviv’s climate is unfavourable for lung conditions. But he probably won’t be able to think about going away until autumn. May it all turn out as favourably as possible!
I’ll be staying here until the 20th of this month, because I have to talk to my new headmaster, prior to the beginning of the school year, about the division of hours. Immediately before leaving Lviv, I learned that that I had been transferred to middle school no. 2, because the number of classes in
no. 1 had been reduced to eight and there weren’t enough hours for me. Thus I’ll get acquainted with yet another school in Lviv. Perhaps there’ll be fewer different considerations there regarding the classification of pupils, and accordingly it may be possible to achieve better results. Given these considerations, I’m rather happy about this transfer, but it’ll mean more work for me again, due to the need to familiarise myself with new student material and to develop appropriate methods. ‒ Here, I’m reading Scheler[O1] ’s Erkenntnis u. [und] Arbeit [Cognition and Work](the second dissertation in Die Wissensformen u. [und] die Gesellschaft [The Forms of Knowledge and Society]). I consider his critique of pragmatism to be correct, but insufficiently justified, granting perhaps too many concessions to pragmatism. His positive theory of perception pleases me less, despite many interesting things. The lack of justification for many completely non-obvious assertions; the confusion of various points of view, taken partly from Husserl, partly from Bergson, of ‘Gestaltpsychologists’; the ill-considered nature of many arguments, etc.; and beyond all of this, heavy metaphysics, whose particular assertions can only be guessed at, for Scheler, as is his habit, refers to his as yet unpublished writings. Unless these appear as posthumous work, it will be difficult to appreciate his complete position. This worries me, because I promised to write an article for [Philosophical] Review, and I see that it’ll mean a great deal of work and that it’ll really be necessary to wait until Scheler’s other papers are published. The end result of this work won’t be great, because only a more extensive critical dissertation in German would have any value. Writing an informational article in Review about a paper about whose results I have numerous reservations doesn’t tempt me very much.
I haven’t yet started writing the dissertation for the Festschrift [commemorative book] for Husserl. Likewise, the paper on the literary work has been lying around for several weeks. I still have a great deal of work to do on it, and don’t know when I’ll finally prepare it for printing (according to my contract with Niemeyer, I should submit it for printing around the New Year at the latest; the paper for Festschrift has to be submitted by 1/10 of this year). Perhaps following my return to Lviv, I’ll feel myself a little more ‘in the saddle’ again than I do now.
It’s very bad news that you haven’t been able to leave Lviv yet, so as to relax a bit after the past year of school. I hope that in the near future it’ll be possible to remove the various obstacles and that you’ll soon be able to get away, if only for a few weeks. To rest ‒ even given your iron strength ‒ is necessary, especially since last year, as far as I know, you spent the entire summer in Lviv. Thus I’ll close this letter with the fervent wish that you’ll be able to get away in the near future.
My wife cordially thanks you and your wife for graciously remembering her and asks me to send her best regards and greetings to both of you.
I enclose expressions of profound esteem and true respect, and a kiss for your wife’s hand. I’m writing at the same time to Kazik.
[O1]Max Scheler (1874‒1928)