The Philosophy of Georg Henrik Von Wright

The Philosophy of Georg Henrik Von Wright

The Philosophy of Georg Henrik Von Wright

The Philosophy of Georg Henrik Von Wright


Georg Henrik von Wright, born in Helsinki in 1916, is the most renowned Scandinavian philosopher of our time, and an outstanding contributor to many fields of philosophy. He has made important contributions to logical theory and extended the application of logic to new areas, making path-breaking discoveries in probability theory, induction, causation and determinism, human action, and ethics. This work contains von Wright's intellectual autobiography, 32 major criticisms of his ideas, and von Wright's replies to each of these papers, followed by a complete bibliography of his works.


According to the late F. C. S. Schiller, the greatest obstacle to fruitful discussion in philosophy is “the curious etiquette which apparently taboos the asking of questions about a philosopher’s meaning while he is alive.” the “interminable controversies which fill the histories of philosophy”, he goes on to say, “could have been ended at once by asking the living philosophers a few searching questions.”

The confident optimism of this last remark undoubtedly goes too far. Living thinkers have often been asked “a few searching questions”, but their answers have not stopped “interminable controversies” about their real meaning. It is nonetheless true that there would be far greater clarity of understanding than is now often the case if more such searching questions had been directed to great thinkers while they were still alive.

This, at any rate, is the basic thought behind the present undertaking. the volumes of the Library of Living Philosophers can in no sense take the place of the major writings of great and original thinkers. Students who would know the philosophies of such men as John Dewey, George Santayana, Alfred North Whitehead, G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, Ernst Cassirer, Karl Jaspers, Rudolf Carnap, Martin Buber, et al., will still need to read the writings of these men. There is no substitute for first-hand contact with the original thought of the philosopher himself. Least of all does this Library pretend to be such a substitute. the Library in fact will spare neither effort nor expense in offering to the student the best possible guide to the published writings of a given thinker. We shall attempt to meet this aim by providing at the end of each volume in our series as nearly complete a bibliography of the published work of the philosopher in question as possible. Nor should one overlook the fact that essays in each volume cannot but finally lead to this same goal. the interpretative and critical discussions of the various phases of a great thinker’s work

*This General Introduction, setting forth the underlying conception of this Library, is purposely reprinted in cach volume (with only very minor changes).

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