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Go to the Index of 120 Philosophers Squared

Moritz Schlick (1882-1936) from Berlin, Germany, held the Chair of Naturphilosophie at University of Vienna and was the founding father of Logical Positivism and the Vienna Circle. He was murdered by one of his students.

Moritz Schlick

Moritz Schlick

Moritz Schlick

Moritz Schlick

Quotes attributed to Moritz Schlick:

“Only in the hours when life smiles at him without the stern frown of purpose, is he really a man.”

“Play, as we see it, is any activity which takes place entirely for its own sake, independently of its effects and consequences. There is nothing to stop these effects from being of a useful or valuable kind. If they are, so much the better; the action still remains play, since it already bears its own value within itself…”

“The meaning of life is youth. Youth, in fact, is not just a time of growing, learning, ripening and incompleteness, but primarily a time of play, of doing for its own sake, and hence a true bearer of the meaning of life. Anyone denying this, and regarding youth as a mere introduction and prelude to real life, commits the (error of shifting) life’s center of gravity forwards, into the future. Just as the majority of religions, discontented with earthly life, are wont to transfer the meaning of existence out of this life and into a hereafter, so man in general is inclined always to regard every state, since none of them is wholly perfect, as a mere preparation for a more perfect one.”

Philosophy “is that activity by which the meaning of propositions is established or discovered”; it is a question of “what the propositions actually mean. The content, soul, and spirit of science naturally consist in what is ultimately meant by its sentences; the philosophical activity of rendering significant is thus the alpha and omega of all scientific knowledge”. — Rudolf Carnap, Logical Syntax of language p.284

“To state the circumstances under which a proposition is true is the same as stating its meaning.”

“‘Every science presupposes the principle of causality.’ Therefore every explanation of human behavior must also assume the validity of causal laws; in this case the existence of psychological laws.”


There is a constant contradiction of purpose of complying with the needs of the present moment and striving toward a projected future one. The present moment can be called play if it is fulfilling the needs of the moment, but simultaneously it can be called work if it is intended to satisfy some future need.