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VIEWS OF KANT, SCHILLER, AND SPINOZA ON ETHICS AND SUPERSTITION (SCIENTISTS.) EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Two Typed Letters Signed, "A. Einstein," to aphorist Hans Margolius, in German. The first, encouraging him to publish his manuscript because it rewards the bravery of confronting superstition, remarking that Spinoza showed that we can be whole if we have understanding, and, in a postscript, offering to return the manuscript. The second, pointing out that Kant and Schiller discussed Margolius's distinction between the ethical act and the emotional motive that leads to the act, and opining that the emotional triggers of ethical action belong to psychology rather than ethics. Each 1 page, 4to, embossed personal stationery; punch holes at left edge, folds, faint scattered foxing to first. Princeton, 5 October 1943; 5 October 1950
5 October 1943: "Thank you very much for your little book with the subtle aphorisms about ethical values. I am convinced that this little work deserves publication, since it is suitable for bringing some consolation and new courage to live without resorting to the opium of superstition. "What I see as a limitation of the little book is that it anxiously averts our gaze from the abysses and chasms that are undeniably present in every two- and four-legged being and cannot be eliminated by ignoring them. One must have the courage to see and understand things in their nakedness in order to be a whole person. Spinoza showed that this can be done. Someone would have to come who would recreate it in plain, simple language. Maybe you are the man." 5 October 1950: "You have nicely explained the distinction between the ethical act or objective on the one hand and the emotional motive that leads to the act or evaluation on the other. The idea itself is of course not new. Thus, for example, Kant curiously went so far in the objective conception of the ethical that he does not recognize an act as ethically valuable if it springs directly from an elementary feeling (e.g. pity); he only accepts the sense of duty as the legitimate emotional basis of the ethical, something that Schiller already made fun of. In my opinion the objective view is the one appropriate to the subject of ethics. The emotional situation that prompts the ethical action does not actually belong to ethics but to psychology."