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May 1961

The Philosophy of 'As If,' A System of the Theoretical, Practical and Religious Fictions of Mankind

Arch Intern Med. 1961;107(5):784-785. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620050150017

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Every now and then through some strange coincidence I come across a book I had never heard of, but which turns out to be very important in my continuing education. Some months ago in a very vivid and pleasant post-prandial discussion with Stewart Wolf he used The Philosophy of 'As If' to bolster an argument. I challenged him vigorously from the very well guarded vantage point of ignorance. Nonetheless, I was interested enough in what he said to look up Vaihinger and find out what it was all about. To be sure the argument as I recall it turned out to be more Stewart Wolf than Vaihinger, but nonetheless, to read Ogden's translation of this book was a choice excursion into philosophy. I then called it to the attention of some of my friends here who are devotees of the philosophy of General Semantics and found that this was old

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