Niels Bohr and the Vienna Circle

Abstract
Logical positivism had an important impact on the Danish intellectual climate before World War Two. During the thirties close relations were established between members of the Vienna Circle and philosophers and scientists in Copenhagen. This influence not only affected Danish philosophy and science; it also impinged on the cultural avant-garde and via them on the public debate concerning social and political reforms. Hand in hand with the positivistic ideas you find functionalism emerging as a new heretical language in art, architecture, and design. Not surprisingly, you may say, since the logical positivists’ wishes of stripping philosophy of metaphysics is spiritually similar to the functionalists’ desire to get rid of symbols and ornaments. One event more than anything confirmed the connection between the Vienna Circle, Denmark, and the rest of the Nordic countries. For a short while Copenhagen became the centre for the Circle’s activities when in 1936 the 2nd Inter national Congress for the Unity of Science was held there between June 21 and 26. A photograph, taken during the conference, shows many of the participants sitting in the hall of Carlsberg’s honorary mansion where Niels Bohr was living at the time. Among the audience you find Otto Neurath , Carl Gustav Hempel and Karl Popper , but also some of the more prominent Danish scientists and scholars whose world views were congenial with the logical positivists
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