If there is a movement or school that epitomizes analytic philosophy in the middle of the twentieth century, it is logical empiricism. Logical empiricists created a scientifically and technically informed philosophy of science, established mathematical logic as a topic in and tool for philosophy, and initiated the project of formal semantics. Accounts of analytic philosophy written in the middle of the twentieth century gave logical empiricism a central place in the project. The second wave of interpretative accounts was constructed to (...) show how philosophy should progress, or had progressed, beyond logical empiricism. The essays survey the formative stages of logical empiricism in central Europe and its acculturation in North America, discussing its main topics, and achievements and failures, in different areas of philosophy of science, and assessing its influence on philosophy, past, present, and future. (shrink)
[Alan W. Richardson] This essay explores the uses that Michael Friedman and Bas van Fraassen have recently made of the work of Hans Reichenbach. It uses Friedman's work to complicate van Fraassen's invocation of Reichenbach's voluntarism in support of empiricism. It uses van Fraassen's work to motivate a concern with Friedman's neo-Kantian reading of Reichenbach. We are, finally, left with questions about the status and content of the account of the epistemic subject available to an epistemological voluntarist. /// (...) [Thomas E. Uebel] This response considers the question whether empiricists are condemned to silence about the epistemic agency their theories attribute or presuppose. It is argued that, unlike Reichenbach or Carnap, Neurath allowed for and indeed provided specifications of the role of epistemic agency in scientific inquiry. If this is correct, it underscores once more the need to distinguish between the various strands of logical positivism which show different strengths and weaknesses. (shrink)
It is often claimed that epistemological thought divides around the issue of the place of experience in knowledge: While empiricists argue that experience is the only legitimate source of knowledge, rationalists find other such sources. The trouble with such accounts is not that they are wrong, but that they are incomplete. On occasion, epistemological differences run deeper, raising the very notion of experience as an issue for epistemology. This paper looks at two epistemological debates which concerned not simply the place (...) of experience in knowledge but also the appropriate account of experience itself. The first episode is the rise of Marburg Neo-Kantianism in the 1870s – in particular the seminal work of Hermann Cohen in his Kants Theorie der Erfahrung (1871). Cohen's principal point was that Kant's significance as an epistemologist was in providing a new theory of experience, one that tied experience to exact science and led to a new stress on the formal conditions of exact knowledge. The second episode is Carnap's rejection of epistemology in the 1930s in favour of a program of the logic of science. My focus in each case will be the interplay between an epistemology focused on exact science as the locus of knowledge and a concomitant call for logical methods in epistemology. (shrink)
This essay examines logical empiricism and American pragmatism, arguing that American philosophy's embrace of logical empiricism in the 1930s was not a turning away from Dewey's pragmatism. It places both movements within scientific philosophy and finds two key points on which they agreed: their revolutionary ambitions and their social engineering sensibility. The essay suggests that the disagreement over emotivism in ethics should be placed within the context of a larger issue on which the movements disagreed: demarcationism and imperialism.
: This essay explores some themes in use of a relativized Kantian a priori in the work of Thomas Kuhn and Michael Friedman. It teases out some shared and some divergent beliefs and attitudes in these two philosophers by comparing their characteristic questions and problems to the questions and problems that seem most appropriately to attend to an adequate understanding of games and their histories. It argues for a way forward within a relativized Kantian framework that is suggested but not (...) argued for in Friedman (2001): philosophers of science should move from a concern with unreason as meaninglessness to a concern with unreason as argumentative coercion. It ends with a few suggestions regarding a place for philosophy in the history of reason. (shrink)
This essay explores some of the issues raised as regards the relations of philosophy and sociology of science in the work of Rudolf Carnap and Hans Reichenbach. It argues that Hans Reichenbach's distinction between the contexts of discovery and justification should not be seen as erecting a principled normative/descriptive distinction that demarcates philosophy of science from sociology of science. The essay also raises certain issues about the role of volition, decision, and the limits of epistemological concern in the work of (...) Carnap and Reichenbach and in some recent sociology of science. The relations of philosophy of science to sociology of science are seen to be more deeply rooted and more interesting than the Science Warriors would have us believe. (shrink)
This book is a major contribution to the history of analytic philosophy in general and of logical positivism in particular. It provides the first detailed and comprehensive study of Rudolf Carnap, one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century philosophy. The focus of the book is Carnap's first major work: Der logische Aufbau der Welt (The Logical Structure of the World). It reveals tensions within the context of German epistemology and philosophy of science in the early twentieth century. Alan Richardson (...) argues that Carnap's move to philosophy of science in the 1930s was largely an attempt to dissolve the tension in his early epistemology. This book fills a significant gap in the literature on the history of twentieth-century philosophy. It will be of particular importance to historians of analytic philosophy, philosophers of science, and historians of science. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the program of L. Laudan et al for empirically testing historiographical philosophies of science ("the VPI program") does not succeed in providing a consistent naturalist program in philosophy of science. In particular, the VPI program endorses a nonnaturalist metamethodology that insists on a hypothetico-deductive structure to scientific testing. But hypothetico-deductivism seems to be both inadequate as an account of scientific theory testing in general and fundamentally at odds with most of the historiographic philosophies under (...) test. I sketch an account of testing historiographic philosophies of science more consistent with the views about scientific testing of those philosophies and argue that such a program is neither viciously circular nor necessarily self-refuting. (shrink)