The question is investigated whether scientific racism--the masking of purported racial prejudice by scientific fact--can afflict not only first-order theories but also the philosophy of science. An affirmative answer is suggested by the investigation of the biological theories of knowledge underlying the metatheories of Poincare, Duhem and Boltzmann which reveal affinities with social/racial Darwinism.
Do the terms “logical positivism” and “logical empiricism” mark a philosophically real and significant distinction? There is, of course, no doubt that the first term designates the group of philosophers known as the Vienna Circle, headed by Moritz Schlick and including Rudolf Carnap, Herbert Feigl, Philipp Frank, Hans Hahn, Otto Neurath, Friedrich Waismann and others. What is debatable, however, is whether the name “logical positivism” correctly distinguishes their doctrines from related ones called “logical empiricism” that emerged from the Berlin Society (...) for Scientific Philosophy around Hans Reichenbach which included Walter Dubislav, Kurt Grelling, Kurt Lewin and a young Carl Gustav Hempel.1 The .. (shrink)
This paper concerns the issue of whether the so-called left wing of the Vienna Circle (Carnap, Neurath, Frank) can be understood as having provided the blueprint for a bipartite metatheory with a formal-logical part (the “logic of science”) supporting and being supported by a naturalistic-empirical part (the “behavioristics of science”). A claim to this effect was recently met by a counterclaim that there was indeed an attempt made to broaden Carnap’s formalist conception of philosophy by the pragmatist Morris, but that (...) this initiative failed and that Carnap showed no interest in it. To defend the original claim this paper provides an analysis of Carnap and Morris on the subject matter of pragmatics in order to show that and how Carnap adopted Morris’s proposals in so far as they agreed with bipartite metatheory conception. (shrink)
This conception of natural kinds might be dubbed a 'structural kinds' view. It is the conception of kinds offered by ExtOSR within a Humean framework. To invoke structural kinds also means to invoke structural laws. For laws generalize over ...
This article discusses an epistemological problem faced by causal explanations of action and a proposed solution. The problem is to justify why one particular reason rather than another is specified as causally efficacious. It is argued that the problem arises independently of one’s preferred conception of singular causal claims, psychological and psychophysical generalizations, and our folk-psychological competence. The proposed fallibilist solution involves the supplementation of the reason given by narratives that contextualize it and provide additional criteria for justifying the causal (...) claim. It is argued that narratives have a distinctive structure that can afford the justification of causal attributions without sui generis powers of narrative explanation having to be invoked. (shrink)
Abstract This paper outlines the proposal that narratives can back up the claim that explanations by reasons are causal explanations. While drawing for inspiration on discussions in the philosophy of history, the proposal is here discussed in the context of the classical debate about reasons and causes. The far-reaching agreement of Davidson's causalist theory with an anti-causalist argument is shown to give rise to an epistemological difficulty that is not fixed simply by attending to his understanding of singular causal claims. (...) Elements for the outlined narrativist solution in turn can be discerned in the writings of the anti-causalist opposition and were further developed in the work of a philosopher who turned from anti-causalist to causalist about reasons?albeit not to defend the Davidsonian theory. (shrink)
This paper considers the charge that—contrary to the current widespread assumption accompanying the near-universal neglect of his work—Wilhelm Jerusalem (1854–1923) cannot count as one of the founders of the sociology of (scientific) knowledge. In order to elucidate the matter, Jerusalem’s “sociology of cognition” is here reconstructed in the context of his own work in psychology and philosophy as well as in the context of the work of some predecessors and contemporaries. It is argued that while it shows clear discontinuities with (...) the present-day understanding of the sociology of (scientific) knowledge, Jerusalem’s sociology of cognition was not only distinctive in its own day but also anticipated in nuce a much-discussed theme in current history of science. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Arne Naess once called himself ?a kind of metaphysician?: did or did he not therewith turn his back on his philosophical mentors in the Vienna Circle? To try to determine the meaning of this self-ascription, this paper first considers in detail two works in which his disagreements with the philosophers of the Vienna Circle found their clearest and most detailed expression. Concentrating on Carnap it will be argued that while some of Naess's criticisms cannot be taken as authoritative, he (...) did indicate a clear dividing line between himself and Carnap. Turning then to Naess's valediction to philosophy of science from 1972, Naess's appreciation of the role of metaphysics for science will be discussed and compared with his appreciation for the role of metaphysics for personal and political life as expressed in his still later ecophilosophy. Once allowance is made for the different needs addressed by his writings for the deep ecology movement and a certain 1960s' rhetoric is discounted as no longer appropriate, it can be seen that Naess's theoretical philosophy exhibited a remarkable continuity throughout. (shrink)
This paper offers a refutation of J. C. Pinto de Oliveira's recent critique of revisionist Carnap scholarship as giving undue weight to two brief letters to Kuhn expressing his interest in the latter's work. First an argument is provided to show that Carnap and Kuhn are by no means divided by a radical mismatch of their conceptions of the rationality of science as supposedly evidenced by their stance towards the distinction of the contexts of discovery and justification. This is followed (...) by an argument to the effect that the fact that Carnap's own work concentrated on formal aspects of scientific theories does not licence the conclusion that he thought historical investigations and concerns irrelevant for what we nowadays would rightly call "philosophy of science". (shrink)
This paper seeks to evaluate the potential of the Newman objection to function as an immanent critique of Carnap's use of the Ramsey method of regimenting scientific theories. Stress is laid on the distinctive way in which ramseyfications are used by Carnap to formulate the analytic/synthetic distinction for the theoretical language and on the difference between the ontological and the epistemic readings of the Newman objection. While the former reading of the Newman objection is rejected as trading on an assumption (...) that Carnap did not share, the latter is accepted as critical. It is argued to turn on overlooking that the Ramsey sentence constitutes an idealization concerning which our normal expectations of what theories are like are bound to be frustrated. This idealisation need not reflect Carnap's considered view but can be regarded as adopted solely for the project of semantic explication. The distinctions drawn in the course of the argument also help to motivate Carnap's abstention from the discourse of realism and its denial. (shrink)
Linguistics and the Vienna Circle Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9445-9 Authors Thomas Uebel, Department of Philosophy, School of Social Science, University of Manchester, Arthur Lewis Building, Manchester, M13 9PL UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
This paper rejects as unfounded a recent criticism of research on the so-called left wing of the Vienna Circle and the claim that it sported a political philosophy of science. The demand for ‘specific, local periodized claims’ is turned against the critic. It is shown (i) that certain criticisms of Red Vienna’s leading party cannot be transferred to the members of the Circle involved in popular education, nor can criticism of Carnap’s Aufbau be transferred to Neurath’s unified science project; (ii) (...) that neither with regard to Carnap nor to Neurath does the criticism raise points that either engage with the thesis proposed or stand up to closer scrutiny; (iii) that the main thesis attacked is just what I had warned the claim that the Vienna Circle had a political philosophy of science should not be understood as. The question whether theirs is ‘political enough’ today can and should be discussed without distortion of the historical record. (shrink)
Considerable unclarity exists in the literature concerning the origin and authorship of Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung. Der Wiener Kreis, the Vienna Circle’s manifesto of 1929 and on the extent of and the reasons for the mixed reception it received in the Circle itself. This paper reconsiders these matters on the light of so far insufªciently consulted documents.
: Considerable unclarity exists in the literature concerning the origin and authorship of Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung. Der Wiener Kreis, the Vienna Circle's manifesto of 1929 and on the extent of and the reasons for the mixed reception it received in the Circle itself. This paper reconsiders these matters on the light of so far insufficiently consulted documents.
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)
Hans Hahn's long-neglected philosophy of mathematics is reconstructed here with an eye to his anticipation of the doctrine of logical pluralism. After establishing that Hahn pioneered a post-Tractarian conception of tautologies and attempted to overcome the traditional foundational dispute in mathematics, Hahn's and Carnap's work is briefly compared with Karl Menger's, and several significant agreements or differences between Hahn's and Carnap's work are specified and discussed.
Logical Empiricism is commonly regarded as uninterested in, if not hostile to sociological investigations of science. This paper reconstructs the views of Otto Neurath and Philipp Frank on the legitimacy and relevance of sociological investigations of theory choice. It is argued that while there obtains a surprising degree of convergence between their programmatic pronouncements and the Strong Programme, the two types of project nevertheless remain distinct. The key to this differences lies in the different assessment of a supposed dilemma facing (...) post-Mertonian sociologists of science. (shrink)