Synthese 119 (1-2):157-189 (1999)

This paper is an attempt to clarify why Ludwig Boltzmann from about 1895 to 1905 seemed to adopt a series of extreme epistemological positions, ranging from phenomenalism to pragmatism, while emphatically rejecting what he called ‘metaphysics’ (by which he meant all traditional philosophy). He concluded that all philosophical differences were merely linguistic and most were ultimately meaningless. But at about the time that young Ludwig Wittgenstein began absorbing these desperate ideas (1905), Boltzmann himself under the influence of Franz Brentano seemed to assume a type of representationalism about the external physical world, while in his own mind adopting it for pragmatic reasons. Why? Because “it worked”. He seems to have defended his non-representationalist Bildtheorie on similar grounds, but his suicide followed shortly (1906).
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1005299405864
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 56,988
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

When Realism Made a Difference: The Constitution of Matter and its Conceptual Enigmas in Late 19th Century Physics.Torsten Wilholt - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (1):1-16.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
62 ( #160,760 of 2,410,259 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #540,207 of 2,410,259 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes