Points of convergence between logical empiricism and inductive metaphysics: Hans Reichenbach and Erich Becher in comparison

Synthese 199 (3-4):11075-11107 (2021)

Abstract

In this paper, I take a closer look at Hans Reichenbach’s relation to metaphysics and work out some interesting parallels between his account and that of the proponents of inductive metaphysics, a tradition that emerged in the mid- and late 19th century and the early 20th century in Germany. It is in particular Hans Reichenbach’s conception of the relation between the natural sciences and metaphysics, as displayed in his treatment of the question of the existence of the external world, that shows some very interesting similarities with inductive metaphysics. By a comparison with the position of the inductive metaphysician Erich Becher and his handling of the problem of realism, I work out the parallels between Reichenbach’s program and inductive metaphysics. I come to the conclusion that while there are certainly some respects in which Reichenbach’s logical empiricism is closer to the positions of the representatives of the Vienna Circle, it turns out that with regard to his views on metaphysics there is a greater affinity with the program of inductive metaphysics.

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