Coming to America: Carnap, Reichenbach and the Great Intellectual Migration. Part I: Rudolf Carnap

Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 8 (11) (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In the years before the Second World War, Rudolf Carnap and Hans Reichenbach emigrated to the United States, escaping the quickly deteriorating political situation on the continent. Once in the U. S., the two significantly changed the American philosophical climate. This two-part paper reconstructs Carnap’s and Reichenbach’s surprisingly numerous interactions with American academics in the decades before their move in order to explain the impact of their arrival in the late 1930s. Building on archival material of several key players and institutions, I take some first steps toward answering the question why logical empiricism became so successful in the United States after the War. This first part reconstructs Carnap’s development between 1923, when he first visited New York, and 1936, when he was offered a position at the University of Chicago. I describe Carnap’s first substantive contacts with American philosophers as well as the events leading up to his decision to emigrate. In addition, I argue that some of Carnap’s work from the mid-1930s—in particular “Testability and Meaning”—can be better understood if we take into account his attempts to correct the American narrative about logical positivism and his increasingly desperate efforts to find a position in the United States.

Similar books and articles

Nagel’s Philosophical Development.Sander Verhaegh - 2021 - In Matthias Neuber & Adam Tamas Tuboly (eds.), Ernest Nagel: Philosophy of Science and the Fight for Clarity. Springer. pp. 43-65.
On Quine on Carnap on Ontology.Marc Alspector-Kelly - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 102 (1):93 - 122.
Hans Reichenbach's and C.I. Lewis's Kantian philosophies of science.Paul L. Franco - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 80:62-71.


Added to PP

423 (#43,400)

6 months
131 (#22,867)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Sander Verhaegh
Tilburg University

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references