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. 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)
This latest volume in the eminent Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science series examines the main features of the intellectual milieu from which logical empiricism sprang, providing the first critical exploration of this context by ...
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)
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)
"An essential overview of an important intellectual movement, Logical Empiricism in North America offers the first significant, sustained, and multidisciplinary attempt to understand the intellectual, cultural, and political dimensions of ...
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.
In lieu of a programmatic argument about the general relations of history of science and philosophy of science, this essay offers a particular topic in the history of philosophy of science that should be of interest to both historians and philosophers of science. It argues that questions typical of contemporary history of science could illuminate the recent history of philosophy of science and analytic philosophy. It also suggests that the history of scientific philosophy is a particularly fruitful arena for historians (...) of science interested in issues of marginal science. (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)
Hans Reichenbach was a formidable figure in early-twentieth-century philosophy of science. Educated in Germany, he was influential in establishing the so-called Berlin Circle, a companion group to the Vienna Circle founded by his colleague Rudolph Carnap. The movement they founded—usually known as "logical positivism," although it is more precisely known as "scientific philosophy" or "logical empiricism"—was a form of epistemology that privileged scientific over metaphysical truths. Reichenbach, like other young philosophers of the exact sciences of his generation, was deeply impressed (...) by the far-reaching changes in physics brought about by Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Reichenbach responded to scientific advances by doing fundamental work in space-time theories, in quantum mechanics, in statistical mechanics, and in the development of probability theory—making him the most important philosopher of physics in the first generation of logical empiricism. Forced from his academic position by the Nazi race laws in 1933, Reichenbach wrote _Experience and Prediction_ at the University of Istanbul, where had had fled, expressly to introduce logical positivism to English speakers. In the two decades following World War II, during the explosion of scientific advances in North America, logical positivism was the reigning theory of the philosophy of science and Reichenbach was at the peak of his career. But, inevitably, support for logical positivism began to wane as it became obvious that the justification of scientific theories could not be entirely resolved by relying on strictly formal, technical processes. The growth of the discipline of the history of philosophy of science, which has created an audience of scholars eager for seminal classics in scientific philosophy, and the evidence supporting a historicist paradigm within logical positivism are two important reasons to make _Experience and Prediction_ available once again. "Hans Reichenbach's_ Experience and Prediction_ is one of the most important books in twentieth-century philosophy of science. Its author was, along with Rudolf Carnap, one of the two principal ambassadors to North America of the exciting new European philosophical movement known here under the names 'Logical Positivism' and 'Scientific Philosophy.' In 1938, when the book was published, Reichenbach was an exile from his native Germany, teaching in Istanbul, Turkey, and about to emigrate to the United States to take up a prestigious position at UCLA. He wrote_ Experience and Prediction_ in English as his calling card to his new American colleagues. More than any other single book,_ Experience and Prediction_ set the agenda for the new discipline of the philosophy of science that was to emerge after World War II as, perhaps, the most exciting new area in North American philosophy. Many of the problems still at the focus of discussion were given their classic formulations in this book. Long out of print,_ Experience and Prediction_ appears here in a new edition accompanied by a splendid historical introduction by the noted young philosopher and historian of the philosophy of science, Alan Richardson. A jewel of a book may once again be appreciated in its proper setting." —Don A. Howard, University of Notre Dame. (shrink)
This essay examines the perspective from which Bas van Fraassen, in his book, The Empirical Stance, explains the project of empiricism. I argue that this perspective is a robustly transcendental perspective, which suggests that the tradition of empiricism lacks the resources to explain itself. I offer an alternative history of epistemic voluntarism in twentieth-century philosophy to the history van Fraassen himself provides, one that finds the novelty in van Fraassen's own views to be precisely his reintroduction of the knowing mind (...) into the tradition of analytic philosophy of science. (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)
On an ordinary view of the relation of philosophy of science to science, science serves only as a topic for philosophical reflection, reflection that proceeds by its own methods and according to its own standards. This ordinary view suggests a way of writing a global history of philosophy of science that finds substantially the same philosophical projects being pursued across widely divergent scientific eras. While not denying that this view is of some use regarding certain themes of and particular time (...) periods, this essay argues that much of the epistemology and philosophy of science in the early twentieth century in a variety of projects looked to the then current context of the exact sciences, especially geometry and physics, not merely for its topics but also for its conceptual resources and technical tools. This suggests a more variable project of philosophy of science, a deeper connection between early twentieth-century philosophy of science and its contemporary science, and a more interesting and richer history of philosophy of science than is ordinarily offered.Author Keywords: Rudolf Carnap; C. I. Lewis; Oskar Becker; History of philosophy of science. (shrink)
The increasing use of transnational standard-setting bodies to address quality uncertainties and coordination issues across the global economy raises questions about how these bodies establish and maintain their legitimacy and accountability outside the sovereignty of democratic states. Based on a discussion of the legitimacy challenge posed by global governance, we provide an overview of mechanisms by which such bodies can defend their legitimacy claims and examine the actual mechanisms used by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). While the IASB staked (...) its initial credibility on technical competence and independence, it has increasingly emphasized due process norms in its claim for support. Our analysis evaluates the IASB due process against the cultural benchmarks established by domestic standard-setters in the USA and UK and against a normative model of procedural legitimacy. These comparisons help us to understand the modifications that were made in the hope of due process adding legitimacy to accounting standard-setting beyond the state. They also reveal the broader political context of competing legitimacy criteria that confronts transnational standard-setters. (shrink)
Due process is the means by which ethical constraints are placed on administrative decision-making. I have developed a model of variation in due process and use this model to explore the implementation of “due process” norms by three standard-setting bodies that are created, funded, and overseen by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants – the Accounting Standards Board, the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, and the Public Sector Accounting Standards Board. I conducted two analyses: a comparative analysis of the implementation (...) of due process norms based on differences among the three cases; and, a critique of the due process norms followed by these boards based on their internal logic and a set of best practices identified in other contexts for due process by standard setters. I have presented evidence that due process norms are more fully developed, where standards are enforced by the state and the heterogeneity of users is greatest. (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)