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)
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.
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)
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)
: 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.
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)
Neurath's proposal for the form of protocol statements explicates the multiple embedding of a singular sentence as specifying different conditions for the acceptance of such a sentence as a bona fide scientific datum. Before theories are accepted or rejected in the light of such evidence, however, a further condition must be met which Neurath did not formalize. The different conditions are discussed and shown to constitute a naturalistic theory of scientific data and a pragmatic theory of theory acceptance.
hilosophy of history and history of philosophy of science make for an interesting case of “mutual containment”: the former is an object of inquiry for the latter, and the latter is subject to the demands of the former. This article discusses a seminal turn in past philosophy of history with an eye to the practice of historians of philosophy of science. The narrative turn by Danto and Mink represents both a liberation for historians and a new challenge to the objectivity (...) of their findings. I will claim that good sense can be made of “working historical veins of possibility” (contrary to how the phrase was originally intended) and that already Danto and Mink provided materials (although they did not quite advertise them as such) to assuage fears of a constructivist free-for-all. (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)
Is logical empiricism incompatible with a critical social science? The longstanding assumption that it is incompatible has been prominent in recent debates about welfare economics. Sen’s development of a critical and descriptively rich welfare eco nomics is taken by writers such as Putnam, Walsh and Sen to involve the excising of the influence of logical empiricism on neo-classical economics. However, this view stands in contrast to the descriptively rich contributions to political economy of members of the left Vienna Circle, such (...) as Otto Neurath. This paper considers the compatibility of the meta-theoretical commitments of Neurath and others in the logical empiricist tradition with this first-order critical political economy. (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)
The tendency to attribute foundationalist ambitions to the Vienna Circle has long obscured our view of its attempted revolution in philosophy. The present paper makes the case for a consistently epistemologically anti-foundationalist interpretation of all three of the Circle's main protagonists: Schlick, Carnap, and Neurath. Corresponding to the intellectual fault lines within the Circle, two ways of going about the radical reorientation of the pursuit of philosophy will then be distinguished and the contemporary potential of Carnap's and Neurath's project explored.
“I urge that we turn Kuhn on his head and demonstrate that a paradigm is nothing more than an arrested social development.” Notwithstanding the long debate to which The Structure of Scientific Revolutions has given rise since its publication in 1962, this quote from Steve Fuller’s assessment of its author’s legacy suggests an original if controversial project: may a better understanding of science arise from the ashes of idealist historicism! Yet rather than furnish the Marx to Kuhn’s Hegel, Fuller but (...) manages a pastiche of Proudhon, as it were, which calls for another inversion of titles as rejoinder in turn. There can be no doubt that some very important issues are raised in this book, but just as this reader’s expectations were dashed in its course, so the issues end.up curiously diminished; given the significance of the subject matter, it is of interest to find out why. (shrink)
This article considers the development of Philipp Frank’s opposition to metaphysics in the light of the contention that there also was a long-standing pragmatic strand to the theorizing about science in the Vienna Circle. It is argued that the later Frank did not only distinguish metaphysical statements from those deemed simply cognitively meaningless by a substantive criterion but that in order to identify the latter he also sought to employ a practical rather than a formal criterion with which he and (...) Neurath had long been acquainted. (shrink)
Is there anything new that can be learnt about Carnap and his philosophy from recent findings about Carnap’s participation in the production of the Circle’s inofficial manifesto of 1929, Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung. Der Wiener Kreis ? “More than one might think”, is my answer. To be sure, what there is to be learnt is not something radically new, but that is still enough to make a difference in an ongoing dispute over whether Carnap’s philosophy was of a purely academic nature. What (...) there is to be learnt is enough to contradict the quite common picture of Carnap as quietist.1 Instead, Carnap emerges as an activist and his philosophy as part of his activism. Accordingly, the thesis to be defended here is that throughout his life, though perhaps most strongly so during his Vienna Circle period, Carnap intended his philosophy to make a difference to everyday life: it was to be political in the broadest sense. (shrink)
I examine the thesis that Otto Neurath anticipated the programme of naturalised epistemology already at the time of the Vienna Circle and consider the relation between Neurath's proposals and those of two contemporary theorists whose research programmes he would thus have broadly anticipated. The thesis is confirmed by reference to Neurath's own writings. The connection between Neurath's programme and the programmes of his two successors considered here, however, is found to be highly indirect in one case and nonexistent in the (...) other - despite their undeniable overlap. (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.
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 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 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; 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; 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.Keywords: Rudolf Carnap; Otto Neurath; Vienna Circle; Logical empiricism; Political philosophy of science. (shrink)
This paper discusses Moore’s chapter on Carnap in The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics. Even though different conceptions of metaphysics are defended by Moore and attacked by Carnap, common ground can be established on which to discuss Moore’s dismissal of Carnap. After correcting some infelicities in the characterization given of Carnap’s position, the paper sets out to show how Carnap can respond to Moore’s challenge and argues that Moore has failed to establish that Carnap’s philosophy is self-contradictory in conception or bound (...) to be fruitless in practice. (shrink)
An international team of four authors, led by distinguished philosopher of science, Nancy Cartwright, and leading scholar of the Vienna Circle, Thomas E. Uebel, have produced this lucid and elegant study of a much-neglected figure. The book, which depicts Neurath's science in the political, economic and intellectual milieu in which it was practised, is divided into three sections: Neurath's biographical background and the socio-political context of his economic ideas; the development of his theory of science; and his legacy as illustrated (...) by his contemporaneous involvement in academic and political debates. Coinciding with the renewal of interest in logical positivism, this is a timely publication which will redress a current imbalance in the history and philosophy of science, as well as making a major contribution to our understanding of the intellectual life of Austro-Germany in the inter-war years. (shrink)
Otto Neurath presents a very different picture from that of the standard logical positivist: not only with his mature theory of science, but also with his intellectual development. Given Neurath’s contribution to “the” philosophy of the Vienna Circle, the roots of logical empiricism must accordingly be located not only where they have long been recognized to lie, namely in the stunning advances of physical science and logic and mathematics in the late 19th and early 20th century, but also in the (...) comparatively less satisfying state of social science at the time. Neurath’s non-reductively naturalistic theory of science may be understood as much as a response to the state of early 20th century social science as, say, Carnap’s logically oriented rational reconstructionism may be understood as a response to the advances of the then new physics and new logic. (shrink)
This paper responds to the generous comments by Alexander Klein and Cheryl Misak on my “American Pragmatism and the Vienna Circle: The Early Years”. First, besides offering some clarification of my original thesis, I argue that Jerusalem was not liable to the anti-Spencerian criticisms by James that Klein adduces in the course of defending James against the charge of psychologism. Then I investigate the impact of Wittgenstein’s Ramsey-derived pragmatism, importantly foregrounded by Misak, on the Vienna Circle and argue that it (...) was mainly limited to Schlick but not recognized as pragmatist, also leaving unaffected the impact of James’s pragmatism on Frank, Hahn and Neurath specified in my original paper. That said, Klein’s and Misak’s comments add significantly to our understanding of long-neglected transatlantic philosophical connections in the early twentieth century. (shrink)
It is one of the distinctive claims of Neurath, though not of the Vienna Circle generally, that the Vienna Circle's philosophy was not really German philosophy at all. The relation is, if Neurath is to be trusted, anything but straight-forward. To understand it, not only must some effort be expended on specifying Neurath's claim, but also on delineating the different party-lines within the Vienna Circle.
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)