Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
No Cover Image

Logical Empiricism in North America

Volume: 18
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 328
  • Book Info
    Logical Empiricism in North America
    Book Description:

    This latest volume in the longest-standing and most influential series in the field of the philosophy of science expands on the discipline’s recent turn. These essays take up the historical, sociological, and philosophical questions surrounding the movement of logical empiricism. Contributors: Richard Creath, Michael Friedman, Rudolf Haller, Don Howard, Diederick Raven, George Reisch. Thomas Ricketts, Friedrich K. Stadler, Thomas E. Uebel.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9525-6
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction: Logical Empiricism in North America
    (pp. vii-xxx)
    Alan W. Richardson and Gary L. Hardcastle

    Since the 1980s, the philosophy of science has taken a historical turn. We do not refer to the attention philosophers of science have paid to rich historical accounts of scientific episodes, a turn often taken to have been motivated by Thomas Kuhn’sStructure of Scientific Revolutions([1962] 1996) and to have importantly transformed philosophy of science. We refer, rather, to a more recent but equally significant development, in which philosophers of science have begun to recover the problems, solutions, and motivations of earlier projects in thephilosophy of science, paying attention especially to how the historical figures engaged in these...

  4. 1 Logical Empiricism, American Pragmatism, and the Fate of Scientific Philosophy in North America
    (pp. 1-24)
    Alan W. Richardson

    The history of logical empiricism in America appears to be quite out of the ordinary. An understanding has grown up around that history. It goes something like this:¹ A small group of exiled, technically minded philosophers somehow was able radically to change the philosophical scene in America within a single generation. Logical empiricism became the dominant philosophical project in the United States within ten years or so of the first arrival of self-described logical empiricists in roughly 1930. The issues and methods of logical empiricism set the agenda of analytic philosophy until roughly 1960, when the first serious rivals began...

  5. 2 Two Left Turns Make a Right: On the Curious Political Career of North American Philosophy of Science at Midcentury
    (pp. 25-93)
    Don Howard

    When the philosophy of science as we know it today was first established, chiefly in German-speaking Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, many, if not most of its founders were motivated in large part by explicit social and political concerns, the dominant political orientation of those founders lying along a rather narrow spectrum of opinion, somewhere between Enlightenment liberalism and Marxist socialism. The companion movement in North America, at the center of which was the image of science crafted by John Dewey, was characterized by a liberal, social democratic political orientation that tended in a direction similar to that of...

  6. 3 Hempel and the Vienna Circle
    (pp. 94-114)
    Michael Friedman

    I first met Carl Hempel when I was an undergraduate at Queens College in New York. Hempel had taught there in the years 1940–48, as his first regular position at an American university, and he had now returned (I believe it was in the academic year 1967–68) for a period of two weeks as a Distinguished Visitor. I had just become seriously interested in philosophy of science, and I vividly remember the sense of profound excitement I felt while attending the variety of talks, seminars, and discussions Hempel held during this visit. His clarity and acuity of mind,...

  7. 4 On Herbert Feigl
    (pp. 115-128)
    Rudolf Haller

    In a retrospective on the philosophical movements of the last century, we cannot fail to notice in the early twenties the increasing importance in Vienna of logical empiricism, or “logical positivism,”¹ which rose to one of the leading movements of philosophy of the twentieth century. With the concentration of outstanding philosophers, logicians, mathematicians, and scientists forming this to some extent revolutionary philosophical movement, which consequently was given the name “Wiener Kreis” (Vienna Circle), Vienna, the former capital of an empire, in the meantime reduced to a very minor city, thereby regained the relative splendor of a fresh impetus, at least...

  8. 5 Edgar Zilsel in America
    (pp. 129-148)
    Diederick Raven

    The leading figures of the Vienna Circle were in general very successful in building new academic careers and exerting tremendous intellectual influence in their newfound homeland, America. The one exception was Edgar Zilsel (1891–1944). His tragic, self-chosen death on March 11, 1944, the sixth anniversary of the AustrianAnschluss, makes his emigration story exceptional. Michael Stöltzner has remarked that when “[c]omparing Zilsel’s fate with the success of the other members of the Vienna Circle an explanation is wanted” (1995, 335). I do not think that given the huge gaps that still exist in our knowledge about Zilsel’s life and...

  9. 6 Philipp Frank’s History of the Vienna Circle: A Programmatic Retrospective
    (pp. 149-169)
    Thomas E. Uebel

    It is no secret anymore that despite much effort to retain a common public front against “school philosophy,” the Vienna Circle was riven by internal divisions. The best known is that between the Moritz Schlick–Friedrich Waismann wing of Wittgensteinian fellowship and the so-called left wing of the Circle, with Rudolf Carnap, Philipp Frank, Hans Hahn, and Otto Neurath, especially the rift between Schlick and Neurath; a more subtle one is the division within the left wing between Carnap as a rational reconstructionist and Neurath as a naturalist.¹ The question arises as to whether these or similar divisions survived the...

  10. 7 Debabelizing Science: The Harvard Science of Science Discussion Group, 1940–41
    (pp. 170-196)
    Gary L. Hardcastle

    In the fall of 1940, Harvard University witnessed a remarkable confluence of philosophically minded scientists and scientifically minded philosophers. A year before, on September 3–6, 1939, Harvard had hosted the Fifth International Congress for the Unity of Science, an event notable not only because it marked the gathering of an impressive array of scientists and philosophers¹ but because it took place against the backdrop of the German invasion of Poland, begun September 1, and the French and British declarations of war against Germany, which occurred on the conference’s opening day. The flight of intellectuals to the United States that...

  11. 8 Disunity in the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science
    (pp. 197-215)
    George Reisch

    The “disunity” in my title is the disunity among Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap, and Charles W. Morris, the editors of theInternational Encyclopedia of Unified Science. There are also stories to tell about disunity among theEncyclopedia’s monographs and among their authors and about disagreements between the editors and their publisher, the University of Chicago Press. But these stories are subordinate to the many intellectual and personal differences among the editors, for the latter explain why theEncyclopediafailed after only a few years of success. I will detail this explanation here and also defend my view that the failure...

  12. 9 Transfer and Transformation of Logical Empiricism: Quantitative and Qualitative Aspects
    (pp. 216-233)
    Friedrich K. Stadler

    There is a general consensus in twentieth-century historiography that modern philosophy of science (Wissenschaftstheorie) has, since World War II, been strongly influenced by the direct and indirect contributions of logical empiricism, including the Vienna Circle and the Berlin Group (Danneberg, Kamlah, and Schäfer 1994; Haller and Stadler 1993; Stadler 1997b). Less well explored, however, are the ways this transfer of knowledge from Europe to North America took place as a consequence of forced emigration. It is also not clear what impact this so-called sea change (Hughes 1975) has had. The way the reception of the internationally dominant philosophy of science,...

  13. 10 The Linguistic Doctrine and Conventionality: The Main Argument in “Carnap and Logical Truth”
    (pp. 234-256)
    Richard Creath

    “Carnap and Logical Truth” (1963, written in 1954) is a compendium of W. V. O. Quine’s arguments against Rudolf Carnap. Of the paper’s ten sections, the first six are devoted to one main argument, of some intricacy and enormous rhetorical force. That argument is against what Quine calls the linguistic doctrine of logical truth and against a form of conventionalism in logic. From this Quine concludes that “the very distinction between a priori and empirical begins to waver and dissolve” (397). Though some of this argument is derived almost verbatim from earlier work and some had earlier been suggested strongly,...

  14. 11 Languages and Calculi
    (pp. 257-280)
    Thomas Ricketts

    W. V. O. Quine prefaces “Carnap and Logical Truth” (1963; written in 1954) with a confession of sorts: “My dissent from Carnap’s philosophy of logical truth is hard to state and argue in Carnap’s terms. This circumstance perhaps counts in favor of Carnap’s position” (1963, 385).¹ Quine’s hesitancy is well placed. Here and in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” (1953d), Quine reviews explanations of analyticity in terms of convention, in terms of legislative postulation, and in terms of a linguistic doctrine of logical truth. Rudolf Carnap, in his reply to Quine, rejects these candidate explanations. He recognizes his own view in...

  15. Contributors
    (pp. 281-284)
  16. Index
    (pp. 285-293)