Austrian Philosophy. The Legacy of Franz Brentano [Book Review]

Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 3:303-304 (1995)
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Barry Smith has written a book about an important topic in philosophy and its recent history, concerning the legacy of Franz Brentano. “The Legacy of Franz Brentano” is also its subtitle, a subtitle much more revealing of its contents than its title: Austrian Philosophy. That title makes one expect either a general picture of philosophy in Austria, past and/or present, or an account of what Rudolf Haller has called Austrian Philosophy, a term that refers to its golden age, to a tradition whose main characteristics are, according to Haller, empiricism, proximity to science, and a concern with language. Smith includes these properties in his characterization of the legacy of Brentano, and adds quite appropriately for that legacy “a concern with ontological structure” and “an overriding interest in the relation of macro-phenomena ... to ... micro-phenomena which underlie or are associated with them”. Smith is quite aware that this addition does not hold for the tradition of Austrian philosophy, since he opposes it to a German tradition, and delineates the former “by means of a list beginning with Bolzano, Mach and Meinong, and ending with Wittgenstein, Neurath, and Popper”



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