A History of the "International Encyclopedia of Unified Science"

Dissertation, The University of Chicago (1995)
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Abstract

This dissertation examines the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, founded and edited by Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap, and Charles Morris in 1937. Topics treated include the ideal of unified science within the logical positivism of the Vienna Circle of philosophers, the birth of the Unity of Science Movement, the publication of the Encyclopedia by the University of Chicago Press, and the slow demise of the project during and after the 1940's. Neurath's, Carnap's, and Morris's conceptions of unified science and philosophy are examined individually and used to analyze aspects of their collaboration including disagreements over financial management, over topics and authors, and over the nature and role of semantics in philosophy and science. The dispute between Neurath and Carnap about Neurath's monograph "Foundations of the Social Sciences" is examined in detail. These disputes among the editors, and between the editors and some encyclopedists, are used to explain the failure of the Encyclopedia and, less directly, the demise of logical empiricism in the 1950's and 1960's. The ideals and goals driving the Encyclopedia are briefly compared with recent arguments for the disunity of science

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George Reisch
Northwestern University

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