This volume is dedicated to the life and work of Ernest Nagel counted among the influential twentieth-century philosophers of science. Forgotten by the history of philosophy of science community in recent years, this volume introduces Nagel’s philosophy to a new generation of readers and highlights the merits and originality of his works. Best known in the history of philosophy as a major American representative of logical empiricism with some pragmatist and naturalist leanings, Nagel’s interests and activities went beyond these limits. (...) His career was marked with a strong and determined intention of harmonizing the European scientific worldview of logical empiricism and American naturalism/pragmatism. His most famous and systematic treatise on, The Structure of Science, appeared just one year before Thomas Kuhn’s even more renowned, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. As a reflection of Nagel’s interdisciplinary work, the contributing authors’ articles are connected both historically and systematically. The volume will appeal to students mainly at the graduate level and academic scholars. Since the volume treats historical, philosophical, physical, social and general scientific questions, it will be of interest to historians and philosophers of science, epistemologists, social scientists, and anyone interested in the history of analytic philosophy and twentieth-century intellectual history. (shrink)
The textbook-like history of analytic philosophy is a history of myths, re-ceived views and dogmas. Though mainly the last few years have witnessed a huge amount of historical work that aimed to reconsider our narratives of the history of ana-lytic philosophy there is still a lot to do. The present study is meant to present such a micro story which is still quite untouched by historians. According to the received view Kripke has defeated all the arguments of Quine against quantified (...) modal logic and thus it became a respectful tool for philosophers. If we accept the historical interpreta-tion of the network between Quine, Kripke and modal logic, which is to be presented here, we have to conclude that Quine’s real philosophical animadversions against the modalities are still on the table: though Kripke has provided some important (formal-logical) answers, Quine’s animadversions are still viable and worthy of further consideration. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to provide context for and historical exegesis of Carnap’s alleged move from syntax to semantics. The Orthodox Received View states that there was a radical break, while the Unorthodox Received View holds that Carnap’s syntactical period already had many significant semantical elements. I will argue that both of them are partly right, both of them contain a kernel of truth: it is true that Carnap’s semantical period started after his Logical Syntax of Language — (...) in one sense of semantics. But it is also true that Carnap had already included semantical ideas in LSL: though not in the sense that URV maintains. This latter sense of semantics is related to what is usually called inferentialism, and by getting a clearer picture of Carnap’s original aims, context, and concept-usage, we might be in a better position to approach his alleged inferentialism. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to consider the narrative that Philipp Frank’s decline in the United States started in the 1940s and 1950s. Though this account captures a kernel of truth, it is not the whole story. After taking a closer look at Frank’s published writings and at his proposed book, one can see how he imagined the reunion of logical empiricism. His approach was centered on sociology and on the sociological aspects of science and knowledge. As I will (...) argue, Frank’s longstanding interest in the reunion of the sciences and the humanities can be detected in his sociology and philosophy of science as well as in his reading of Carnap’s critique of metaphysics. But Frank’s intention was never fully recognized, partly due to the atmosphere of American philosophy and sociology in the second half of the twentieth century. As a result, his conception of unified science and logical empiricism died with him. (shrink)
Our main goal in this paper is to present and scrutinize Reichenbach’s own naturalism in our contemporary context, with special attention to competing versions of the concept. By exploring the idea of Reichenbach’s naturalism, we will argue that he defended a liberating, therapeutic form of naturalism, meaning that he took scientific philosophy to be a possible cure for bad old habits and traditional ways of philosophy. For Reichenbach, naturalistic scientific philosophy was a well-established form of liberation. We do not intend (...) to suggest that Reichenbach acted as an inventor of naturalism; nonetheless, invoking the term and the idea of ‘naturalism’ is more than a simple rhetorical strategy for rehabilitating Reichenbach as a forerunner of this field. We think that his ideas can make a valuable contribution to contemporary debates, and that he presents an interesting case among the other scientifically oriented proponents of his time. After presenting a short reconstruction of the meaning of naturalism—or, more appropriately, naturalisms—in order to be able to correctly situate Reichenbach within his own as well as a systematic context, we discuss Reichenbach’s naturalism against the background of his scientific philosophy, his views on the relation of common-sense knowledge to science, and his efforts at popularization. To delve deeper into this topic, we present a case study to show how Reichenbach argued that in both scientific and philosophical discussions, it is necessary to move from the request and value of truth to probability. And, finally, we argue that the liberation of knowledge and nature was a socio-political program for Reichenbach, who talked about his own scientific philosophy as “a crusade.” By emphasizing this aspect of Reichenbach’s naturalism, we may be in a better position to situate him in the history of analytic philosophy in general, and in the yet-to-be-written narrative of the naturalistic movement in particular. (shrink)
Carnap’s Ideal of Explication and Naturalism is the second book on Rudolf Carnap’s philosophy edited by Pierre Wagner for Palgrave Macmillan’s series The History of Analytic Philosophy. The collection of essays is important for several reasons both for philosophers and historians of philosophy, but some parts of it will also be valuable to anyone interested in general scientific methodologies. I shall first survey the theme in order to locate the collection within the recent philosophical discussion then I will consider the (...) volume itself. (shrink)
Saul Kripke’s new book is the written version of his notorious John Locke Lectures from 1973, entitled Reference and Existence. The book contains the six lectures, the elaborate discussion and application of Kripke’s earlier conception – worked out in Naming and Necessity – to such problems as reference, existence, negative existential claims, ctional characters, semantical and speaker’s reference ‘in order to tie up some loose ends’.
The aim of the paper is to show that W. V. O. Quine's animadversions against modal logic did not get the same attention that is considered to be the case nowadays. The community of logicians focused solely on the technical aspects of C. I. Lewis’ systems and did not take Quine's arguments and remarks seriously—or at least seriously enough to respond. In order to assess Quine's place in the history, however, his relation to Carnap is considered since their notorious break (...) was about the status of extensionality and modal logic. Since much of the works about the history of analytic philosophy is centered on the relationship of Quine and Carnap, their break about modality deserves much more attention—it also sheds some light on why should anyone wonder about Quine's early arguments against modal logic. The paper ends with some further considerations regarding the early formation of modal logic and hitherto unconsidered problematic issues. (shrink)
In their major work, The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow expressed the opinion of presumably many working physicists, philosophers of physics and even educated laymen when they said, "philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge." Their examples of the fields that have been conquered by physicists include most of the perennial philosophical questions: "what is the (...) nature of the world", "how can we understand the world," "where did we come from," "how did the universe come into existence."Due to numerous disruptions that shocked the... (shrink)
Eino Kaila’s recently translated Human Knowledge: A Classic Statement of Logical Empiricism from 1939 is an important document both in the history of analytic philosophy and the history of logical empiricism in particular. Kaila discusses all the relevant topics that featured in the discussions of the Vienna Circle in the early 1930s and provides a neat summary with his own historical narrative and critical remarks.
This book studies how the relationship between philosophy, morality, politics, and science was conceived in the Vienna Circle and how this group of philosophers tried to position science as an antidote to totalitarianism and irrationalism. This leads to investigation of the still understudied views of the Vienna Circle on moral philosophy, meta-ethics, and the relationship between philosophy of science and politics. Including papers from an international group of scholars, The Socio-ethical Dimension of Knowledge: The Mission of Logical Empiricism addresses these (...) topics and makes them available to scholars in the field of history of philosophy of science. (shrink)
This book addresses the complex relationship between the values of liberal democracy and the values associated with scientific research. The chapters explore how these values mutually reinforce or conflict with one another, in both historical and contemporary contexts. -/- The contributors utilize various approaches to address this timely subject, including historical studies, philosophical analysis, and sociological case studies. The chapters cover a range of topics including academic freedom and autonomy, public control of science, the relationship between scientific pluralism and deliberative (...) democracy, lay-expert relations in a democracy, and the threat of populism and autocracy to scientific inquiry. Taken together the essays demonstrate how democratic values and the epistemic and non-epistemic values associated with science are interconnected. (shrink)
This volume has two primary aims: to trace the traditions and changes in methods, concepts, and ideas that brought forth the logical empiricists’ philosophy of physics and to present and analyze the logical empiricists’ various and occasionally contrary ideas about the physical sciences and their philosophical relevance. These original chapters discuss these developments in their original contexts and social and institutional environments, thus showing the various fruitful conceptions and philosophies behind the history of 20th-century philosophy of science. Logical Empiricism and (...) the Natural Sciences is divided into three thematic sections. Part I surveys the influences on logical empiricism’s philosophy of science and physics. It features chapters on Maxwell’s role in the worldview of logical empiricism, on Reichenbach’s account of objectivity, on the impact of Poincaré on Neurath’s early views on scientific method, Frank’s exchanges with Einstein about philosophy of physics, and on the forgotten role of Kurt Grelling. Part II focuses on specific physical theories, including Carnap’s and Reichenbach’s positions on Einstein’s theory of general relativity, Reichenbach’s critique of unified field theory, and the logical empiricists’ reactions to quantum mechanics. The third and final group of chapters widens the scope to philosophy of science and physics in general. It includes contributions on von Mises’ frequentism; Frank’s account of concept formation and confirmation; and the interrelations between Nagel’s, Feigl’s, and Hempel’s versions of logical empiricism. (shrink)
This edited collection provides the first comprehensive volume on A. J. Ayer’s 1936 masterpiece, Language, Truth and Logic. With eleven original chapters the volume reconsiders the historical and philosophical significance of Ayer’s work, examining its place in the history of analytic philosophy and its subsequent legacy. Making use of pioneering research in logical empiricism, the contributors explore a wide variety of topics, from ethics, values and religion, to truth, epistemology and philosophy of language. Among the questions discussed are: How did (...) Ayer preserve or distort the views and conceptions of logical empiricists? How are Ayer's arguments different from the ones he aimed at reconstructing? And which aspects of the book were responsible for its immense impact? The volume expertly places Language, Truth and Logic in the intellectual and socio-cultural history of twentieth-century philosophical thought, providing both introductory and contextual chapters, as well as specific explorations of a variety of topics covering the main themes of the book. Providing important insights of both historical and contemporary significance, this collection is an essential resource for scholars interested in the legacy of the Vienna Circle and its effect on ethics and philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Greg Frost-Arnold’s book is a highly elegant edition and commentary of Carnap’s notes, claiming just as much as he is warranted on the basis of the manuscript and other relevant texts, and formulating his scholarly assumptions very carefully. Along the way he tries to unify the three historiographical strategies: narrative, argumentative and micro-historical.