Carnap Brought Home: The View from Jena

Carnap Brought Home: The View from Jena

Carnap Brought Home: The View from Jena

Carnap Brought Home: The View from Jena

Synopsis

This is the first in an exciting new Open Court series recovering Vienna Circle thought and pursuing its relevance for today's philosophical issues. The series is Full Circle: Publications of the Archive of Scientific Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. This first book in the series looks at a number of Carnapian themes including Carnap's early utopianism, his roots in neo-Kantianism, and his political activism.

Excerpt

Gottfried Gabriel

Carnap is generally studied in the English-speaking world under the heading of logical empiricism, and his influence in North America has been in the philosophy of language, of logic, of mathematics, and of science. His particular technical contributions to these fields have by now been internalized, digested, and either superseded or thrown out. Some decades ago it seemed that was the end of the story. Carnap seemed, like the other major figures of logical empiricism, to have been of only ephemeral importance. Quine's emphatic praise of him as a "towering figure" and "the dominant figure of philosophy from the 1930s onward" whose importance exceeded even that of Wittgenstein (Creath 1990, pp. 462–63), came to seem exaggerated. the whole idea of logical empiricism, like "modernism" more generally, came to seem dusty and dated.

But in the last fifteen years or so, this perception has begun to change. It has come to be realized that there was a good deal more to Carnap than his particular technical contributions to various specialized fields. There was also a vision that held all these parts together and motivated them, a vision whose importance transcends and outlasts the parts. Progress has been made in describing and fitting together various aspects of this vision, though the whole picture is not yet in view. This book is an attempt to consolidate and assess this progress, and to convey clearly and perspicuously the various aspects of Carnap's overall vision that have so far been recovered. For this purpose we had to assemble scholars from many different fields and even so there are aspects this volume does not cover. Still, it can genuinely be said to "bring Carnap home" to the degree this is now possible. the various chapters reveal, in other words, that Carnap is a much subtler and more sophisticated philosopher, on many more fronts, than was generally suspected even a few years ago. To have . . .

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