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37. Logical Positivism


Subject Logic and Language » Logic

Key-Topics positivism, science

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631230205.2001.00040.x


Logical positivism and the Vienna Circle are almost synonymous. The Vienna Circle grew in strength throughout the 1920s, attracting philosophers such as Rudolf Carnap, Friedrich Waismann, and Otto Neurath and mathematicians and scientists such as Kurt Gödel and Hans Hahn. It started as an intellectual club (initially known as the Ernst Mach Society), with Moritz Schlick, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Vienna, as its leading light. As the club debated and discussed problems in science, logic, and philosophy, a definite consensus emerged. The members of the Vienna Circle were bound, initially at least, by commitments, to: •  the development of the positivistic heritage of David Hume and Ernst Mach, whose disdain for metaphysics and whose focus upon empirical investigation were echoed by the Circle again and again; •  the promotion of scientific inquiry as the model for all intellectual investigations; •  the conviction that physics was not simply a model for other sciences - but that all sciences, including psychological and social sciences, might one day be unified and reduced to common, fundamental physical terms; •  the systematic use of logical analysis to reduce complex statements to elementary propositions, so that the “high-level” scientific statements of a given theory might be unpacked into “low-level” (and directly verifiable) claims about observation and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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