Lecture Announcement: George Reisch, Logical Empiricism and American Politics: 1930s versus 1950s

From: Norbert Preining (preining@logic.at)
Date: Wed Nov 07 2001 - 14:07:33 MET

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    George Reisch (Chicago)

    Logical Empiricism and American Politics: 1930s versus 1950s

    Institut für Mathematik der Universität Wien
    Boltzmanngasse 5, 1090 Wien

    3. Dezember 2001, 19:00 c.t.


    Contrary to the received wisdom holding that logical empiricism
    emigrated to America without the social and political engagements it
    maintained in Vienna and Berlin, this paper documents that during the
    last half of the 1930s logical empiricism was received and respected
    in America by leftist intellectuals as a socially powerful
    intellectual project. Emphasis is placed upon Otto Neurath's Unity of
    Science Movement, led by Neurath with Rudolf Carnap and Charles
    Morris, and their various relationships and alliances with the
    so-called New York Intellectuals, including Ernest Nagel, Sidney Hook,
    Horace Kallen and others. On the basis of this revision, the rise and
    dominance of logical empiricism as a technical and non-political
    project in the 1950s should be understood not as an effect of
    emigration but rather as a response to the relatively right-wing
    intellectual climate of cold war America. Evidence is provided that
    Neurath, Carnap, and the Unity of Science Movement were perceived
    inside and outside the academy as socialist or "pink" and that leading
    philosophers of science in the early 1950s consciously developed
    philosophy of science as a technical, non-political profession that
    downplayed the socialist values and goals characteristic of pre-war
    logical empiricism.

    George Reisch is an independent scholar who received his Ph.D. in
    History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Chicago in
    1995. His research concerns the reception and growth of logical
    empiricism in America and he has published articles in Philosophy of
    Science, British Journal for the History of Science, and other
    journals. He has taught at Northwestern University, Illinois Institute
    of Technology and is currently writing a book about the Unity of
    Science Movement in America and its decline in the 1950s. He is
    supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

    Veranstalter: Institut Wiener Kreis, gemeinsam mit dem Zentrum für
    Überfakultäre Forschung der Universität Wien

    zum Vortrag

    Philip Kitcher (Columbia University, New York)

    The Ends of the Sciences

    Institut für Mathematik der Universität Wien
    Boltzmanngasse 5, 1090 Wien (Eingang Strudlhofgasse 4)

    10. Dezember 2001, 19:00 c.t.


    Since the heyday of the Vienna Circle, many philosophers of science
    have denied that the practice of the sciences is free from moral,
    social or political values. In recent decades, historians and
    sociologists of science have painted a very different picture, one in
    which the development of the sciences is pervaded by judgments of
    value and in which objectivity is an illusion. I claim that both these
    pictures are inadequate. I'll try to explain the ways in which value
    judgments enter into the practice of the sciences and why they allow
    for a notion of scientific objectivity.

    Philip Kitcher was born in London in 1947, and spent his early life in
    Eastbourne, Sussex, on the South Coast of England. From 1958 to 1966,
    he attended Christ's Hospital, and then went to Christ's College
    Cambridge to study mathematics. After leaving Cambridge, he went to
    Princeton University, where he obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy/history
    and philosophy of science. Since then, he has taught at Vassar
    College, the University of Vermont, the University of Minnesota, the
    University of California at San Diego, and, most recently at
    Columbia. His principal interests have been in the philosophy of
    science. After working on the philosophy of mathematics early in his
    career, he began to write on issues in the philosophy of biology and
    in general philosophy of science. He is currently interested in the
    ethical and political constraints on scientific research, the
    evolution of altruism and morality, and the apparent conflict between
    science and religion. He continues, however, to write on some of the
    topics treated in his earlier publications.
    Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism. MIT Press, 1982; The
    Nature of Mathematical Knowledge. Oxford University Press, 1983;
    Vaulting Ambition: Sociobiology and the Quest for Human Nature. MIT
    Press, 1985; The Advancement of Science, Oxford University Press,
    The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human
    Possibilities. Simon.and Schuster 1996; Science, Truth and
    Democracy. Oxford University Press, forthcoming November 2001; In
    Mendel's Mirror: Philosophical reflections on Biology, forthcoming
    Fall 2002.

    Veranstalter: Institut Wiener Kreis, gemeinsam mit dem Zentrum für
    Überfakultäre Forschung der Universität Wien

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