What's right about Carnap, Neurath and the Left Vienna Circle thesis: A refutation

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This paper rejects as unfounded a recent criticism of research on the so-called left wing of the Vienna Circle and the claim that it sported a political philosophy of science. The demand for 'specific, local periodized claims' is turned against the critic. It is shown (i) that certain criticisms of Red Vienna's leading party cannot be transferred to the members of the Circle involved in popular education, nor can criticism of Carnap's Aufbau be transferred to Neurath's unified science project; (ii) that neither with regard to Carnap nor to Neurath does the criticism raise points that either engage with the thesis proposed or stand up to closer scrutiny; (iii) that the main thesis attacked is just what I had warned the claim that the Vienna Circle had a political philosophy of science should not be understood as. The question whether theirs is 'political enough' today can and should be discussed without distortion of the historical record. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages8
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Logical empiricism
  • Otto Neurath
  • Political philosophy of science
  • Rudolf Carnap
  • Vienna Circle


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