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(2017) Logical empiricism and pragmatism, Dordrecht, Springer.

American pragmatism, Central-European pragmatism and the first Vienna circle

Thomas Uebel

pp. 83-102

In this paper I wish to bring together two investigations undertaken elsewhere. These are, first, a study of the reception that American pragmatism found among members of the Vienna Circle prior to the process of internationalization of logical empiricism that had set in by the time of the 8th International Congress of Philosophy in Prague in September 1934; and, second, a study of some of the ideas and doctrines arrived at by some of the few Central European philosopher-scientists with whom American pragmatism had found an at least partially sympathetic reception prior to World War I. The result of the first study was that it was not until late in the 1920s—but still before 1934—that selected aspects of American pragmatism were explicitly endorsed by certain members even though some similarity in outlook already seems to have been discerned by them in the years before World War I. The result of the second study was that to the very limited extent that there was a positive reception of American pragmatism by German or Austrian philosophers and scientists before World War I it was one that sprang from the recognition on their part that pragmatism agreed with conclusions they had arrived at independently. The thesis I wish to present for consideration here is that the early sympathies for pragmatism on the part of some Vienna Circle members were based to a large extent on their appreciation of the work of these Central European philosopher-scientists rather than merely the then prominent key text of pragmatism. One question looms large and will be addressed in due course: what caused the members in question to delay their (partial) endorsement of pragmatism for so long? On this count too we will find the Central Europeans to be implicated.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-50730-9_5

Full citation:

Uebel, T. (2017)., American pragmatism, Central-European pragmatism and the first Vienna circle, in F. Stadler, N. Weidtmann & S. Pihlström (eds.), Logical empiricism and pragmatism, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 83-102.

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