(1999) Alfred Tarski and the Vienna circle, Dordrecht, Springer.

Ronald Giere, Alan Richardson (eds.), origins of logical empiricism

Michael Heidelberger

pp. 307-311

Alan Richardson, one of the editors of the present volume, dryly remarks in a footnote to the introduction: "Logical empiricism remains alive in philosophical memory chiefly by the significance of its death." (13) I think that this pertinent paradox can be enlarged to generally characterise the relation of present-day philosophy of science to logical empiricism (or LE hereafter): the more philosophy of science has struggled in the past to distance itself from central tenets of the movement of LE, the more it had to realise how close and how indebted it remains to LE and how much "post-positivism" itself willy-nilly keeps its spirit alive. Thus, there is the growing feeling that the identity of today's philosophy of science is much more closely tied to LE, many manifestations to the contrary notwithstanding. The renewed interest in LE that has resulted from this insight must necessarily have lead to repercussions also on the appraisal of LE as a philosophical position. The once almost unanimous and rash condemnation of LE in the sixties and seventies is today followed by a prudent and broad-minded second look that tries to do fuller justice to the historical background and development. One can understand that for some of those who take the foregoing considerations seriously the news of LE's death seems to be a little premature.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-0689-6_24

Full citation:

Heidelberger, M. (1999). Review of Ronald Giere, Alan Richardson (eds.), origins of logical empiricism. , pp. 307-311.

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