Reflexive Epistemology: The Philosophical Legacy of Otto Neurath

Reflexive Epistemology: The Philosophical Legacy of Otto Neurath

Hardback Advances in Solid State Technology Language: English / Italian

By (author) Danilo Zolo

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  • Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers
  • Format: Hardback | 206 pages
  • Language: English / Italian
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 239mm x 18mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 1 March 1990
  • Publication City/Country: Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • ISBN 10: 0792303202
  • ISBN 13: 9780792303206
  • Edition statement: 1989 ed.
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations

Product description

Professor Danilo Zolo has written an account of Otto Neurath's epistemology which deserves careful reading by all who have studied the development of 20th century philosophy of science. Here we see the philosophical Neurath in his mature states of mind, the vigorous critic, the scientific Utopian, the pragmatic realist, the sociologist of physics and of language, the unifier and encyclopedist, always the empiricist and always the conscience of the Vienna Circle. Zolo has caught the message of Neurath's ship-at-sea in the reflexivity of language, and he has sensibly explicated the persisting threat posed by consistent conventionalism. And then Zolo beautifully articulates of the 'epistemological priority of sociology'. the provocative theme Was Neurath correct? Did he have his finger on the pulse of empiricism in the time of a genuine unity of the sciences? His friends and colleagues were unable to follow all the way with him, but Danilo Zolo has done so in this stimulating investigation of what he tellingly calls Otto Neurath's 'philosophical legacy' . R.S.COHEN ix ABBREVIATIONS 'Pseudo' = [Otto Neurath], 'Pseudorationalismus der Falsifikation', Erkenntnis,5 (1935), pp. 353--65. Foundations = [Otto Neurath], Foundations of the Social Sciences, in International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-51, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1944. ES = Otto Neurath, Empiricism and Sociology, ed. by M. Neurath and R.S. Cohen, Dordrecht and Boston: D. Reidel, 1973.

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Table of contents

1. The Problem of Assessment.- 1. Neurath and Quine: a puzzle of historiography.- 2. Neurath and Carnap: a misleading assimilation.- 3. Neurath and Popper: an epistemological and political polarity.- 2. Enlightenment, Neo-Marxism, Conventionalism: Towards a Critique of Cartesian Rationalism.- 1. Science as 'a means for life'.- 2. Scientific holism.- 3. A conventionalistic critique of Cartesian 'pseudorationalism'.- 3. Linguistic Reflexivity and 'Pseudorationalism'.- 1. Methodological decision and the reflexivity of scientific language.- 2. The 'physicalist' overturning of the Circle's orthodoxy.- 3. Language and reality: a metaphysical relationship.- 4. Reflexivity and the growth of science.- 5. The plurivocality and imprecision of scientific language.- 6. Methodological decision in the praxis of scientific communities.- 7. Empirical rationalism and 'pseudorationalism'.- 4. Neurath versus Popper.- 1. Popper's criticism of Neurath.- 2. Neurath's reply: Protokollsatze and Basissatze.- 3. Two forms of conventionalism in conflict.- 4. 'Laws of nature' and existential propositions: a criticism of the causalist and deductive model of scientific explanation.- 5. Experimenta crucis: against Popper's conception of science as an asymptotic path toward truth.- 5. The Unity of Science as a Historico-Sociological Goal: From the Primacy of Physics to the Epistemological Priority of Sociology.- 1. From 'unified science' to the encyclopedic 'orchestration' of scientific language.- 2. Popper's objections to the projects of Neurath and Carnap.- 3. Esprit systematique versus esprit de systeme: the encyclopedic paradigm.- 4. The epistemological priority of sociology: a criticism of the 'covering-laws-model' of explanation.- 6. Strengths and Weaknesses of an Empirical Sociology.- 1. Logical empiricism and the social sciences: Hempel's analysis.- 2. Neurath's criticism of German historicism and the philosophy of values: Mill versus Dilthey and Marx versus Weber.- 3. Marxism as empirical political sociology.- 4. Sociological 'pseudorationalism': the inadequacy of behaviourism and the 'overmathematisation' of sociology.- 5. Causal asymmetry and the ceteris paribus clause in sociology: the limitations of functionalism and Marxism.- 6. Problems and paradoxes in social prediction: the role of reflexivity.- 7. Neurath and Hempel.- 7. Evaluation, Prescription, and Political Decision.- 1. Towards a sociology of sociology.- 2. Social theory, ethics, and law: theoretical propositions and prescriptive propositions.- 3. Happiness, utilitarianism, and social engineering.- 4. Planning for freedom: Neurath's criticism of political Platonism and the dispute with Hayek.- Conclusion: Reflexive Epistemology and Social Complexity.- List of Otto Neurath's Cited Works.- Meta-Bibliographical Note.- Author Index.