Neurath and Bohr

I have Otto Neurath as the larger-than-life overly positive member of the logically positivist Vienna Circle – a great communicator on its behalf but probably unaware of its limitations. Someone who never understood Wittgenstein’s objections.

The “International Encyclopedia of Unified Science”
(here Vol 1 Part 1 Entries 1 to 5 of the unfinished project) came to my notice when @iramey posted the inside cover to Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. That indicated that Kuhn’s work was part of that project where Neurath was editor in chief along with an impressive board of editors and advisors.

The first entry in the encyclopaedia itself is Neurath’s introduction:

A project to document the “unity of the empiricalization and logicalization synthesis” that has happened- a continuation of the logical positivist “Vienna Circle” project to make all of philosophy “scientific” aka logical empiricism or empirical rationalism.

Although he acknowledges not only that “other thinkers may call it rationalistic fantasy” but also that even those that consider themselves part of the unification project might find a very small overlap of agreement in what that actually means.

The second contribution, by Nils Bohr, is one page in its entirety:

“[We are reminded of] not only the unity of all sciences aiming at a description of the external world but, above all, of the inseperability of epistemological and psychological analysis … It is to be hoped that the forthcoming Encyclopedia will have a deep influence on the whole attitude of our generation which, in spite of the increasing specialization in science and technology, has the growing feeling of the mutual dependency of all human activities”

Not sure Bohr’s hopes aligned with Neurath’s expectations?

Aside –  very strong “Chicago Uni” emphasis too, which might also explain the Pirsig connection. Fascinating.

And, aside – this must have been happening in parallel with the much more enlightened “Macy” initiatives which are behind Psybertron’s “cybernetics” angle.

And, another aside – Comment from Mark reminds me I never read Kuhn first hand. Kuhn, Kondratiev and Schumpeter were key sources for Freeman and Perez “Techno-Economic Paradigms” – one of my Masters sources way back. Kept up with Carlota Perez and Kontratiev cycles generally in cultural (ie “memetic”) evolution ever since, where paradigm is analogous to species. (PS for consistency, I’m continuing to spell “Kondratiev” even though the world, including Paul (Bognadov) Mason, seems to have switched to Kondratieff.)

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