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Philosophy General

Rudolf Carnap: Early Writings

The Collected Works of Rudolf Carnap, Volume 1

edited by A.W. Carus, Michael Friedman, Wolfgang Kienzler, Alan Richardson & Sven Schlotter

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2019
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2019
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Rudolf Carnap (1891-1970) is generally acknowledged to have been one of the central figures of twentieth-century philosophy. He was the leading philosopher of the Vienna Circle, a group that was central to the international movement known as logical empiricism, which pursued the goal of making philosophy scientific and eliminating metaphysics that went beyond the limits of what humans can coherently comprehend.

Carnap was not only well-versed in this area of thought but also contrary ideas; he interacted philosophically with Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Edmund Husserl, and Martin Heidegger, and in his formative years he was influenced by the positivists Mach and Ostwald, neo-Kantians such as Cassirer and Natorp, and Husserl's phenomenology. Interest in logical empiricism waned in the decades following Carnap's death but was revived towards the end of the twentieth century; the wave of new scholarship that resulted identified Carnap as far more subtle and interesting than was previously understood.

The complete fourteen-volume edition of Carnap's published writings builds upon these more recent interpretations of his philosophy. This first book contains Carnap's early publications up until 1928, none of which have previously been translated from their original German. The introduction and notes place the text in the relevant scientific and historical contexts, in addition to explaining obscure references or outdated notation and terminology. Carnap's neo-Kantian origins are more obvious in these works than in his later writings, and the overall figure which emerges from this volume is a very different Carnap to the caricature that many philosophers will know.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

A.W. Carus received a PhD in history from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago. He is Visiting Research Fellow at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munich. Carus has written many papers on Carnap, Godel, logical empiricism, and philosophy of social science.

Michael Friedman is currently Suppes Professor of Philosophy of Science at Stanford University, having previously worked at Princeton, Indiana, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He obtained his PhD in philosophy at University of Pittsburgh. Friedman is best known for his books and papers about Kant's philosophy of science, Carnap and logical empiricism, and general relativity.

Wolfgang Kienzler studied for his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Konstanz. He is now a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Jena. His research spans early analytical philosophy, the history of logic, and philosophy of language, and he has written numerous articles on Husserl, Kant, Carnap, and Wittgenstein.

Alan Richardson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia. He undertook his PhD at University of Illinois at Chicago. Richardson's main interests are in the history of the philosophy of science and he has written many papers on Carnap and logical empiricism in their broader contexts. He is currently working on a book about the lasting effects of logical empiricism and other "scientific philosophy" on the research organization of philosophy today.

Sven Schlotter gained a PhD in philosophy from the University of Jena. He has written many papers on the local and historical context of Frege and neo-Kantianism, and he is currently working on a book about Frege's local and intellectual context. Schlotter is interested in the history of analytical philosophy, as well as the local history of Jena.

Rudolf Carnap (1891-1970) taught at Vienna, Prague, Chicago, and UCLA during his long and distinguished career. A German-born philosopher best known for his association with the Vienna Circle of the 1920s and 30s, he was the author of influential works such as The Logical Construction of the World (1928), Logical Syntax of Language (1934), Meaning and Necessity (1947), and The Logical Foundations of Probability (1950).