Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 6
  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: January 2008

1 - The Vienna Circle: Context, Profile, and Development

from Part I - The Historical Context of Logical Empiricism



The so-called Vienna Circle of logical empiricism first came to public attention in 1929 with the publication of a manifesto entitled Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung. Der Wiener Kreis (The Scientific World-Conception. The Vienna Circle). Published for the Ernst Mach Society, this influential philosophical manifesto - dedicated to Moritz Schlick, the titular leader of the Vienna Circle - was signed by Rudolf Carnap, Hans Hahn, and Otto Neurath, who may be regarded as its editors and, with Herbert Feigl, its authors (Mulder 1968). The name “Vienna Circle” was originally suggested by Otto Neurath, who wanted to evoke pleasant associations with the “Vienna woods” or the “Viennese waltz” by alluding to the local origin of this collective (Frank 1949, 38).

The plan for this publication was set in motion when Moritz Schlick, who had come to Vienna in 1922 to take up a professorial appointment previously held by Ernst Mach and Ludwig Boltzmann (and Adolf Stöhr) and had founded the Vienna Circle in 1924, received a lucrative offer from the University of Bonn at the beginning of 1929. The threatened departure of Schlick was to be prevented by a joint official declaration of solidarity by the members of the Vienna Circle, the Ernst Mach Society (of which he was the head from 1928 to 1934), and further sympathizers with the cause of scientific philosophy.