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Planning science: Otto Neurath and the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science

  • George A. Reisch (a1)

Extract

In the spring of 1937, the University of Chicago Press mailed hundreds of subscription forms for its latest enterprise – a projected series of twenty short monographs by various philosophers and scientists. Together the monographs were to form the first section of the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science. Included in each mailing was an introductory prospectus which began:

Recent years have witnessed a striking growth of interest in the scientific enterprise as a whole and especially in the unity of science. The concern throughout the world for the logic of science, the history of science, and the sociology of science reveals a comprehensive international movement interested in considering science as a whole in terms of the scientific temper itself. A science of science is appearing. The extreme specialization within science demands as its corrective an interest in the scientific edifice in its entirety. This is especially necessary if science is to satisfy its inherent urge for the systematization of its results and methods and if science is to perform adequately its educational role in the modern world. Science is gradually rousing itself for the performance of its total task.

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I would like to thank Loren Butler, Jordi Cat, Hasok Chang, the IIT philosophy workshop, Robert Richards,Howard Stein, Thomas Uebel and two anonymous referees for suggesting ways to improve earlier drafts of this paper.

1 Morris, C., ‘Foundations of the Unity of Science’, prospectus, University of Chicago Library, Department of Special Collections, ‘University of Chicago Press Papers’, Box 347, Folder 2.

2 Morris, , op. cit. (1).

3 Popper, K., ‘Memories of Otto Neurath’, in O. Neurath, Empiricism and Sociology (ed. Neurath, M. and Cohen, R. S.; tr. Foulkes, P. and Neurath, M.), Boston, 1973, 52.

4 Neurath, O., ‘Experiences of socialization in Bavaria’ in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 1828.

5 Neurath was not a graphic artist. He articulated the grammar, syntax and goals of ISOTYPE and had others design appropriate figures. For more on ISOTYPE, see Neurath, O., Modern Man in the Making, New York, 1939; International Picture Language, Psyche Miniatures no. 83, London, 1936; chapter 7 in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 214–48; Müller, K., ‘Neurath's theory of pictorial-statistical representation’, in Rediscovering the Forgotten Vienna Circle (ed. Uebel, T.), Boston, 1991, 223–51.

6 Joergensen, J., ‘The development of logical empiricism’, International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, Chicago, 1950, ii (no. 9), 43.

7 Neurath's ‘rediscovery’ began in 1973 with the translation and publication of some of his essays in Neurath, , op. cit. (3). A collection of his complete methodological and philosophical writings was published in 1981, some of which soon appeared in English (Gesammelte Philosophische und Methodologische Schriften (ed. Haller, R. and Rutte, H.), 2 vols., Vienna, 1981; Philosophical Papers: 1913–1946 (tr. and ed. Cohen, R. S. and Neurath, M.), Boston, 1983 (herein after Philosophical Papers)). Austrian historians and philosophers have contributed most to the explication of Neurath's ideas. Some of these essays have been recently translated and collected by Thomas Uebel (op. cit. (5)). Uebel describes how Neurath's reputation as ‘the original – confused – neo-positivist caveman’ is being replaced with that of ‘a serious thinker, one whose belated recognition is bound to transform the picture of the past of analytical philosophy’ (5, 3; see also 10–14).

For an extended analysis of Neurath's epistemological views and their development, see Uebel, T., Overcoming Logical Positivism from Within, Atlanta, 1992.

There are no published studies on the Encyclopedia in particular. Zolo discusses it at some length in his study on Neurath and identifies its cooperative, democratic ideal (Zolo, D., Reflexive Epistemology: The Philosophical Legacy of Otto Neurath (tr. McKie, D.), Boston, 1989, especially ch. 5). Nemeth compares Neurath's unified science to his vision of a planned, non-monetary economy in kind but stops short of identifying the logos of economic planning with that of unified science and the Encyclopedia (Nemeth, E., ‘The unity of planned economy and the unity of science’, in Uebel, , op. cit. (5), 275–83). While some come close, none of these studies sufficiently emphasize and articulate the role planning plays in Neurath's conceptions. Friedrich Stadler, for instance, notes that Neurath

urged the application of the socialist idea of planning on all levels of theory and practice … all the way to the idea of planning for freedom in a humanist world society in which a democratic science was to function according to the form of non-capitalist and collective production processes [‘Otto Neurath – Moritz Schlick: on the philosophical and political antagonisms in the Vienna Circle’, in Uebel, , op. cit. (5), 159–68, on 165].

More abstractly, Uebel characterizes Neurath's project as one of ‘controllable rationality’ and ‘conceptual responsibility by collective management’ (op. cit. (5), 9, 10). To understand more concretely Neurath's vision of these ‘collective production processes’ and the mechanisms of this ‘collective management’ is, I suggest, to understand the Encyclopedia as the medium of planning in science. I developed this thesis following Marx Wartofsky's discussion of the intimate connection between Neurath's non-foundationalism and his vision of the unified scientist as ‘a servant of the political and social decision making process’. ‘What is at issue’, in Wartofsky's discussion of the Vienna Circle, ‘is the ways in which the “internal” ideational-philosophical content [of the Vienna Circle's scientific philosophy] bears upon the “external” social content and role of the movement’ (‘Positivism and politics: the Vienna Circle as a social movement’, in Schlick und Neurath – Ein Symposion (ed. Haller, R.), Amsterdam, 1982, 79101, on 100, 93). This relation, I suggest, is nearly identity: for Neurath, unified science was scientific planning much like the social and economic planning that would become de jure in the new enlightenment.

8 Neurath appears to have anticipated, for example, certain aspects of (1) the non-foundational, holistic view of theories popularized in the 1950s and 1960s by Quine and Kuhn; (2) a synthetic historical and philosophical approach to understanding theories and scientific change associated usually with Kuhn; and (3) a philosophical naturalism aligned with contemporary naturalistic and evolutionary epistemology. Uebel treats Neurath's anticipation of (3) in Uebel, T., ‘Neurath's programme for naturalistic epistemology’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (1991), 22, 623–46. See also note 29, where I list several important ways in which Neurath's views were unlike Kuhn's.

9 Neurath, O., ‘The scientific conception of the world: the Vienna Circle’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 299319. Here, Marie Neurath notes that Otto wrote this paper and later edited it with Carnap, and Hahn, Hans (p. 318).

10 Neurath, , ‘The scientific conception of the world’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 306.

11 Neurath, O., ‘Physicalism’ in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 52–7, on 53–4. Neurath's favourite illustration of this point is a forest fire. See ‘Sociology and physicalism’, in ibid., 58–90, on 59; ‘Individual sciences, unified science, pseudorationalism’, in ibid., 132–8, on 132–3.

12 Neurath, O., ‘Physicalism: the philosophy of the Vienna Circle’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 4851, on 49.

13 Neurath, , ‘Physicalism’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 54.

14 Carnap, R., The Logical Structure of the World (tr. George, R.), Berkeley, 1969.

15 Neurath, , ‘Physicalism’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 55; see also ‘Sociology and physicalism’, in ibid., op. cit. (7), 63–4, 72. These comments suggest the spirit – and not the letter – of Carnap's Aufbau since they depict the terms of all sciences as reducible to (in some unspecified sense) the language of physics instead of constructible out of (not the language of physics, but) ‘elementary experiences’, as Carnap called them. Although Carnap allowed that physicalist statements could be used as a basis in such constructions (op. cit. (14), §62), he came to agree with Neurath that the physicalist basis should be preferred. Carnap, R., ‘Intellectual autobiography’, in The Library of Living Philosophers vol. 11, The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap (ed. Schilpp, P. A.), LaSalle, Ill. 1963, 384, on 50–2.

16 Neurath, O., ‘Empirical sociology’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 319421, on 390.

17 Neurath, O., ‘Departmentalization of unified science’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 200–5, on 203–5; see also Neurath, , ‘The social sciences and unified science’, in ibid., 209–12, on 211.

18 Neurath, , ‘Departmentalization of unified science’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 204; see also Neurath, O., ‘Unified science as encyclopedic integration’, International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, Chicago, i (no. 1), 127, on 3. On the possibility of achieving local axiomatizations within the larger unified science, see Neurath, O., ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, 145–58, on 145, 148–9; Neurath, , ‘The new encyclopedia of scientific empiricism’, in ibid., 189–99, on 194.

19 Zolo, , op. cit. (7), 83; Hempel, C., ‘Logical positivism and the social sciences’, in The Legacy of Logical Positivism (ed. Achinstein, P. and Barker, S.), Baltimore, 1969, 163–94, on 172–3.

20 Between 1938 and 1970, the following monographs appeared. Volume I began with ‘Encyclopedia and unified science’ which combined articles and comments by Neurath, Niels Bohr, John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, Rudolf Carnap and Charles Morris. Subsequent monographs are: Morris, , ‘Foundations of the theory of signs’; Carnap, , ‘Foundations of logic and mathematics’; Bloomfield, Leonard, ‘Linguistic aspects of science’; Lenzen, Victor, ‘Procedures of empirical science’; Nagel, Ernest, ‘Principles of the theory of probability’; Frank, Philipp, ‘Foundations of physics’; Finlay-Freundlich, E., ‘Cosmology’; Mainx, Felix, ‘Foundations of biology’; and Brunswik, Egon, ‘The conceptual framework of psychology’.

Volume II consists of: Neurath, , ‘Foundations of the social sciences’; Kuhn, Thomas, ‘The structure of scientific revolutions’; Edel, Abraham, ‘Science and the structure of ethics’; Dewey, John, ‘Theory of valuation’; Woodger, Joseph H., ‘The technique of theory construction’; Tintner, Gerhard, ‘Methodology of mathematical economics and econometrics’; Hempel, Carl G., ‘Fundamentals of concept formation in empirical science’; de Santillana, Giorgio and Zilsel, Edgar, ‘The development of rationalism and empiricism’; Joergensen, Joergen, ‘The development of logical empiricism’; and Feigl, Herbert and Morris, Charles, ‘Bibliography and index’.

21 Neurath's relative, Waldemar Kaempffert, was a science editor for the New York Times and wrote several articles about the Encyclopedia: ‘Toward bridging the gaps between the sciences’, New York Times Book Review, 7 08 1937, 2; ‘Sciences to be unified through a common language’, New York Times, 14 02 1938. Announcements also can be found in various philosophical journals published during these years.

22 Morris, C., ‘On the history of the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science’, Synthese (1960), 12, 517–21, on 518, 519–20.

23 Neurath, O., ‘Individual sciences, unified science, pseudorationalism’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (7), 132–8, on 138; on the Encyclopédie, see Neurath, O., ‘Unified science and its encyclopedia’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 172–82, on 179; Neurath, , ‘Unified science as encyclopedic integration’, op. cit. (18), 7.

24 Neurath gives his most extended treatment of the encyclopedic works of Diderot, , Hegel, , Comte, , Letbniz, and Spencer, in ‘Unified science as encyclopedic integration’, op. cit. (18), 2, 78. He mentions also Comenius' Orbis pictus and internationalist Paul Otlet's La Cité mondiale, for example, in ‘An international encyclopedia of unified science’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 139–44, on 143.

25 Neurath, , ‘An international encyclopedia of unified science’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 139–44, on 139–40.

26 Neurath, , ‘Unified science and its encyclopedia’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 172–82, on 181.

27 Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 145–58, on 155; see also Neurath, , ‘Unified science and its encyclopedia’, in ibid., 175, 178; Neurath, , ‘The new encyclopedia of Scientific Empiricism’, in ibid., 191.

28 Neurath, , ‘Universal jargon and terminology’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 213–29, on 214; see also Neurath, , ‘Unified science and its encyclopedia’, in ibid., 180; Neurath, O., ‘Orchestration of the sciences by the encyclopedism of logical empiricism’, in ibid., 230–42, on 235.

29 Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 146. There is a tendency among Neurath scholars to inflate the degree to which Neurath seems to have anticipated now entrenched, Kuhnian ideas. Heiner Rutte, for example, implies the anticipation is nearly complete in ‘The philosopher Otto Neurath’, in Uebel, , op. cit. (5), 92 (see also Zolo, , op. cit. (7), 90, 92). Neurath, however, did not suggest what are (or at least were) perhaps the most controversial aspects of Kuhn's account of scientific revolutions: (1) Observations are theory-laden. The precise features of sensations and perceptions were not germane to Neurath's account of protocols, much less any gestalt-like or theory-influenced character they might possess (see Neurath, , ‘Protocol statements’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 91–9). (2) Theories as world-views – one meaning of ‘paradigms’ – are monolithic and incommensurable. Neurath's ‘encyclopedias’ share the holistic nature of Kuhn's paradigms whereby each is globally affected by local alterations. For Neurath, however, the relative ease of making such changes (to mitigate inter-theoretic inconsistencies, for instance) concerns the normative heart of his programme. Kuhn, on the other hand, feels that such innovation will often be impeded by epistemic and even perceptual obstacles. Unlike Kuhn's, Neurath's holism sees theoretical wholes as plastic and easily manipulable, as suggested by his proposals to construct unified science by first resolving the sciences into their smallest theoretical parts. (See Neurath, , ‘Departmentalization of unified science’, in ibid., 200–5; Neurath, , ‘The social sciences and unified science’, in ibid., 200–5.) On one occasion, at least, Neurath further denied that (3) there were separate historical encyclopedias that contradict or compete with each other in history (Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in ibid., 157). For an opposed statement, however, see Neurath, , ‘Individual sciences, unified science, pseudorationalism’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (7), 137–8.

30 Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 155; Neurath, , ‘Unified science and its encyclopedia’, in ibid., 175; Neurath, , ‘The new encyclopedia of scientific empiricism’, in ibid., 191, 194.

31 Neurath, , ‘The scientific conception of the world’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 304–5.

32 For an account of Neurath's, Carnap's, Morris' and other philosophers' relations with architectural modernism, see Galison, P., ‘Aufbau/Bauhaus: logical positivism and architectural modernism’, Critical Inquiry (1990), Summer.

33 For Esperanto inventor L. L. Zamenhofs beliefs to this effect, see Forster, P., The Esperanto Movement, New York, 1982, 96.

34 The International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation was staffed at one time or another by Einstein, Marie Curie, Henri Bergson and many other intellectuals and internationalists. From 1922 until the Second World War, the Committee concerned itself with issues such as universal languages, exchange scholar programmes, scientific property rights, and bibliography and abstract standardization in scientific publications. Proposals to initiate the standardization and unification of scientific terminology in meteorology, political theory, economics, archaeology and anatomy were also discussed. As did Neurath, the Committee sometimes referred to its work as ‘coordination’ of the sciences and shared his hopes for advancing science by refining scientific language. The Committee, furthermore, aimed to enlist intellectual cooperation in the League's campaign against war. By facilitating scientific communication and progress, and also by promoting science education, the Committee understood itself to be laying necessary foundations for world peace. See League of Nations, International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. Minutes. Geneva: League of Nations Publications, 19221930.

35 Neurath, , ‘Unified science and its encyclopedia’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 178.

36 Neurath, M., ‘Memories of Otto Neurath’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 6871.

37 Promotional flyer, University of Chicago Library, Department of Special Collections, ‘University of Chicago Press Papers’, Box 346, Folder 3. Similar perceptions of the Fifth International Congress, held at Harvard in 1940, can be found in Singer, M. and Kaplan, A., ‘Unifying science in a disunified world’, The Scientific Monthly (1941), 52, 7980.

38 Neurath, to McNeill, , 24 05 1943, University of Chicago Library, Department of Special Collections, ‘University of Chicago Press Papers’, Box 346, Folder 3.

39 Neurath, to McNeill, , 9 09 1943, op. cit. (38).

40 Neurath, to McNeill, , 24 05 1943, op. cit. (38).

41 Neurath, to Morris, , 7 01 1942. University of Chicago Library, Department of Special Collections, ‘Unity of Science Movement Papers’, Box 2, Folder 14.

42 Neurath, , ‘The scientific conception of the world’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 306. Neurath discusses the ‘metaphysical countercurrents’ in sociology stemming from Dilthey and others in Neurath, , ‘Empirical sociology’, ibid., 353–8.

43 Neurath, O., ‘Personal life and class struggle’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 249–98, on 306.

44 Neurath, , ‘Departmentalization of unified science’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 204.

45 The role Marxism plays in Neurath's agenda for unified science and Aufklärung has yet to receive comprehensive treatment. Here I shall point out only Neurath's beliefs that (1) the contents of a culture are in some way causally shaped by realities of economy and production (see, for instance, Neurath, , ‘Empirical sociology’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 324), or they are at least consistent with a society's ‘Lebenspraxis’ (see Neurath, , ‘Personal life and class struggle’, in ibid., 293; Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 157); and (2) the reality of class struggle informs public and intellectual debate (see Neurath, , ‘Personal life and class struggle’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3)). If these beliefs render Neurath a ‘marxist’, however, he denied for epistemic reasons – the same that underlie his conception of unified science (treated below) – that long-term theoretical predictions of society or economy could be successful (see, for instance, Neurath, ibid., 293; Neurath, O., ‘Foundations of the social sciences’, International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, Chicago, 1944, ii (no. 1), 151, 2830). In this way, Neurath's beliefs confound Karl Popper's characterization of him as a ‘historicist’ sociologist whose ‘aim is to make forecasts, preferably large-scale forecasts’ (Popper, K., The Poverty of Historicism, New York, 1957, 103 (no. 1), 39).

46 Neurath, , ‘Personal life and class struggle’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 292.

47 Neurath, , ‘Personal life and class struggle’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 294–5.

48 Neurath, O., ‘Utopia as a social engineer's construction’, in Neurath, , op. cit. (3), 150–5, on 150.

49 Neurath, to McNeill, , 9 09 1943, op. cit. (38). Here Neurath characterized both the Encyclopedia and his ISOTYPE projects as ‘work dealing with education’. The latter, he said, ‘deal[s] with wider circles of the public’ while the Encyclopedia ‘deal[s] with scientific analysis, but with education, too. We want to educate people.’

50 In an early essay on Descartes published in 1913, Neurath explains the prevalence of superstition, belief in prophecy, and ‘the striking lack of criticism with which … election speeches of parliamentarians are received’ as a symptom of non-scientific, ‘pseudo-rationalist’ thinking (Neurath, , ‘The lost wanderers of Descartes and the auxiliary motive (on the psychology of decision)’ in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 112, on 8). Eckehart Köhler describes how metaphysics, along with irrationalism, obscurantism and spiritualism ‘could not but appear to the Vienna Circle as the intellectual dumping ground of the Western mind’ (Köhler, E., ‘Metaphysics in the Vienna Circle’, in Uebel, , op. cit. (5), 131–42, on 138).

51 Neurath, O., ‘Unified science as encyclopedic integration’, International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, Chicago, (1938), i (no. 1), 127, on 1. As Marx Wartofsky put it, Neurath saw unified science as a ‘servant of the political and social decision making process’ (op. cit. (7), 100).

52 Russell, B., cited in Monk, R., Ludwig Wittgenstein; The Duty of Genius, New York, 1990, 39.

53 Carl Hempel objected that Neurath's account could not discriminate between science and ‘fairy-tale’ (Haller, R., ‘History and the system of science in Otto Neurath’, in Uebel, , op. cit. (5), 3340, on 37). Moritz Schlick felt much the same way (Schlick, M., ‘The foundations of knowledge’, in Logical Positivism (ed. Ayer, A. J.), New York, 1959, 209–27, on 215–16), and Edgar Zilsel felt that, according to Neurath, , ‘all symbolic edifices stay hanging in mid-air and no structure may be distinguished from totally arbitrary other structures as the structure of the experienced world’ (Haller, R., ‘The Neurath principle: its grounds and consequences’, in Uebel, , op. cit. (5), 117–29, on 127). Popper succinctly stated that ‘Neurath unwittingly throws empiricism overboard’ (Coffa, J. A., The Semantic Tradition from Kant to Carnap: To the Vienna Station (tr. and ed. Wessels, L.), New York, 1991, 365).

54 Neurath, , ‘Physicalism’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 53; see also Zolo, , op. cit. (7), 32–4.

55 Neurath, , ‘Physicalism’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 53; see also Neurath, O., ‘Physicalism and knowledge’, in ibid., 159–71, on 161. Note that ‘existing statements’ must be construed to mean something similar to ‘statements existing and accepted by practising scientists’.

56 Neurath, , ‘Lost wanderers of Descartes’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 3.

57 Neurath, , ‘Lost wanderers of Descartes’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 3.

58 The discussion occurs at the beginning of Part 3 of the Discourse.

59 Neurath, , ‘Lost wanderers of Descartes’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 3, 34.

60 Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 157.

61 For Neurath, this would be one example of how ‘we often still drag with us the traditional absolutistic terminology that allows reference to the “real world”, the “ideal totality of statements” and other similar things’, Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 147.

62 See, for example, Neurath, , ‘Departmentalization of unified science’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 204; Neurath, O., ‘The social sciences and unified science’, in ibid., 209–12, on 211; Neurath, O., ‘The unity of science as a task’, in ibid., 115–20, on 116.

63 Neurath's proposal that ‘we should regard the Social Sciences as a collection of a great many scientific units which can be combined in very different ways’ illustrates this mosaical image of the sciences. Neurath, , ‘The social sciences and unified science’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 209–12, on 211.

64 In general, ‘planning’ minimally involves applying the sciences to problems of society, economy and other institutions. The term gained currency in the West in the early decades of this century and figured in most alternatives to laissez-faire social and economic philosophies. Neurath most frequently refers to Joseph Popper-Lynkeus as an economic planner who understood the scientific nature of planning and who contributed to the rise of a scientific view of the world in Vienna (Neurath, , ‘The scientific conception of the world’ in Neurath, op. cit. (3), 303; see also Neurath, , ‘Utopia as a social engineer's construction’, in ibid., 151–2; Neurath, , ‘Personal life and class struggle’, in ibid., 262; Neurath, , ‘Empirical sociology’, in ibid., 339). Carnap saw ‘the development of an efficient organization of state and economy’ as a pressing need, and saw much of his own philosophical work as ‘language planning’ (see Carnap, , op. cit. (15), 84, on 6771; for a comparison of Carnapian language planning and Kuhnian revolutions in science, see Reisch, G., ‘Did Kuhn kill logical empiricism?’, Philosophy of Science (1991), 58, 264–77, on 270–4). Herbert Feigl, active in the Vienna Circle with Neurath and Carnap, similarly felt that ‘cooperative planning on the basis of the best and fullest knowledge available is the only path left to an awakened humanity that has embarked on the adventure of science and civilization’ (‘The scientific outlook: naturalism and humanism’, in Readings in the Philosophy of Science (ed. Feigl, H. and Brodbeck, M.), New York, 1953, 818, on 18).

65 Neurath, O., ‘The theory of war economy as a separate discipline’, in Neurath, op. cit. (3), 125–30, on 125. As Jordi Cat pointed out to me, Neurath appealed to this difference between considering all possible economic orders and actual orders in his essay of 1910, ‘Zur Theorie der Sozial Wissenschaften’ in Neurath, O., Gesammelte Philosophische und Methodologische Schriften, op. cit. (7), 2346, on 29.

66 Neurath, , ‘Utopia as a social engineer's construction’, in Neurath, op. cit. (3), 151.

67 See for example, Neurath, , ‘Lost wanderers of Descartes’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 8; Neurath, , ‘The unity of science as a task’, in ibid., 118; Neurath, , ‘Individual sciences, unified science, pseudorationalism’, in Neurath, op. cit. (7), 136–7.

68 Neurath, , ‘Utopia as a social engineer's construction’, in Neurath, op. cit. (3), 152; see also Neurath, O., ‘International planning for freedom’, in ibid., 422–40, on 426.

69 Neurath, O., ‘On the classification of systems of hypotheses (with special reference to optics)’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 1331, on 13. Here ‘insight’ is a translation of Einblick; in his criticism of Cartesian ‘insight’, Neurath used Einsicht.

70 Neurath, , ‘On the classification of systems of hypotheses’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 15, 16, 23, 30.

71 Neurath, , ‘Personal life and class struggle’, in Neurath, op. cit. (3), 262.

72 Neurath, , ‘Utopia as a social engineer's construction’, in Neurath, op. cit. (3), 151.

73 Neurath referred to the Encyclopedia as a ‘planned collective work’ and unified science as a ‘planned synthesis’ but never articulated in any systematic way precisely how the enterprise could or should be understood as a kind of planning (Neurath, , ‘Protocol statements’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 99; Neurath, , ‘Individual sciences, unified science, pseudorationalism’, in Neurath, op. cit. (7), 132).

74 Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 148, 153.

75 Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 157.

76 Cat, Chang and Cartwright describe unified science in terms of Neurath's goal of economic socialism and articulate parallels between Neurath's ‘unity’ and current post-modern notions of ‘disunity’ of science. See, Cat, J., Chang, H. and Cartwright, N., ‘Otto Neurath: unification as the way to socialism’, in Einheit der Wissenschaften, New York, 1991, 91110. For an account of Neurath's evolving conception of unified science, in the light of his political activities, see Cat, J., Chang, H. and Cartwright, N., ‘Otto Neurath: politics and unity of science’, forthcoming. The present account seeks less to identify Neurath's unified science and his politics than to show their common reliance on the notion of planning. Another difference concerns the degree of systematicity Neurath envisioned in unified science. Cat, Chang and Cartwright rightly oppose Neurath's conception to ‘a single overarching’ science but misconstrue it, I think, as ‘a collection [of statements] that lacks intrinsic systematic order’ (op. cit., 95, 99). Neurath surely did not envision unified science as an explicitly systematic structure and the kind of ‘systematization’ (op. cit. (27), 153) involved in its realization he had in mind is not clear. Without attributing some kind of structure or order to his conception, however, it becomes difficult to understand, for instance, the unifying function Neurath ascribed to the universal jargon; his explication of ‘truth’ as agreement among statements; or, in general, that there is any sense in which scientific statements can exhibit more or less ‘unity’.

77 Neurath, , op. cit. (51), 25.

78 Neurath, , ‘Unified science and its encyclopedia’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 176–7.

79 Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as model’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 157.

80 Neurath, , ‘Empirical sociology’, in Neurath, op. cit. (3), 352.

81 Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 148.

82 Neurath, , ‘Encyclopedia as “model”’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 157.

83 Neurath, , ‘The new encyclopedia of scientific empiricism’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 195.

84 Neurath, , ‘Unified science and its encyclopedia’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 181. See also Neurath, O., ‘Anti-Spengler’, in Neurath, op. cit. (3), 158213, on 199.

85 Neurath, , ‘Unified science and its encyclopedia’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 173.

86 Neurath, , ‘Foundations of the social sciences’, op. cit. (45), 47.

87 See, for example, Popper, , op. cit. (45), 154–5.

88 Popper, , op. cit. (3), 56. For Neurath's critique of Popper's falsificationism, see Neurath, , ‘Pseudorationalism of falsification’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 121–31.

89 Instead, Popper saw unified science as a misconceived attempt to demarcate science and metaphysics through theories of meaning. See Popper, K., Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, 3rd edn, London, 1969, 268–70.

90 Popper, , op. cit. (45), 67.

91 Kallen studied philosophy at Harvard under William James and, in 1919, joined the original faculty of the New School for Social Research, where he worked until his death in 1974. An ardent Zionist, social philosopher and activist, Kallen is best remembered for his criticisms of assimilationism and Americanization (see Konvitz, M. R., ‘Horace Meyer Kallen (1882–1974): in praise of hyphenation and orchestration’, in The Legacy of Horace Kallen (ed. Konvitz, M. R.), New York, 1987, 1535). Kallen and Neurath corresponded privately for a year as these exchanges were published (Kallen, H., ‘Postscript: Otto Neurath, 1882–1945’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1946), 6, 529–33, on 531).

92 Kallen, H., ‘The meaning of “unity” among the sciences, once more’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1946), 6, 493–6, on 493.

93 Kallen, H., ‘Reply’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1946), 6, 515–26, on 519, 520.

94 Neurath, , ‘Orchestration of the sciences’, in Philosophical Papers, op. cit. (7), 241. The same point occurs in Neurath, , ‘Departmentalization of unified science’, in ibid., 203; Neurath, , ‘The unity of science as a task’, in ibid., 116; Neurath, , ‘Individual sciences, unified science, pseudorationalism’, in ibid., 137.

95 Neurath, , op. cit. (51), 7.

96 D'Alembert, J., Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia (tr. Schwab, R.), Indianapolis, 1963, 47.

97 D'Alembert, , op. cit. (96), 48.

98 On Kallen's reading of Morris, see Kallen, H., ‘The meanings of “unity” among the sciences’, Educational Administration and Supervision (1940), 26, 8197, on 87–8.

99 Neurath, O., ‘For the discussion: just annotations, not a reply’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1946), 6, 526–8, on 527.

100 Neurath, , op. cit. (9), 306.

101 Neurath, to Morris, , 1 12 1941; Neurath, to Morris, , 7 01, 1942, op. cit. (41).

102 Kuhn, T., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago, 1962.

103 For a different view of Kuhn's philosophical relationship to Carnap, see Reisch, , op. cit. (64); for an account of how Neurath pre-figured the epistemological naturalism of Quine – whose work is also reputed to have refuted logical empiricism – see Uebel, , op. cit. (8).

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Planning science: Otto Neurath and the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science

  • George A. Reisch (a1)

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