Who is Herbert Feigl?

Who is Herbert Feigl?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Herbert Feigl; He was an Austrian philosopher of science who lived from 1902 to 1989, who was one of Moritz Schlick’s students and studied physics and philosophy.

Herbert Feigl published most of his writings after immigrating to the United States in 1931. Herbert Feigl, who was largely inspired by the thoughts of his teacher Moritz Schlick in these writings; He has worked on probabilistic analysis, the scientific realism debate, and the analysis of the mind-body problem. Herbert Feigl’s main aim was to characterize established philosophical analysis in what he called the “scientific attitude”.

The Life of Herbert Feigl

Herbert Feigl was born on December 14, 1902, in the then Austrian town of Reichenberg (now Liberec, Czech Republic). Feigl’s parents were Jewish, but not religious Jews. It was even said that his father, a trained textile worker, was an ardent atheist. His father was a talented and highly skilled textile designer and later in his career became one of the most influential figures in the Austrian textile industry.

Feigl’s mother, who had a lifelong interest in the arts, introduced him to classical music, particularly to the enthusiasm of the Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler symphonies.

Feigl began studying mathematics, physics and philosophy at the University of Munich in 1921. Due to the anti-Semitic climate in Germany (and especially in Munich), he had to transfer to the University of Vienna in 1922, where he would work with the likes of Moritz Schlick, Hans Hahn, Hans Thirring and Karl Bühler. In the same year, he was awarded a prize for his article in a competition based on the philosophical significance of Einstein’s theory of relativity (with Schlick, Ernst von Aster and Max von Laue as referees). Herbert Feigl became one of the founders of the Vienna Circle in 1924. In 1927, he completed his doctoral thesis in philosophy on the relationship between probability and law in natural sciences.

Herbert Feigl

Feigl; Inspired by discussions with Karl Popper and Hans Reichenbach, he published his first monograph in “Theorie und Erfahrung in der Physik” in 1929. In the same year, he gave a series of lectures at the Bauhaus in Dessau, which found interesting parallels with the Vienna Circle, both in intellectual outlook and in political approach (see Galison 1990).

Feigl married Maria Kasper, a classmate at the University of Vienna, in 1930, and they had a son (Eric Feigl) from this marriage.

For reasons of anti-Semitism and professional despair, Feigl decided to immigrate to the United States in 1930. Funded by the Rockefeller Research Fellowship, originally spent eight months at Harvard University. He wrote the article “Logical Positivism: A New Movement in European Philosophy” with Albert E. Blumberg.

Herbert Feigl taught from 1931 to 1937 as a lecturer and assistant professor at the University of Iowa. He received US citizenship in 1937. He was an associate professor at the University of Iowa from 1938 to 1940. Feigl eventually became a professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in 1940. There he founded the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science in 1953, the first such center in the United States and still one of the leading institutions for research in the history of science and philosophy of science.

Alongside visiting professorships at Berkeley (1946 and 1953), Columbia University (1950), and the University of Hawaii (1958), Herbert Feigl remained for research in Mexico, Australia, and Austria. He served as president of the “American Philosophical Association” and vice president of the “American Association for the Advancement of Science”.

Among the most important works of his time in the United States are writings on methodology, scientific realism, and the mind-body problem.

After Feigl retired in 1971, he was still active in philosophical circles as the organizer of philosophical discussions in his personal residence.

Feigl died of cancer on June 1, 1988, in Minneapolis.

Prepared and Translated by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım
Source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy