Who is Otto Neurath?June 26, 2021
Austrian philosopher and social theorist.
Otto Neurath, who played an important role in the development of logical positivism, was actively involved in sociology, politics and pedagogy as well as philosophy. Neurath, who wrote the first manifesto of the Vienna Circle in 1929, is one of the most influential thinkers of this school. Neurath is especially known for his articles published in Erkenntnis, the journal of logician positivism. With his writings, especially his article titled “Protokollsatze” published in 1932, he led the Vienna Circle to a more physicalist and holistic theory of knowledge instead of seeking the foundations of knowledge in simple and uninterpreted sensory experiences.
The theory of physicalism he developed asserts that all empirical judgments, except meaningless and synonymous ones, can in principle be translated into judgments about spatial and temporal objects. Neurath thinks that this theory will pave the way for both the existence of a single scientific language and the possibility of interpersonal agreement. Neurath’s physicalism is a linguistic doctrine that promises a desirable synthesis of the languages of the different sciences. Physicalism, based on the ideal of a unified science based on unity of methods, includes the idea that the same methods can be used in any kind of intellectual inquiry that meets adequate criteria. Another important point of Neurath’s is that he argued that verification can be achieved not by word and experiment, but by comparing words with each other.