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Kaufmann, Felix


KAUFMANN, FELIX (1895–1949), philosopher and methodologist. Kaufmann, who was born in Vienna, immigrated to the U.S. when the Nazis took over Austria in 1938. From then until his death he was a member of the graduate faculty at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Although Kaufmann was greatly influenced by Moritz Schlick, and was himself involved in the early discussions of the Vienna Circle, he never rigidly adopted the main principles of logical positivism. This was perhaps more a matter of interest than ideology, his main concerns being to discriminate between the methodology of the social sciences, and the methodology of the physical sciences. His view was that the rules which social scientists adopt differ both in their purposes and in their applications from those found in the physical sciences, especially being directed toward the clarification of knowledge rather than its acquisition. His most important book in this connection is Methodenlehre der Sozialwissenschaften (1936), translated in 1944 into English as Methodology of the Social Sciences.

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