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Vienna Circle

Vienna Circle In the 1920s and early 1930s, the empiricist tradition of philosophy of science was reinvigorated by a group of philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists (including some social scientists) at the University of Vienna. The group included Moritz Schlick, Rudolph Carnap, Otto Neurath, Kurt Gödel, and others. The Vienna Circle had a significant influence on Sir Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein, though neither were members. The logical empiricist, or positivist philosophy of the circle was particularly influential in the English-speaking world, partly due to the work of A. J. Ayer, and also to the affinities between this approach and that of Bertrand Russell. In important respects the new philosophy of science was a response to the turn-of-century revolution in physical science. The project was to tie scientific knowledge-claims so tightly to supposedly indubitable observation-reports, that all speculative, metaphysical, unprovable elements would be removed from the privileged domain of science. In the most extreme version, the empirically unprovable would be denied even the status of meaningful utterance, a doctrine sometimes referred to as verificationism.

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