Posts Tagged ‘vienna circle’

Isolation never comes alone

November 14, 2007

“In our “Vienna Circle”, as well as in kindred groups (in Poland, France, England, U.S.A, and, among individuals, even in Germany) the conviction has grown, and is steadily increasing, that metaphysics can make no claim to possessing a scientific character.” (From the Foreword to Carnap’s Logical Syntax of Language, 1934).

This statement is of course philosophical, but also, crucially, political. Already in 1934, while still in Prague, Carnap is no longer looking for philosophical allies in Germany: if there are any, they are marginalized by the predominant metaphysical schools, in particular Heidegger’s (who had been the target of an extended polemic by Carnap a few years earlier). It is noteworthy that Carnap decides to list the countries where he hopes to find allies for his philosophical projects, rather than the groups themselves (such as the Lwow-Warsaw school of logic).

But just as Germany has isolated herself philosophically, as Carnap clearly wants to imply, Germany has also isolated herself politically.