Vienna Circle/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Vienna Circle.
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Congresses and publications

Vienna Circle was very active in advertising the new philosophical ideas. Several congresses on epistemology and philosophy of science were organized, with the help of the Berlin Circle. There were some preparatory congresses: Prague (1929), Königsberg (1930), Prague (1934) and then the first congress on scientific philosophy held in Paris (1935), followed by congresses in Copenhagen (1936), Paris (1937), Cambridge, UK (1938), Cambridge, Mass. (1939). The Königsberg congress (1930) was very important, for Kurt Gödel announced that he has proved the completeness of first-order logic and the incompleteness of formal arithmetic. Another very interesting congress was the one held in Copenhagen (1936), which was dedicated to quantum physics and causality.

Between 1928 and 1937, the Vienna Circle published ten books in a collection named Schriften zur wissenschaftlichen Weltauffassung (Monographs on the Scientific World-Conception), edited by Schlick and Frank. Karl Raimund Popper’s book Logik der Forschung was published in this collection. Seven works were published in another collection, called Einheitswissenschaft (Unified Science). In 1930 Rudolf Carnap and Hans Reichenbach undertook the editorship of the journal Erkenntnis, which was published between 1930 and 1940 (from 1939 the editors were Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap and Charles Morris).

The following is the list of works published in the two collections edit by the Vienna Circle.

Schriften zur wissenschaftlichen Weltauffassung (Monographs on the Scientific World-Conception), edit by Schlick and Frank:

  • Richard von Mises, Wahrscheinlichkeit, Statistik und Wahrheit, 1928 (Probability, Statistics, and Truth, New York : Macmillan company, 1939)
  • Rudolf Carnap, Abriss der Logistik, 1929
  • Moritz Schlick, Fragen der Ethik, 1930 (Problems of Ethics, New York : Prentice-Hall, 1939)
  • Otto Neurath, Empirische Soziologie, 1931
  • Philipp Frank, Das Kausalgesetz und seine Grenzen, 1932 (The Law of Causality and its Limits, Dordrecth ; Boston : Kluwer, 1997)
  • Otto Kant, Zur Biologie der Ethik, 1932
  • Rudolf Carnap, Logische Syntax der Sprache, 1934 (The Logical Syntax of Language, New York : Humanities, 1937)
  • Karl Raimund Popper, Logik der Forschung, 1934 (The Logic of Scientific Discovery, New York : Basic Books, 1959)
  • Josef Schächeter, Prolegomena zu einer kritischen Grammatik, 1935 (Prolegomena to a Critical Grammar, Dordrecth ; Boston : D. Reidel Pub. Co., 1973)
  • Victor Kraft, Die Grundlagen einer wissenschaftliche Wertlehre, 1937 (Foundations for a Scientific Analysis of Value, Dordrecth ; Boston : D. Reidel Pub. Co., 1981)

Einheitswissenschaft (Unified Science), edit by Carnap, Frank, Hahn, Neurath, Joergensen (after Hahn's death), Morris (from 1938):

These works are translated in Unified Science: The Vienna Circle Monograph Series Originally Edited by Otto Neurath, Kluwer, 1987.

Monographs, arranged in chronological order, published in the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science:

Quoted works

  • Foundations of the Unity of Sciences, vol. 1, Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 1969
  • Uebel, Thomas, "On the Austrian Roots of Logical Empiricism" in Logical Empiricism - Historical and contemporary Perspectives, ed. Paolo Parrini, Wesley C. Salmon, Merrilee H. Salmon, Pittsburgh : University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003, pp. 76-93
  • Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung. Der Wiener Kreis, 1929. English translation The Scientific Conception of the World. The Vienna Circle in Sarkar, Sahotra, ed., The Emergence of Logical Empiricism: from 1900 to the Vienna Circle, New York : Garland Publishing, 1996, pp. 321-340
  • Rudolf Carnap, "Überwindung der Metaphysik durch Logische Analyse der Sprache" in Erkenntnis, vol. 2, 1932 (English translation "The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language" in Sarkar, Sahotra, ed., Logical empiricism at its peak: Schlick, Carnap, and Neurath, New York : Garland Pub., 1996, pp. 10-31)

Reception in the U.S.

The spread of logical positivism in the USA occurred throughout the 1920s-1930s. In 1929 and in 1932 Schlick was a Visiting Professor at Stanford, while Feigl, who immigrated to the USA in 1930, became lecturer (1931) and professor (1933) at the University of Iowa. The definite diffusion of logical positivism in the U.S. was due to Carl Hempel, Hans Reichenbach, Rudolf Carnap, Philipp Frank and Herbert Feigl, who emigrated and taught in the U.S.

  • E. Nagel, Nature and Convention in: The Journal of Philosophy, 26, 1929, in which Nagel discussed Reichenbach's interpretation of the theory of relativity;
  • S. Hook, Personal Impression of Contemporary German Philosophy in: The Journal of Philosophy, 27, 1930, in which Hook presented a favorable report on logical positivism;
  • A. E. Blumberg and H. Feigl, Logical Positivism: A New Movement in European Philosophy in: The Journal of Philosophy, 28, 1931.

Another link to the U.S. is Willard Van Orman Quine who traveled in 1932-1933 as Sheldon Traveling Fellow to Vienna, Prag, and Warsaw.

Reception in the UK

Alfred Jules Ayer acquainted British acedeme with the work of the Vienna Circle. Also Karl Popper was important for the reception and critique of their work, even though he never participated in the meetings of the Vienna Circle.


  • Ayer, Alfred Jules. Logical Positivism. Glencoe, Ill: Free Press, 1959.
  • Barone, Francesco. Il neopositivismo logico. Roma Bari: Laterza, 1986.
  • Bergmann, Gustav. The Metaphysics of Logical Positivism. New York: Longmans Green, 1954.
  • Cirera, Ramon. Carnap and the Vienna Circle: Empiricism and Logical Syntax. Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1994.
  • Friedman, Michael, Reconsidering Logical Positivism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Gadol, Eugene T. Rationality and Science: A Memorial Volume for Moritz Schlick in Celebration of the Centennial of his Birth. Wien: Springer, 1982.
  • Geymonat, Ludovico. La nuova filosofia della natura in Germania. Torino, 1934.
  • Giere, Ronald N. and Richardson, Alan W. Origins of Logical Empiricism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
  • Kraft, Victor. The Vienna Circle: The Origin of Neo-positivism, a Chapter in the History of Recent Philosophy. New York: Greenwood Press, 1953.
  • McGuinness, Brian. Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle: Conversations Recorded by Friedrich Waismann. Trans. by Joachim Schulte and Brian McGuinness. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1979.
  • Parrini, Paolo; Salmon, Wesley C.; Salmon, Merrilee H. (ed.) Logical Empiricism - Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003.
  • Salmon, Wesley and Wolters, Gereon (ed.), Logic, Language, and the Structure of Scientific Theories: Proceedings of the Carnap-Reichenbach Centennial, University of Konstanz, 21-24 May 1991, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994.
  • Sarkar, Sahotra. The Emergence of Logical Empiricism: From 1900 to the Vienna Circle. New York: Garland Publishing, 1996.
  • Sarkar, Sahotra. Logical Empiricism at its Peak: Schlick, Carnap, and Neurath. New York: Garland Pub., 1996.
  • Sarkar, Sahotra. Logical Empiricism and the Special Sciences: Reichenbach, Feigl, and Nagel. New York: Garland Pub., 1996.
  • Sarkar, Sahotra. Decline and Obsolescence of Logical Empiricism: Carnap vs. Quine and the Critics. New York: Garland Pub., 1996.
  • Sarkar, Sahotra. The Legacy of the Vienna Circle: Modern Reappraisals. New York: Garland Pub., 1996.
  • Spohn, Wolfgang (ed.), Erkenntnis Orientated: A Centennial Volume for Rudolf Carnap and Hans Reichenbach, Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991