The Utopia of Unified Science: The Political Struggle of Otto Neurath and the Vienna Circle


  • Ivan Ferreira da Cunha Núcleo de Epistemologia e Lógica, NEL / CNPq Departamento de Filosofia Centro de Filosofia e Ciência Humanas, CFH Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina 88010-970 Florianópolis, SC BRASIL



Neurath’s approach to the problem of the unity of science is different from conceptions we may call traditional, to know, those that consider that what unites in one single concept the diverse sciences is the adoption of a method, or those that defend that this is carried through by certain characteristics which can be found in the body of knowledge considered scientific. Neurath’s stance also diverges from the standpoint that there is no unifying factor for science, that is, the view that the different sciences are only classified under such concept because of the historical origin of such activities. Neurath’s proposal is to consider science as an attitude, a posture in relation to the problems of the world, the scientific world-conception. This text presents such approach in connection to the aspect of social transformation that can be found in Neurath’s thought. This is done following a comprehension of the ideas of the Vienna Circle, seeking to understand a continuity among the ideas of the members of such group, especially Neurath and Carnap. The present text aims, as well, at recovering the Neurathian idea that we can use a philosophical approach to science to struggle against the problems of the world.