Leonard Lecture Series - Alan Richardson

Alan Richardson
Professor of Philosophy
University of British Columbia



"Logical Positivism as Scientific Philosophy:
Remarks on an Episode in Philosophy's Relations with Positive Science and Some Consequences"

Friday, April 17, 2009, 3:00 p.m.
Edmund J Cain Hall (EJCH) 108H
Philosophy Department Classroom

In this talk I offer a new interpretation of the significance of logical positivism for philosophy in the twentieth century. I provide evidence that the primary philosophical point of logical positivism was, for the logical positivists themselves, a metaphilosophical point: it was an attempt to bring the standards of the exact sciences into philosophy itself. I will show how this interpretation differs from the most prominent account of logical positivism in the literature. Moreover, using tools from history and sociology of science, I will argue that the historical trajectory of logical positivism discloses the roots of some continuing problems of epistemic authority endemic to analytic philosophy today.

Alan Richardson is the author of Carnap’s Construction of the World (Cambridge UP, 1997) and co-editor of several collections, including most recently, The Cambridge Companion to Logical Empiricism (Cambridge UP, 2007). His current monograph project is tentatively, Logical Positivism as Scientific Philosophy. He is Past President of the International Society for History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS).

Sponsored by The Department of Philosophy, UNR, and The Leonard Endowment

Free and open to the public