The Specter of “Austrian Philosophy”: Ernst Mach and a Modern Tradition of Post-Philosophy

  • Katherine ArensEmail author
Part of the Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook book series (VCIY, volume 22)


This essay takes up “Austrian philosophy” as a tradition with broad implications outside narrower histories of philosophy in the Kantian tradition. This reading recovers a Kant focused on knowledge production and on critiques based on embodied, situated epistemologies and the agency embedded in them. This Kant was received in the pedagogies of two famous nineteenth-century textbook authors (the Philosophische Propädeutik [1852] by Robert von Zimmerman [1824–1898] and Ernst Mach's popular writings and physics textbooks). As educational propadeutics, they connect philosophy to epistemological critique, as practiced by philosophers from Bernard Bolzano (1781–1848) to Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle within Austria, but also from the Wissenschaftsdebatte (Windelband and Rickert) to Dilthey and Cassirer. This tradition, culminating in French post-structuralism, requires that knowledge is seen as the product of community of knowing subjects rather than individual minds, given that it is produced by embodied group praxes (semiosis, social power, and communication).

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Germanic StudiesUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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