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Paul Oppenheim on Order—The Career of a Logico-Philosophical Concept

  • Paul ZicheEmail author
  • Thomas Müller
Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 273)

Abstract

Paul Oppenheim (1885–1977) entered into the annals of twentieth-century philosophy as the co-author of Hempel, Kemeny, Putnam and Rescher, among others. Together, these authors made crucial contributions to issues such as the nature of scientific explanation, reduction, and the unity of science. In his far less studied writings as a single author, Oppenheim pursued a line of argument that is closely related to those classical issues of analytical philosophy, while at the same time opening up new perspectives.

In the 1920s, Oppenheim started to publish on the natural order of the sciences, and this topic continued to occupy him throughout his career. His own attitude can be characterized as being surprisingly tolerant. That is, he tried to develop a formal framework within which one could place all possible scientific disciplines from metaphysics and mathematics all the way to geography and history. This framework was meant to help elucidate the relationship between these disciplines, and to place notions such as “Gestalt” or “type” within a philosophical reconstruction of the sciences.

Our paper shows how Oppenheim’s ideas concerning a natural and tolerant ordering of the sciences interact with the topics of his co-authored works, which became part of the analytical orthodoxy.

Keywords

Scientific Explanation Logical Empiricism Tolerant Attitude Language Choice Modern Logic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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