Rudolf Carnap and the Legacy of Aufklärung
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André Carus’s book on Carnap, Carnap and Twentieth-Century Thought , begins with a quotation which was an agreeable surprise for me: Mathematicians unlike the rest of us, have retained something of the original Enlightenment spirit, thought the novelist Robert Musil; they provide examples of a spiritual daring that has otherwise fallen by the wayside. ‘We others’, Musil regretted, ‘have let our courage drop since the time of the Enlightenment. Some small bungle was enough to get us off the track of reason, and we now let every softheaded visionary denounce the projects of a d’Alembert or a Diderot as misguided rationalism’. We are apt to plead the cause of feeling against the intellect, forgetting that we inhabit an intellect-constructed world (Musil 1913a). By ‘we’ he meant Central Europeans of the early twentieth century, but his warnings are no less relevant to our own times. ‘We must be on our guard, he wrote, against all yearnings for the de-complexification of literature and life, for Homeric or religious warmth, for uniformity and wholeness’ (Musil 1913b).
KeywordsExternal World Philosophical Tradition General Philosophy Vienna Circle Tactical Question
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