Mauro Murzi's pages on Philosophy of Science - Vienna Circle
Unified Science
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Unified Science.

The final goal pursued by the Vienna Circle was unified science, that is the construction of a 'constitutive system' in which every legitimate statement is reduced to the concepts of lower level which refer directly to the given experience. "The endeavour is to link and harmonise the achievements of individual investigators in their various fields of science" (VC p. 328). From this aim follows the search for clarity, neatness, intersubjectivity, and for a neutral symbolic language that eliminates the problems arising from the ambiguity of natural language. The Vienna Circle published a collection, called Einheitswissenschaft (Unified science), edit by Carnap, Frank, Hahn, Neurath, Joergensen (after Hahn's death) and Morris (from 1938), whose aim was to present an unified vision of science. After the publication in Europe of seven monographs from 1933 to 1939, the collection was dismissed, because of the problems arising from the World War II. In 1938 a new series of publications started in USA. It was the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, an ambitious project never completed devoted to unified science. Only the first section Foundations of the Unity of Sciences was published; it contains two volumes for a total of twenty monographs published from 1938 to 1969. As remembered by Rudolf Carnap and Charles Morris in the Preface to the 1969 edition of the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science:

The Encyclopedia was in origin the idea of Otto Neurath. It was meant as a manifestation of the unity of science movement [...] Original plans for the Encyclopedia were ambitious. In addition to the two introductory volumes, there was to be a section on the methodology of the sciences, one on the existing state of the unification of sciences, and possibly a section on the application of the sciences. It was planned that the work in its entirety would comprise about twenty-six volumes (260 monographs) (Foundations of the Unity of Sciences, vol. 1, The University of Chicago Press, 1969, p. vii).

The well known Kuhn's work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, was published in this Encyclopedia in 1962, as the number two in the second volume.

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