Rudolf Carnap and the Vienna Circle made a concerted effort to 'move' Philosophy away from its traditional focus on 'speculative' metaphysics by establishing a regimen of scientific rigor within the field. In what ways, if any, has their effort affected the direction of contemporary Analytic Philosophy? Does contemporary Philosophy bear any resemblance to the work of the Vienna Circle, can be incorporated into any response. CS
Did Logical Positivist effect the direction of contemporary analytic philosophy?
Definitely. Philosophy of science came into being solely because the logical positivists wanted to formalize "The" scientific method. Carnap(Axiomatic characterization of science), Hempel (deductive nomological characterization of explanation), and others positivists were the first one's to analyze science philosophically, and due to their initial spear heading we have contemporary Philosophy of Science.
This just underlines their influence in one particular field. Similarly we can trace their influence in Philosophy of Language, Mathematics, Mind, etc. However, that would require a lot more than just an answer.
I hope this answers your question. Feel free to ask for any clarification.
The logical positivist movement was an important part of early analytic philosophy. Its influence on later analytic philosophy, up to and including the present is, I think, massive, in both positive and negative ways. On the positive side, the positivist philosophers (like Carnap, Schlick, Ayer) took part in establishing the characteristics of modern analytic philosophy, such as:
- centrality of modern formal logic
- a high regard for modern natural science, conceived as a paradigm of rationality
- a presumption to develop a scientific philosophy, more rigorous than previous philosophies
Even more visible is the negative influence of the logical positivists. By this I mean, that the later analytic philosophy, which emerged around 1950, was in important ways a critical reaction to the specifically positivistic kind of sense-data empiricism. I have in mind such works as Wittgenstein's "Logical Investigations", Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", Sellars's "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind". In theirs stead, a part of later analytic philosophy became less attached to modern natural science. Another part remained attached to natural science, but thinking it more in terms of mind-brain relations, rather than in sense-data terms, as was characteristic of the positivists.