University of Vienna, Austria
Spring Term 2011
Ernst Mach’s “Historical-critical Method” and Its Adoption by Otto Neurath and Edgar Zilsel
Elisabeth Nemeth is professor of philosophy at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna and Director Deputy of the Institute Vienna Circle. She studied at the Universities of Vienna and Munich and got her PhD and the venia legendi in philosophy at the University of Vienna. During the last years, she worked on the philosophy and history of Logical Empiricism, Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of science and philosophy of culture, and Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology of science and of education.
She is interested in the question how research in history of science, in philosophy of science, and in the (natural and social) sciences themselves can fruitfully interact. She suggests to approach this question by taking a step back and look at the historical constellation in which the disciplinary separation between philosophy of science and history of science had not yet taken place but was about to emerge. Against this backdrop, Elisabeth wants to focus on some of the works of the Vienna Circle members Otto Neurath and Edgar Zilsel. Both of them thought – in quite different ways though – that social scientists could learn some important lessons from Ernst Mach’s historical-critical re-consideration of classical mechanics. Mach’s belief that serious historical work is an intrinsic part of science itself deeply influenced both Neurath’s and Zilsel’s views. Is there still something to learn from an intellectual constellation in which the disciplinary borders between philosophy of science, history of science and the sciences themselves were not yet rigidly established?
Sometimes I can't
believe that it is more than one year ago that I came back from Pittsburgh. My last year was packed with events, challenges and pleasures, both in my intellectual / professional and in my family life.
My older son Johannes married, and 3 months ago my first grand-child was
born: her name is Magalie and she is unbelievably nice. They live in
Zuerich. Both the Vienna Circle Institute and the Philosophy-Department are in good shape and in a promising situation.
Designated Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Education (from October 1, 2012)
2010-present : Member of the steering committee of The International Society for History and Philosophy of Science (HOPOS)
2010, June 14-15: Second Bilateral Workshop for Master-Students Paris – Vienna: “Homo academicus. Research and Teaching at the University”. Teaching cooperation between the Department of Social Sciences and the Department of Philosophy at ENS (Paris) and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna. Organised and directed by Eric Brian and Elisabeth Nemeth with the help of ENS (Paris)