Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Ernst Mach’s ‘Method of Variation’ in Otto Neurath’s Economic Theory
Elisabeth Nemeth, University of Vienna, Philosophy
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: During my stay at the Center I will work on the Vienna Circle members Otto Neurath and Edgar Zilsel. Both of them were deeply interested in the social sciences and were involved in the debates about their methods and foundations. Both of them wanted social scientists to learn from Ernst Mach’s critical inquiries about “the procedures by which natural scientists achieve and enlarge their knowledge” (Mach 1905). The way Neurath and Zilsel conceived of a possible junction between natural and social science is the point I am interested in. My talk will give a short outline of the project and focus on one aspect of it. I will try to show how the conceptual structure of economic theory which Neurath suggested in his early writings is related to Mach’s conception of the ‘method of variation’.