Dr. Silke Körber

2023, September 1 until 2024, February 29

Affiliation: Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Research for a study about:

Thinking and Muddling for People: L. Susan Stebbing and Otto Neurath.
With selected letters and texts

The research project I would like to realise during my stay is a publication in cooperation with Dr. Adam T. Tuboly (Institute of Philosophy, Hungarian Academy of Sciences) about the British philosopher L. Susan Stebbing and the Vienna Circle founding member Otto Neurath. Their collaboration has received little attention so far and – we claim in view of the materials that will be gathered and evaluated in this volume – also suggests a re-evaluation of the conclusions drawn about their individual work. Their collaboration took place against the backdrop of a convergence of the Vienna Circle in the 1930s and in exile, as well as the emerging analytic tradition in England (later known as the Cambridge School), a development that was significantly fostered by Stebbing. Neurath and Stebbing cooperated primarily with the aim of disseminating a “scientific attitude” in connection with a principally humanistic understanding of science and philosophy as well as the role of the scientific expert.

The publication will essentially have two parts: A monographic text on Stebbing and Neurath as well as the edited correspondence (1934 to 1941) and further texts.

All these materials will be classified, analysed and considered in the light of the longstanding collaboration between Stebbing and Neurath within the Unity of Science movement, the Foundation for Visual Education and the Isotype Institute. On the basis of the material, thematic priorities, similarities and differences in the programmatic approaches with regard to a "scientific humanism", the role and relationship of experts and society as well as methodological approaches to the transformation of knowledge will be elaborated. This should result in a hitherto unique collection of material that could provide impulses both for further studies. Our publication is based on previous research, and a chapter Tuboly and I recently submitted for an anthology on the work of L. Susan Stebbing.


Scientific Humanism in Practice: Stebbing and Neurath

Conference: “The Vienna Circle – History and Legacy”

Institute Vienna Circle (IVC), University of Vienna; in cooperation with the Vienna Circle Society.

Date: 2023 September 27

Venue: Aula at Campus of the University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 2, Court 1, 1090 Vienna




During the my fellowship at the Vienna Circle Institute, I focused on two research projects that are closely linked to the institute in terms of content and methodology: The first deals with the co-operation between the British philosopher L. Susan Stebbing and Otto Neurath. A publication (with Ádám T. Tuboly) is to appear in an IVC book series (Springer Verlag) and should provide impulses for Neurath research as well as for a reassessment of Stebbing’s role. The other project deals with the construction and functionality of representations at the interface of art and science. It will focus on the role of representations in the field of climate impact research and pandemic research. At the IVC, I was able to establish contacts with senior scholars, researchers and other fellows who helped me to advance and deepen my research and to develop new aspects that will be incorporated in my further work.

In this context, I wrote three articles, a book proposal and a review for the Vienna Circle Yearbook and presented results at the IVC Colloquium, a workshop in Warsaw and the Vienna Circle Conference (History and Legacy) in September 2023. In addition, I will give talks on my current research topics in Budapest, Istanbul, Munich and Rome in the coming months, as well as holding a HOPOS panel in Vienna this July. I organized a new reading group at the institute on general history and theory of philosophy of science and an IVC-WhatsApp group for the further exchange and circulation of information and texts.

Currently I am planning to establish a working group on the topic of women philosophers in Logical Empiricism and Analytic Philosophy with IVC members and also further cooperations, e.g. with project staff like Christian Damböck. I am very grateful for this fellowship as it was an extremely important factor in the progress of my current research.