31. Wiener Kreis Vorlesung / 31st Vienna Circle Lecture 2023 | Jordi Cat (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Money and Philosophy in Vienna: Otto Neurath and Ludwig Wittgenstein

Jordi Cat (Indiana University, Bloomington)
Date: November 9th, 2023
Time: 16:00-18:00
Venue: Sky Lounge, Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1, 1090 Vienna


The relations of money to philosophy are contextual and diverse, partly because of the variety of relations that can be identified, documented, and considered noteworthy, and partly because of the variety of aspects of money and philosophy one can select for—material, intellectual, behavioral, symbolic, etc. My examples here connect philosophers' lives and intellectual work as well as their different kinds of intellectual works and practices. In particular, my argument identifies cross-disciplinary, intellectual, social, and personal connections as they relate to the philosophical contributions of two Viennese figures central to the development of logical empiricism and the Vienna Circle in the 1920s: Otto Neurath (1882–1945) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951).

Wittgenstein's attention to money in his philosophical work appears in his later, post-Tractatus period. His later perspective on philosophy and on money is social, but, I argue, the focus is individualistic. Through his attention to individual linguistic and monetary behaviors as social practices, Wittgenstein's examples play a demonstrative role in philosophical argument, as illustration and evidence. By contrast, Neurath's interest in money and its indirect relevance to philosophical considerations are informed by social goals and considerations of economic theory, application, methodology, and disciplinary identity. Unlike Wittgenstein's, his contribution to philosophy of science was informed by his different interest in money both in theory and practice.

Short Bio:

Jordi Cat received a M.A. from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis in 1995. He has held postdoctoral positions at Harvard University, the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin, The London School of Economics and the University of Chicago.

His research interests are in all three areas: philosophy of science, history of science and history of philosophy of science, and in their intersections (philosophy of history next). In particular, issues of unity and pluralism, the application of mathematics, precision and approximation, scientific planning, modeling, causality, visual and material culture and 19th & 20th-century history of physics and philosophy of science (Victorian physics and philosophy of science, especially Maxwell, and Logical Empiricism, especially Neurath).

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