32. Wiener Kreis Vorlesung / 32nd Vienna Circle Lecture 2024 | Massimo Ferrari (University of Turin)

Schlick und sein Zirkel. Nach 100 Jahren

Massimo Ferrari (University of Turin)
Date: November 28th, 2024
Time: 17:00-19:00
Venue: Aula am Campus, Universität Wien, Hof 1, Eingang 1.11, Spitalgasse 2-4, 1090 Wien


In 1924 – exactly 100 years ago – the first nucleus of what would later become the Vienna Circle began to form around Moritz Schlick. The Thursday evening meetings and the joint reading of Wittgenstein's Tractatus were to become almost legendary, but today, also in the light of the memoirs and unpublished sources available to us, we must take a closer look at what happened in this annus mirabilis, which laid the foundations for the better-known history of the Vienna Circle. In my lecture, I would like to focus first on the role of personalities such as Herbert Feigl and Friedrich Waismann, but also consider the first group of students and followers who gathered around Schlick after his appointment in Vienna in 1922. In the summer of 1924, Rudolf Carnap met Schlick for the first time during a trip to Vienna and decided to habilitate under Schlick: These were the first steps that were to lead to the Logical Construction of the World; a few months later, on Christmas Day 1924, Schlick wrote to Wittgenstein for the first time to express the wish to meet him in person. These two episodes almost symbolically mark a decisive stage in the history of the Vienna Circle. On the other hand, Schlick's multi-layered philosophical profile in his early Viennese years cannot be overlooked. Schlick was not only the enthusiastic admirer of Wittgenstein, but also "the German professor" who gave a lecture on Schopenhauer and Nietzsche in his first semester in Vienna in 1922, while at the same time participating in the lively debate on Einstein's theory of relativity. Only by taking into account these diverse aspects of Schlick's intellectual biography can the origins of the Vienna Circle in its unofficial phase be adequately reconstructed. My lecture aims to make a contribution to the revision of the “received view”, which has been increasingly called into question by recent historiography.

Short Bio:

Massimo Ferrari is Professor Emeritus of History of Philosophy at the University of Turin. He is editor of the journal Giornale critico della filosofia italiana and member of the Academy of Sciences of Turin. His scientific work focuses on neo-Kantianism, phenomenology, pragmatism, logical empiricism and Vienna Circle, Kant and the philosophy of the 19th century. Main publications: Il giovane Cassirer e la scuola di Marburgo (Milano 1988); Retours à Kant (Paris 2001); Ernst Cassirer. Stationen einer philosophischen Biographie (Hamburg 2003); Categorie e a priori (Bologna 2003); Mezzo secolo di filosofia italiana (Bologna 2016).

Institut Wiener Kreis | Wiener Kreis Gesellschaft
Aula am Campus, Universität Wien, Hof 1, Eingang 1.11, Spitalgasse 2-4, 1090 Wien