Projekt Wilhelm Dilthey and Rudolf Carnap. A Historical and Systematic Study

Project director: Christian Damböck 
(contact, Christian's homepage)


FWF: P24615

The project is expected to run from April 1 2012 until March 31 2015.

Extended title: Philosophy of Science in Wilhelm Dilthey's Introduction to the Human Sciences and Rudolf Carnap's The Logical Structure of the World . A Historical and Systematic Study

Brief project description:

The project is concerned with the philosophy of science in Wilhelm Dilthey's Introduction to the Human Sciences and Rudolf Carnap's The Logical Structure of the World . Though Carnap and Dilthey, at a first glance, represent rather different traditions in philosophy – Dilthey representing the tradition of human sciences (“Geisteswissenschaften”) that is committed to a descriptive method of understanding, and Carnap representing the tradition of logical empiricism and philosophy of science as based on the normative method of formal logic – there are surprising common points that suggest a comparative study of these two philosophers. These common points can be identified in a rather systematic way, on the basis of the main works of these two philosophers, but there is also the historical fact that Carnap's early work developed in the context of a discussion group that mainly comprised people from the Dilthey school: Herman Nohl (Carnap's teacher in Jena, along with Gottlob Frege and Bruno Bauch) and his students Wilhelm Flitner, Hans Freyer and Franz Roh.

On the backdrop of these common points, the project develops two independent case studies on the philosophies of Dilthey and Carnap, which culminate into a comparative part in which both the divergences and convergences between these two philosophers are re-examined. Thus, the project is an attempt to show that the philosophy of Rudolf Carnap is compatible and complementary to that of Wilhelm Dilthey in some respects. Insofar, the project is also an attempt to counteract the received dichotomy of analytic and continental philosophy, understood as two incompatible intellectual traditions.

On the other hand, it is by far not the only purpose of the project to directly compare the philosophies of Carnap and Dilthey. In contrast, the direct comparison between the philosophies of Carnap and Dilthey is merely the final goal of this project, whereas its main part is intended as the development of two large historical and systematic case studies, one on Dilthey's Einleitung and one on Carnap's Aufbau . These two case studies shall be developed more or less isolated on the secure basis of the respective research literature and with the inclusion of the available archival resources. Moreover, it also has to be noted that purely systematic aspects will play an important role in the project, especially, in the context of an investigation of recent formal and philosophical perspectives for an Aufbau -like program.

for further information on the running of the project and on respective publications please refer to my homepage.