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The Murder of Professor Schlick

The Rise and Fall of the Vienna Circle

David Edmonds

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Princeton University Pres
04 January 2021
On June 22, 1936, the philosopher Moritz Schlick was on his way to deliver a lecture at the University of Vienna when Johann Nelboeck, a deranged former student of Schlick's, shot him dead on the university steps. Some Austrian newspapers defended the madman, while Nelboeck himself argued in court that his onetime teacher had promoted a treacherous Jewish philosophy. David Edmonds traces the rise and fall of the Vienna Circle - an influential group of brilliant thinkers led by Schlick-and of a philosophical movement that sought to do away with metaphysics and pseudoscience in a city darkened by fascism, anti-Semitism, and unreason.

The Vienna Circle's members included Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap, and the eccentric logician Kurt Goedel. On its fringes were two other philosophical titans of the twentieth century, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper. The Circle championed the philosophy of logical empiricism, which held that only two types of propositions have cognitive meaning, those that can be verified through experience and those that are analytically true. For a time, it was the most fashionable movement in philosophy. Yet by the outbreak of World War II, Schlick's group had disbanded and almost all its members had fled. Edmonds reveals why the Austro-fascists and the Nazis saw their philosophy as such a threat.
By:   David Edmonds
Imprint:   Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 140mm, 
ISBN:   9780691164908
ISBN 10:   0691164908
Pages:   336
Publication Date:   04 January 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

David Edmonds is the coauthor, with John Eidinow, of the bestselling Wittgenstein's Poker as well as Rousseau's Dog and Bobby Fischer Goes to War, and the author of Would You Kill the Fat Man? (Princeton). Cofounder, with Nigel Warburton, of the popular Philosophy Bites podcast series, he is a distinguished research fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and an award-winning presenter and producer for the BBC. Twitter @DavidEdmonds100

Reviews for The Murder of Professor Schlick: The Rise and Fall of the Vienna Circle

A cracking read. ---Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist [An] engrossing and eminently readable history of the circle. ---David Conway, Jewish Chronicle [L]ively and accessible. . . . [Edmond's] research has also uncovered important new biographical information, including about [the Vienna Circle's] lesser-known female members. ---Adam Kirsch, New Yorker I very much enjoyed this book, and found its direct style refreshing, and I hope it will serve as a model for others. [Edmonds] actually tells you what you want to know! ---Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution As pacy as a thriller. ---Joe Humphreys, Irish Times Absorbing. . . . so fascinating and relevant now. ---Thomas Filbin, The Arts Fuse


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