, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 373-376
Date: 08 Sep 2010

Putting the ‘empiricism’ in ‘logical empiricism’: the director’s cut

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In 1992, Thomas Uebel set the standard for scholarship on both Neurath and the protocol-sentence debate in Overcoming Logical Positivism from Within: The Emergence of Neurath’s Naturalism in the Vienna Circle’s Protocol-Sentence Debate. That book was an in-depth study of the logical empiricists’ protocol-sentence debate, which “concerned the form, content, and status of scientific evidence statements” (1). Put otherwise, this debate addressed how best to understand those scientific activities (including linguistic activities) that make the empirical sciences empirical. The book reviewed here, Empiricism at the Crossroads: The Vienna Circle’s Protocol-Sentence Debate, is a heavily revised and expanded version of that earlier work.

Before delving into the content of the book, let us ask: how does the new version differ from the old? First, there are light revisions throughout, including small expository additions or deletions, and additional citations of primary and secondary sources. Sec ...