In partial praise of a positivist (O’Neill, 1995)
The work of Otto Neurath
by John O’Neill (Radical Philosophy, 1995)
From the Frankfurt School the story has emerged that positivism is a conservative doctrine necessarily committed to existing social institutions and to a technocratic conception of politics. Even the most scientistic orthodox Marxist is unlikely to announce that she is a positivist. Such is the disrepute into which positivism has fallen that to accept the title of positivist would amount to an admission that one’s position was untenable. The picture of positivism that informs its use as a term of academic abuse is a caricature. Positivist philosophy was much more heterogeneous than recent thumbnail versions allow, and many of the doctrines ascribed to it were explicitly rejected by many of its proponents. Neurath himself was unhappy with the term for the very reason that it suggested a systematic set of doctrines incompatible with the methodological pluralism he defended, although ‘not being a pedant’ he was willing to ‘bear it’.
Also by O’Neill et al:
- Between Frankfurt and Vienna
- Knowledge, Planning, and Markets: a Missing Chapter in the Socialist Calculation Debate
- Horkheimer and Neurath: Restarting a Disrupted Debate
- Calculation in kind and marketless socialism- On Otto Neurath’s utopian economics
- Ecological economics and the politics of knowledge- the debate between Hayek and Neurath – John O’Neil
- Michael Turk – Otto Neurath and the History of Economics (2018)
- Neurath’s economics, Poettinger
- Who won the socialist calculation debate?
- The Market: Ethics, Knowledge, Politics
See also by Neurath: