Carnap’s route to the Aufbau: An examination of newly available archival sources

Christian Damböck

Institute Vienna Circle, University of Vienna

Abstract: 
Since Michael Friedman’s groundbreaking work on neo-Kantian influences on Carnap’s Aufbau there have been a number of further considerations on other possible influences on Carnap’s seminal work. Frege, Husserl, Russell, Dilthey, Freyer, Wittgenstein, Schlick, Reichenbach, Neurath, and others have been discussed, in this respect. However, with the exception of a small number of works by Andre Carus, Alan Richardson, Gottfried Gabriel, Thomas Mormann, Hans Joachim Dahms, and Thomas Uebel, there has been view mentioning of the respective archival resources, in these accounts. Moreover, there is virtually no mentioning in the existing secondary literature of these parts of the Carnap papers that were made available just very recently, which include Carnap’s diaries and his private correspondence. In this talk I will evaluate some of these newly available resources, in order to shed new light on Carnap’s early intellectual development, between approximately 1909 and 1924. In particular, I will evaluate the following sources: (1) Carnap’s reading lists for the time between 1909 and approximately 1924, which collect every book that Carnap read during that time (and the exact date of reading); (2) the early diaries (1909-1924), as far as they are already transcribed from shorthand; (3) Carnap’s correspondence with his mother (1908-1923). These sources may allow us to gain better understanding of how exactly the philosophical program of the Aufbau has been influenced by Carnap’s friends and teachers in Jena and Freiburg. When and why did Carnap start to consider himself with the problems of “Wissenschaftslehre”? Are there any connections between his theoretical and his political interests, i.e., can we find any connections between philosophy of science and practical philosophy, in the early Carnap? My working hypothesis is that Carnap somewhat shifted to “Wissenschaftslehre” during WW1 and that his early interests in philosophy of science were deeply connected with his growing interests in politics and practical philosophy. Thus, the aim is to show that the whole theoretical project of the Aufbau must be seen as connected with Carnap’s conception of practical philosophy, with his views on society and culture.