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BOOK REVIEWS 12 5 Pierre Jacob. L'empirisme logique: ses ant~cOdents, ses critiques. Paris: Les l~ditions de Minuit, 198o. Pp. 3o6. FR65. "Les Franqais n'aiment pas la philosophie analytique." The first sentence of Pierre Jacob's L'empirisme logique: ses antOc~dents, ses critiques reveals at once his polemical purpose: to inform his willfully ignorant compatriots about the development of a major part of-twentieth-century analytic philosophy, a part in which they have neither participated nor found value. The polemical sting of his preface is fiJllowed by a sober and clear presentation of the historical roots of logical empiricism in the work of Frege, Russell, Moore, and the early Wittgenstein, and a historical review of the origins of the continental movement in the universities of Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria with the work of the classic founders of the school such as Carnap, Reichenbach, Schlick, and Tarski. His account fi)llows the exiled scholars from Hitler's Europe to their new positions in the United States. Subsequently Jacob presents the work of Popper and of later analysts such as Quine. His account brings the movement up to the present and to current issues that are critical for the position of logical empiricism. The historical presentation is organized around certain problems Jacob takes to be central to the movement of logical empiricism, so that each chapter focuses on one issue. The first chapter, on the roots of logical empiricism, concentrates on the "logicism" of Frege and Russell. The second chapter, on the birth of the Vienna Circle, which relates it to the logic of the Principia Mathematics and the Tmctatus Logico-Philosophicus and to the scientific interests of its flmnders, fi)cuses on the antimetaphysical bent of the movement, especially in the hands of Carnap, and the latter's work in the logical syntax of language. The third chapter, which discusses the emerging problems of the justification of induction and of the definition of the verification theory of meaning, refers to the "liberalization" of the movement. The fourth chapter concentrates on problems of ontology, specifically the issue between Quine and Carnap (its catchy title, "How to Shave Plato's Beard with Occam's Razor"). The fifth chapter deals again with Quine, this time with his dilficulties i,1 reaching a proper understanding of "analyticity" and his attack on the analytic-synthetic distinction, and with the work of Goodman and Hempel in revealing the paradoxes of confirmation. The sixth chapter turns to the work of Popper and compares his analysis of scientific reasoning with the hypothetical-deductive model of Nagel and then with more recent criticisms of this model in the hands of Hanson , Kuhn, and Feyerabend. In the final chapter Jacob turns to what he sees as the new and promising developments within logical empiricism, especially in the work of Hilary Putnam and Saul Kripke, developments he hopefully entitles "the renewal of realism." It is clear that Jacob has given an account of the movement of logical empiricism that selects certain aspects and certain figures as of major importance and that he has accepted the responsibility of ordering the mass of materials and details around his own evaluation of the movement and of its outcome. One can see, for instance, that he has not found the work of Comte, Mach, Brentano, or Memong of importance in 126 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY the origin of the movement; similarly, we hear little of the work of the Scandinavian philosophers who have worked in areas of linguistic analysis close to that of Carnap; in current Anglo-American work, he has not dealt with the ontologists who follow Gustav Bergmann, or with the work of the California logicians, or with the work in philosophy of science at Minnesota. No doubt readers from within the logical-empiricist movement will complain of the kinds of selective bias represented in both the organizing topics and the major figures discussed. Some readers may also feel that, although the development of ordinary-language analysis is outside the scope of the study, he has given insufficient attention to the criticisms offered of logical empiricism by that school. The alliance and reciprocal influence of pragmatism and logical empiricism is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 125-127
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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