Rudolf Carnap Biography
(1891–1970), Der Logische Aufbau der Welt, Erkenntnis, Logische Syntax der Sprache, Logical Foundations of Probability
philosopher, born at Ronsdorf in Germany, educated at the universities of Freiburg and Jena. After military service in the First World War he was active within the Vienna Circle and lectured at the University of Vienna from 1926 to 1930, gaining recognition as a leading exponent of logical positivism. His first major work, Der Logische Aufbau der Welt (‘The Logical Structure of the World’), appeared in 1928; the book's insistence on the need to establish direct relations between theoretical statements and areas of immediate experience formed the basis of his doctrine of ‘physicalism’. In 1930 he founded the journal Erkenntnis with Hans Reichenbach, which developed into the principal platform for logical positivism. His profound investigations of abstract logic were extended into linguistic and mathematical territories in Logische Syntax der Sprache (‘The Logical Syntax of Language’) (1934). He held a professorship at the German University of Prague, where he was sought out by W. V. O. Quine, until 1935, when he went to the USA to escape the intellectual constraints of Nazism. In 1941 he became a naturalized US citizen. He was Professor of Philosophy at Chicago from 1935 to 1952 and at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1954 to 1961. From around 1940 onwards he was preoccupied with questions of probability and induction, producing Logical Foundations of Probability, widely regarded as a work of great importance, in 1950. Carnap's flexibility in modifying his somewhat rigid earlier views accorded with the fundamentally humane orientation of his thought, which was characteristically expressed with exemplary clarity and precision. His other works include Formalization of Logic (1943) and Scheinprobleme in der Philosophy (‘Pseudo-Problems in Philosophy’) (1960).