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Rudolf Carnap


Rudolf Carnap (May 18, 1891 – September 14, 1970) was an influential German-born philosopher who was active in Europe before 1935 and in the United States thereafter. He was a major member of the Vienna Circle and an advocate of logical positivism.

In his Intellectual Autobiography, he summarized his views (which he shared with other members of the Vienna Circle) this way:

"I think that nearly all of us shared the following three views as a matter of course which hardly needed any discussion. The first is the view that man has no supernatural protectors or enemies and that therefore whatever can be done to improve life is the task of man himself. Second, we had the conviction that mankind is able to change the conditions of life in such a way that many of the sufferings of today may be avoided and that the external and the internal situation of life for the individual, the community, and finally for humanity will be essentially improved. The third is the view that all deliberate action presupposes knowledge of the world, that the scientific method is the best method of acquiring knowledge and that therefore science must be regarded as one of the most valuable instruments for the improvement of life. In Vienna we had no names for these views; if we look for a brief designation in American terminology for the combination of these three convictions, the best would seem to be "scientific humanism"" --JimFarmelant (talk) 12:51, 20 August 2017 (UTC)


1.) R. Carnap: Intellectual Autobiography. in: P. A. Schilpp (editor): The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap. Cambridge University Press, La Salle (Illinois) 1963.

2.) Martin Gardner said "Carnap was an atheist..." A Mind at Play: An Interview with Martin Gardner, by Kendrick Frazier, Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 1998 (Accessed July 2, 2007).

3.) "Carnap had a modest but deeply religious family background, which might explain why, although he later became an atheist, he maintained a respectful and tolerant attitude in matters of faith throughout his life." Buldt, Bernd: "Carnap, Paul Rudolf", Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography Vol. 20 p.43. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008.

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