[Marxism] Neurath and Weber

OpenSentence Type Foundry typefoundry at opensentence.org
Fri Nov 28 19:19:18 MST 2003

> Message: 6
> Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2003 17:24:33 -0500
> From: Jim Farmelant <farmelantj at juno.com>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Fascism Today: Rock-Bottom Remainders
> To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> Message-ID: <20031128.172433.228.0.farmelantj at juno.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain 
>> NB: Apropos of the above discussion of the Vienna Circle, it's
> interesting
>> to note that Otto Neurath was an economic minister for the
> *koenigliche*
>> side of the Austrian Soviet Republic, and the Circlers were all fairly
> close
>> to Austro-Marxism: which is perhaps as far as anyone need go, provided
> you
>> can live on sweet things *and* ground is not being taken up as
> described
>> above (such as has occurred in the US with "logical positivism" and its
>> successors; Carnap would be highly unscientific, and a few other choice
>> words, by contemporary subdisciplinary standards).
> Actually, Neurath was a minister for the Soviet Republic of Bavaria.
> After the 1919 German revolution was suppressed, he was put
> on trial for treason by the Weimar government.  Charges against
> him were dropped following intercession by the Austrian government
> and by prominent German academics like his old teacher, Max Weber.

Well, that's an interesting way to put it; obviously I did not have correct 
information ready to hand.  It's true that Weber (and I suspect probably 
alone among academics, since no other academics are mentioned in most 
accounts and championing unpopular individuals like Simmel was a practice of 
Weber's) intervened, but as I remember it the thing was that Neurath was 
simply serving his function as a bureaucrat, not participating in the 
(rather fanciful) Soviets; in other words, there wasn't really anything to 
pin on him except that he hadn't joined the *Freikorps*. 

Furthermore, the *venia legendi* he had earned at Heidelberg in Weber's 
Sociology department was revoked as a result of his action, leading Neurath 
to become a "publicist" of a rather usual sort (the International 
Encyclopedia of Unified Science, though the original volumes contained many 
fine pieces and Kuhn's *Structure of Scientific Revolutions* would be 
published in a later version, didn't really need to exist to serve an 
imploding European academic world and a suspicious American audience).  So I 
suspect it wasn't quite the "national academic rescue mission" you make it 
out to be. 

Jeff Rubard 

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