Friedrich Stadler will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Wednesday, April 11, at 12:15 pm. His talk is entitled “Between Philosophy, History, Science, and Literature: Annotated Books from the Library of Otto Neurath.”

In this talk Stadler will present Otto Neurath’s extraordinary life and work, specifically examining the wide range of interests in the context of his “scientific conception of the world,” illustrated by some annotated books from his library located at the Institute Vienna Circle at the University of Vienna. These books, with Neurath’s handwritten comments, cover fields like Ancient philosophy (Plato), history (Oswald Spengler), economics (F.A. von Hayek), science (Darwin), psychoanalysis (Freud), and literature (from Ancient China via Goethe to Stefan Zweig). The selected monographs with annotations uncover the educational background as well as the scientific attitude of a humanist polyhistor and utopian scholar in an age of uncertainty, irrationality, intolerance, and violence culminating in the Shoah.

Despite the different authors and topics, this set of books confirms the scientific attitude (Weltauffassung) of an enlightened and leftist intellectual fighting against totalitarianism in exile. The unexpected early death of Otto Neurath at the end of 1945 raises the question about his possible fate in the emerging Cold War period after the cultural exodus from Germany and Austria.

Friedrich Stadler is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Vienna, Founder and Head of the Vienna Circle Institute, and Guest Professor and Research Fellow at the Humboldt University Berlin, University of Minnesota, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, and University of Tübingen. He is the author of books on Ernst Mach and the Vienna Circle, editor/co-editor of three book series, author of many articles in the fields of intellectual history, history and philosophy of science, and German and Austrian exile studies, and series editor, volume editor, and author of 650 Jahre Universität Wien (4 vlms., 2015). He is President of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society and was awarded the Grand Decoration of Honour of the Austrian Republic (2014), the Honorary Field Memorial Medal Jan Patočka of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (2016), and the George Sarton Medal for History of Science of the University of Ghent (2017).