The tradition they now represent has centered its chief inquiries around the two humble questions, “What do you mean?” and “How do you know?”Herbert Feigl, “Logical Empiricism”
Christian Frankel sent me this quote the other day knowing it would remind me of Wayne Booth’s mythical Oxford tutorials. As a statement of the underlying attitude of the logical positivists, it’s quite nice, and I remember Steve Fuller once telling me that, whatever we may think of positivism as a philosophy of science, positivists were often excellent dissertation supervisors. Indeed, it’s not difficult to see how it might be helpful if your supervisor patiently and insistently asked you mainly, “What do you mean?” and “How do you know?” Imagine having someone give every single one of your paragraphs that treatment!
I’m going to spend some time this weekend reading Feigl and relating his ideas to the issues I’ve been raising this week. Have a great weekend also!