From the Problem of Genius to the Integration of Philosophy, History, and Sociology of Science: Edgar Zilsel’s Life and Work Viewed in the Context of Recent Historiography and Research

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Edgar Zilsel (1891–1944) was a typical outsider for several reasons – as a Jew, socialist, and scholar outside the university aiming at an integrated history, philosophy, and sociology of science from a materialistic point of view. His main publications and research projects in Vienna (on induction and probability, the problem of genius, philosophy in political context) and after his forced migration (on the origins of modern science and the laws of nature and history) are described and analyzed here in their diachronic and synchronic connections and contexts. Even though Zilsel’s projects were left uncompleted for largely external reasons, their underlying continuity and unity can serve as a heuristic tool for interpreting his complex life’s work. Below, a bio-bibliographical sketch of Zilsel from Vienna to the exile years in the USA (with a case study on Zilsel in Harvard 1939) is followed by a survey of research on Zilsel from the 1970s to the present. The conclusion compares Zilsel’s work before, during, and after his Vienna Circle period: despite the criticisms of and extensions to his work (esp. the “Zilsel thesis”), the relevance of his achievements and his unfinished research program stands undiminished.
TitelEdgar Zilsel: Philosopher, Historian, Sociologist
Redakteure*innenDonata Romizi, Elisabeth Nemeth, Monika Wulz
Herausgeber (Verlag)Springer
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-93687-7
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2022


ReiheVienna Circle Institute Yearbook

ÖFOS 2012

  • 603113 Philosophie