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The heritage of the Vienna circle: the revival of empiricism through the assimilation of metaphysics

Kulandina, Yavgeniy
This thesis aims to examine whether one can establish an evaluative account that can be efficiently applicable to the actual scientific practice. In this regard, the heritage of the Vienna Circle, particularly its ‘radical’ elaboration of empiricism implemented through the rejection of metaphysics, is taken as the starting point of analysis. Setting aside the limitations of the standard interpretation of the Vienna Circle, the heuristic aspects of Otto Neurath’s non-foundationalism are examined and further assessed through Willard van Orman Quine’s naturalism. It is inferred from this analysis that the tension between Neurath's non-foundationalism and his anti-metaphysical attitude remains as a restriction to the basic aim of this thesis. Thus, it is conjectured that certain metaphysical assumptions are indispensable for an adequate empiricist account of scientific activity. In this respect, it is put forward that a reconceptualization of the verifiability together with Neurath’s account of protocol statements can allow to establish an effective non-foundationalist account, not ignorant to the heuristic value of metaphysics in science.