Felicitology: Neurath’s Naturalization of Ethics
In this article, I aim to reconstruct Otto Neurath’s naturalistic program for practical philosophy. This program, which he calls “felicitology,” was intended as a version of ethics suitable for the “scientific worldview” of the logical empiricists. I begin by situating Neurath’s ethical concerns in the context of the debate between his fellow Austro-Marxists and the Marburg neo-Kantians. I then show why, contrary to many logical empiricists, Neurath thought that ethical considerations had an important role to play in scientific inquiry. I argue that this conclusion follows from his contribution to the protocol-sentence debate of the early 1930s. Finally, I show how Neurath’s advocacy of unified science, democratic socialism, a world economy, and his method of visual learning all relate to his program for felicitology.
HOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science