Enrico Viola

The Ideological Dimension of Neopositivism

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Neopositivism, Enlightenment, Ideology, Neutralism, Historicism.

Several historical sources point at the proximity of Neopositivism to social Enlightenment as diversely expressed by central European modernist movements between the two Wars. Yet the conceptual formalism and the political neutrality held by the majority of Neopositivists suggest the more traditional view according to which the movement is detached from societal issues. In this paper I revise some of the most recent literature on the ideological dimension of Neopositivism and try to show that the apparent conflict outlined above can be solved by thoroughly analyzing the specific Enlightenment conceptions held by the movement. Specifically, the politically neutral scientific formalism of Neopositivism was conceived as a necessary toolkit for autonomous critical thinking and thus, indirectly, for the achievement of the Enlightenment ideal of emancipation.

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