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Experience and Prediction / An Analysis of the Foundations and the Structure of Knowledge

Experience and Prediction / An Analysis of the Foundations and the Structure of Knowledge

Hans Reichenbach

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Hans Reichenbach (1891-1953) was a formidable figure in early-twentieth-century philosophy of science. Educated in Germany, he was influential in establishing the so-called Berlin Circle, a companion group to the Vienna Circle founded by his colleague Rudolph Carnap. The movement they founded - usually known as logical positivism - was a form of epistemology that privileged scientific over metaphysical truths. Reichenbach, like other young philosophers of the exact sciences of his generation, was deeply impressed by the far-reaching changes in physics brought about by Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Reichenbach responded to scientific advances by doing fundamental work in space-time theories, in quantum mechanics, in statistical mechanics, and in the development of probability theory - making him the most important philosopher of physics in the first generation of logical empiricism. Reichenbach wrote Experience and Prediction expressly to introduce logical positivism to English speakers. In the two decades following World War II, during the explosion of scientific advances in North America, logical positivism was the reigning theory of the philosophy of science and Reichenbach was at the peak of his career. But, inevitably, support for logical positivism began to wane as it became obvious that the justification of scientific theories could not be entirely resolved by relying on strictly formal, technical processes. Experience and Prediction is available once again, with a new introduction by Alan Richardson.
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