Rudolf Carnap | 1891 - 1970
The collected works
Rudolf Carnap was one of the most important philosophers in the 20th century. W.V.O. Quine, one of Carnap’s sternest critics, summed up his career as follows:
Carnap is a towering figure. I see him as the dominant figure in philosophy from the 1930’s onward, as Russell had been in the decades before. . . .[His Logical Syntax] was the main inspiration of young scientific philosophers. It was the definitive work at the center, from which the waves of tracts and popularizations issued in ever widening circles. (“Homage to Carnap”, 1971)
By the end of Carnap’s life, few philosophers knew firsthand of his importance or of his early work, and many of his works went out of print. But by 1980 a group of philosophers using historical methods began to rediscover and reevaluate Carnap’s philosophy. Soon they realized that if their work was to proceed, and if the larger philosophic community were fully to appreciate Carnap’s ideas, the full range of his work would have to become available once again.
Thus, the Carnap Project, to produce The Collected Works of Rudolf Carnap, was born. It will contain in 14 volumes all of the works that Carnap authorized for publication in his lifetime. All works will appear in English and also in the original language where that is different. Many works will be translated anew, and introductions by distinguished scholars will make the work accessible to a contemporary audience. Oxford University Press, in cooperation with an international Editorial Board headed by Richard Creath, will publish the Collected Works.
Photo: Courtesy of the University of California, Los Angeles