Utopianism, Rationality, and Thought Experiments in Viennese Late Enlightenment

June 14, 2023
Institute Vienna Circle, University of Vienna



Johannes Kepler University of Linz
University of Economics, Vienna
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina


University of Vienna
Johannes Kepler University of Linz
University of Vienna
University of Vienna
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

Topic areas

Talks at this conference

Add a talk


Addendum to the International Conference „International Planning for Freedom“. Otto Neurath's democratic planning theory in the context of the current climate crisis:

Institute Vienna Circle Philosophy of Science Colloquium Special Panel:

Utopianism, Rationality, and Thought Experiments in Viennese Late Enlightenment

June 14th, 1500-1700
tba, Vienna

Contact: [email protected]

15:05 Introduction
Alexander Linsbichler (Johannes Kepler University Linz and University of Vienna)
15:20 Otto Neurath's Scientific Utopianism as Thought Experimenting
Ivan F. da Cunha (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina)
15:40 Josef Popper-Lynkeus's Utopian Social Program as Universal Basic Income
Marco P. Vianna Franco (WU Vienna University of Economics and Business)
16:00 Break
16:10 Discussion

The panel highlights and critically discusses ideas of the two most prominent protagonists of scientific utopianism in Viennese Late Enlightenment: Otto Neurath and Josef Popper-Lynkeus. Particular attention will be paid to the following themes: 1) Neurath’s and (to a lesser degree) Popper-Lynkeus’s epistemology invokes a cautionary notion of rationality. 2) Neurath’s notion of rationality and his strict empiricism inspire a constructive refinement of Häggqvist’s template for thought experiment in contemporary philosophy of thought experiments. 3) Popper-Lynkeus’s social program pioneers topical issues such as calculation-in-kind and universal basic income.
In the first talk, Ivan F. da Cunha will offer a presentation of Otto Neurath's scientific utopianism as a methodology for thought experimenting in the social sciences. Neurath conceives scientific proposals for the transformation of society in a continuum with the utopian tradition. In this sense, Neurath's utopias can be regarded as centerpieces of thought experiments, opening a new front for contemporary discussions in philosophy of science.
In the second talk, Marco Vianna Franco will present Josef Popper-Lynkeus's utopian social program as a peculiar form of universal basic income and discuss the underlying ethics which centers on the right to live and which Popper-Lynkeus claims to be rational and objective. Popper-Lynkeus's contribution to debates on in-kind accounting and provisioning systems bears broader implications for social and environmental issues in contemporary economic and political thinking.

Selected References

  • Cunha, I.F. (2022). Objectivity in social inquiry: a discussion between pragmatism and logical empiricism. Cognitio 23(1): e56666. https://dx.doi.org/10.23925/2316-5278.2022v23i1:e56666
  • Cunha, I.F. (2022). Experimentos de Pensamento na Crise das Ciências Humanas e Sociais: Articulando Duas Ideias de Kuhn e o Utopianismo de Neurath. Em Construção 11: 73-85. https://dx.doi.org/10.12957/emconstrucao.2022.65663
  • Cunha, I. F. d., Linsbichler, A. (2023). Ciência, Imaginação e Valores na Virada Energética Alemã: um exemplo da metodologia de Neurath para a tecnologia social, manuscript.
  • Linsbichler, A. (2021). Rationalities and Their Limits: Reconstructing Neurath’s and Mises’s Prerequisites in the Early Socialist Calculation Debates, Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology (RHETM), 39B, pp. 95-128. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0743-41542021000039B008
  • Linsbichler, A. (2021). Viennese Late Enlightenment and the Early Socialist Calculation Debates: Rationalities and Their Limits. Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series, 2021-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3904011
  • Linsbichler, A. (2022). Otto Neurath and Ludwig Mises: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics in Viennese Late Enlightenment, Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 14(2), pp. 204-210. https://doi.org/10.23941/ejpe.v14i2.623
  • Linsbichler, A. (2023). Jan Tinbergen and the Rise of Technocracy, in: F. Stadler (ed.), Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle. 100 Years After the ‘Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus’. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 28 (pp. 597-604), Springer, Wien, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-07789-0_19
  • Linsbichler, A., Cunha, I. F. (2022). Otto Neurath’s Scientific Utopianism Revisited: A Refined Model for Utopias in Thought Experiments, Journal for General Philosophy of Science, online first. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10838-022-09630-5
  • Linsbichler, A., Vianna Franco, M. P. (2023). Universal Basic Income in Viennese Late Enlightenment: rediscovering Josef Popper-Lynkeus and his in-kind social program, manuscript.
  • Vianna Franco, M. P. (2020). The factual nature of resource flow accounting in the calculation in kind of the “Other Austrian Economics”. OEconomia – History / Methodology / Philosophy, 10(3), 453-472. https://doi.org/10.4000/oeconomia.9296
  • Vianna Franco, M. P., Missemer, A. (2022). A History of Ecological Economic Thought. London & New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429345623

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)




Who is attending?

No one has said they will attend yet.

Will you attend this event?

Let us know so we can notify you of any change of plan.