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Ludwig Boltzmann: His Later Life and Philosophy, 1900-1906

PDF After his failure to replace metaphysics by a linguisticapproach, Ludwig Boltzmann came to identify the philosophy of sciencewith methodology which, in turn, he considered to be part of scienceitself, and thus not part of philosophy at all. His definitionof philosophy as metaphysics meant that, from his point of view,all philosophers were metaphysicians, himself included. Boltzmann the philosopher was advised on the improvement of hisWeltanschauung by Franz Brentano; to such effect that, by thesummer of 1905, Boltzmann appeared to be close to a form of criticalrealism. However, the stronger this realism became, the moreinconsistent it seemed to be with his `Mach plus pictures' methodologyof science. During this period, he planned to write a book, first onmetaphysics and then later on what he called `A prioriprobability' and what he considered to be its shortcomings.Apparently, the book was never completed. All know Boltzmann the great physicist. Much less widely known is thathe was an original philosopher: one who had a great impact on early20th Century Viennese philosophy, beginning with Wittgenstein and theVienna Circle and extending even to Popper and Feyerabend. Blackmore'sdelving into Boltzmann's correspondence, coupled with his unparalleledknowledge of Boltzmann's final years, allows him to present Boltzmannin an entirely new light to readers in the English language. For physicists, philosophers and historians.

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