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Carnap in French

Pierre Wagner, Professeur des Universités at Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne), has brought out Der Raum in French.  This was a long struggle, but is now brought to a triumphant conclusion, as the book was actually reviewed in the book supplement of Le Monde — the equivalent of getting it into the TLS or New York Review of Books.  Pierre’s long efforts, going back twenty years or more, to bring logical empiricism back to some sort of respectability in France, are finally paying off.  I won’t list his publications here (you can look them up on his website), but he’s also held a number of conferences in Paris, and, most relevantly to the current book, a fabulous two-day workshop in 2010 on Der Raum at the French cultural center on the Währingerstraße in Vienna, at which we just sat around and talked, without any papers being given at all; the main texts were the first draft of Michael Friedman’s notes on Der Raum (for volume 1 of the Carnap edition, now getting close to publication) and a long e-mail by Howard Stein commenting on some passages from Michael’s notes.

Pierre was a student of Jacques Bouveresse, most recently a professor at the Collège de France, and one of the first to introduce not only Carnap but also Wittgenstein to the attention of French philosophers. Pierre tells me that Bouveresse at certain times had fifty or sixty (I’m spelling this out so you won’t think it’s a typo!) research students at a time because if you wanted to do analytic philosophy at the time, there was no one else to go to.  That situation, at least (due at least partly to Pierre’s own efforts) has improved considerably!


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