Kraft Circle

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The Kraft Circle was a student society of philosophers at the Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung of the University of Vienna devoted to "considering philosophical problems in a nonmetaphysical manner and with special reference to the findings of the sciences".[1] Its chairman and leading professor was Viktor Kraft, a former associate of the Vienna Circle, to which the Kraft Circle is sometimes viewed as a post-Second World War extension. The Circle was a part of the Austrian College Society founded in 1945 by Austrian resistance fighters.[2]

The club was founded in 1949 by science and engineering students interested in the philosophical foundations of their disciplines. In the first year Ludwig Wittgenstein gave a talk.[3] The members were mainly students, but there were occasional faculty attendees and even "foreign dignitaries" made appearances.[4] Meetings of the circle took place during the academic year, while international meetings of the Austrian College Society took place during the summer at Alpbach. The circle disbanded in 1952/53. Feyerabend's paper "An Attempt at a Realistic Interpretation of Experience" (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society [1958]) is "a condensed version of the discussions in the Kraft Circle".[5]



  1. ^ Paul Feyerabend, “Herbert Feigl: A Biographical Sketch”, in P. K. Feyerabend and Grover Maxwell (eds.), Mind, Matter, and Method: Essays in Philosophy and Science in Honor of Herbert Feigl (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1966), 1–2, quoted in Preston 2009.
  2. ^ An early leader was Otto Molden, brother of Fritz Molden of publishing house fame (Feyerabend 1988, 274).
  3. ^ He "took a long time to make up his mind and then appeared over an hour later [and] gave a spirited performance and seemed to prefer our disrespectful attitude to the fawning admiration he encountered elsewhere" (Feyerabend 1988, 274).
  4. ^ Feyerabend 1988, 274, lists the Hungarian Béla Juhos, the Austrians Erich Heintel and Walter Hollitscher, the Finn Georg Henrik von Wright and the Englishwoman G. E. M. Anscombe.
  5. ^ Preston 2009.
  6. ^ He "met members of our circle at the astronomical observatory and later became a guru of dissident or pseudo-dissident scientists, trying to use old traditions to new purposes" (Feyerabend 1988, 274 n.2).


  • Paul Feyerabend. Against Method. Revised edition. London: Verso, 1988.
  • John Preston. "Paul Feyerabend". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Published 1 June 2009.