The Herbert Feigl Collection (Microfilm)
363 Hillman Library
3960 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: (412) 648-8190
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Herbert Feigl was born in 1902 in Reichenberg, Bohemia. He studied mathematics, physics, psychology, and philosophy at the Universities of Munich and Vienna. In 1927 he received his doctorate from the University of Vienna for a dissertation on the foundations of probability and induction in the exact sciences.
From 1925 to 1930 Feigl was an important member of the Vienna Circle. It was then that he became closely associated with Carnap, Frank, Schlick, Reichenbach, Waismann, Wittgenstein, and many other leading philosophers. Feigl lectured on astronomy and the philosophy of science at the Vienna People's Institute from 1927 to 1930. In 1929 his book Theorie und Erfahrung in der Physik (Theory and Experience in Physics) won approval from Albert Einstein. The following year he went to Harvard on an International Rockefeller Fellowship to work on the logical foundations of physics.
In 1931 Feigl joined the Philosophy Department at the University of Iowa as a lecturer, and in 1941 he accepted an appointment as professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota. He was subsequently appointed Director of the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science, a position he held until his death in 1989.
Feigl was a leading proponent of logical positivism. He also made significant contributions in the field of contemporary materialism. Unlike many other philosophers, Feigl considered materialism a tenable position. In his work on the central-state theory of materialism, he made extensive use of advances in physiological psychology.
The Herbert Feigl Collection consists mostly of correspondence and manuscripts. Feigl's correspondence includes exchanges with Bar-Hillel, Carnap, Einstein, Frank, Hempel, Hook, Neurath, Oppenheim, Reichenbach, Russell, and other twentieth century thinkers. The correspondence not only provides valuable information on Feigl's views but also serves as important documentation of others' philosophical development. The collection contains manuscripts of important articles by Born, Carnap, Oppenheim, Popper, Reichenbach, Stegmüller, and others. In addition, there are notes, lectures, and other papers. Feigl's notes cover various topics in the natural sciences, mathematics, and philosophy. Many of his published and unpublished lectures and papers deal with social issues and philosophical problems in psychology. An inventory to the collection is available both in hard copy and online.
The original Feigl Collection is housed at the University of Minnesota, which reserves all rights and must approve requests to quote from or publish material in it. The Archives of Scientific Philosophy and the Philosophisches Archiv at the Universität Konstanz, Germany, possess microfilms of the entire collection. This arrangement is made possible by a cooperative agreement between the University of Pittsburgh and the Universität Konstanz, with generous support from the Minnesota Center for the Philosophy of Science.