From 'The Life of The Present' to the 'Icy Slopes of Logic':

How the Cold War Killed Logical Empiricism

 

George Reisch

Independent Scholar

Visiting Research Professor of Philosophy

IIT

Draft:April 16, 2001

 

 

“The scientific world-conception is close to the life of the present. Certainly it is threatened with hard struggles and hostility. Nevertheless there are many who do not despair but, in view of the present sociological situation, look forward with hope to the course of events to come. Of course not every single adherent of the scientific world-conception will be a fighter.  Some glad of solitude, will lead a withdrawn existence on the icy slopes of logic...”

 

Otto Neurath, Rudolf Carnap, Hans Hahn,

from the Vienna Circle's manifesto,

Wissenschaftliche Weltauffasung[ref]

 

A New Question about Logical Empiricism

            The question Why did logical empiricism fail in the 1950s and 60s? is less telling than the question Why did logical empiricism disappear in those decades?  Whether it was a coherent and workable philosophical project (given, say, Kuhn's and Quine's famous attacks), questions remain about whether philosophers of science, for whatever reasons, chose to pursue logical empiricism after the war.  I will argue here that those who were in positions to lead logical empiricism into the postwar world, and through the decades of the cold war, effectively chose not to.  And their decisions, at least in part, were political.

            To make this case, I will review the origins of logical empiricism, its philosophical and political agendas, and its scientific agenda for unification of the sciences under Otto Neurath's unity of science movement.  Next, I will examine its reception among the New York circle of philosophers and intellectuals--one that documents the political vitality of logical empiricism after its emigration until roughly 1939.  That year marks the beginning of the end.  World War II slows the movement and inaugurates the cold war.  Responding to Stalin and the behavior of American communists, the New York philosophers who first embraced Neurath's movement become increasingly anti-totalitarian and, for some, the unity of science movement is itself a target.  As the nation's climate develops in the same, conservative, anti-totalitarian direction, the socialistic values and goals that inspired the unity-movement become increasingly unfashionable and dangerous to espouse.

            Using the research of Ellen Schrecker, I will recount how difficult intellectual life was in the nation's universities for left-leaning academics during the cold war.  Then I will consider these circumstances from the points of view of Charles Morris and Rudolf Carnap, who led the unity of science movement with Neurath until his death in late 1945.  They were in a position to lead the movement into the postwar career they had planned for it.  But, as the cold war's chill set in, their enthusiasm waned and the movement was moribund.  Although Philipp Frank revived the movement for the first half of the 1950s, the revival was short-lived because philosophical and political times had changed.  The movement's values, socio-political goals and well-known affinities with Marxism (as well as Neurath's personal reputation) had given it a “communistic” reputation at time when no such institution could easily operate.  In the 1960s, when Quine and Kuhn (allegedly) killed logical empiricism, it was known as an apolitical, philosophical program.  But it had by then already died, a casualty of the cold war, after thriving for two decades in Vienna and (briefly) in America as a project at once philosophical, modernist and socialist.

 

Emigration of the Vienna Circle

            When logical empiricists emigrated to the United States from Vienna and Germany in the 1930s, the main philosophical tenets of logical empiricism--strict empiricism; rejection of the synthetic apriori; the identification and elimination of metaphysics; and its view of philosophy as a tool of analysis and not a source of knowledge--were joined to a constructive scientific project that Neurath called “unified science.”  As Neurath, Carnap and Hahn put it in their manifesto, Wissenschaftliche Weltaufassung,

the goal ahead is unified science.  The endeavour is to link and harmonise the achievements of individual investigators in their various fields of science.  From this aim follows the emphasis on collective efforts, and also the emphasis on what can be grasped intersubjectively; from this springs the search for a neutral system of formulae, for a symbolism freed from the slag of historical languages.  Neatness and clarity are striven for, and dark distances and unfathomable depths rejected.(306)

 

As historians have recently shown, the circle was aiming to reform science just as other movements were modernizing architecture, education, and promoting social and economic planning using scientific tools. [1]  The Vienna Circle reached to these groups, to “the living movements of the present,” because they believed that “the spirit of the scientific world conception” was unifying these trends and driving them toward “historic”(317) results.  The overall project of logical empiricism was never only philosophical.  The Vienna Circle waved the banner of Enlightenment: “The Scientific World-Conception serves life, and life receives it.”(318)

            If the founding book of logical empiricism as an epistemological project is Carnap's Logische Aufbau der Welt, in which all sciences from physics to sociology can be reconstructed upon a unifying empirical basis, the enlightenment ambitions of logical empiricism came from Otto Neurath.  He championed unification of the sciences because, as an economist and sociologist, he believed science could improve life and stabilize economies.  Ideally, the tools of the different sciences should work together; theories needed to be consistent and specifiable with a common jargon or “universal slang”, as Neurath put it. 

            An activist as well as an intellect, Neurath led his unity of science movement from the early 1930s until his death in late 1945.  It consisted of the monograph-series the International Encyclopedia of Unified Science  published by the University of Chicago Press and edited by Neurath, Carnap and Morris; a series of International Congresses for the Unity of Science held annually in Europe and the U.S. from 1934 to 1941; a new Journal of Unified Science (to succeed Erkenntnis, the main voice of logical empiricism in Europe); and a new book-series, the Library of Unified Science.  A forum devoted to unity-of-science issues also appeared in Synthese.  Most publicity outside of academic circles was handled by Neurath's cousin, Waldemar Kaempffert, a science writer for the New York Times who covered the movement and its flagship, the new Encyclopedia.[refs]

            Beginning in roughly 1935, the movement operated jointly from Chicago where Morris and, by 1936, Carnap taught at the University of Chicago and from The Hague where Neurath, after fleeing Vienna, had established his Institute for the Unity of Science and his International Foundation for Visual Education (from which he promoted his ISOTYPE system of international symbols and their use in museums and public exhibitions).  The movement was unofficially rooted also in New York City where logical empiricist refugees Carl Hempel and Hans Reichenbach found work at the City Colleges and the New School for Social Research.  In place of the weekly meetings in Vienna and those of Reichenbach's group in Berlin, the Society for Empirical Philosophy [?], the movement helped maintain the social and intellectual relations of the logical empiricists in America. [2]

            New York also had a vibrant intellectual scene that welcomed logical empiricism with open arms.  In part, this was because intellectual life in America, especially in New York City of the 1930s, was as politicized, and as leftist, as it was in Vienna of the 1920s.  As Robert Warshow put it, “virtually all intellectual vitality was derived...from the Communist Party:”

If you were not somewhere within the party's wide orbit, then you were likely to be in the opposition, which meant that much of your thought and energy had to be diverted to maintaining yourself in opposition.(Commentary, Dec. 1947. Quoted in Hook, 1987, 136)

 

This was truest in New York City, where intellectual life was dominated by the so-called New York Intellectuals.  They taught philosophy (as did John Dewey, Sidney Hook, Ernest Nagel and Meyer Schapiro) or literary history and criticism (as did Lionel Trilling, Edmund White and Granville Hicks) or they were writers (such as James T. Farrell and John Dos Passos), visual artists or poets. 

            The journal Partisan Review (PR) was a main organ for these intellectuals, their counterpart to the unity of science movement's Encyclopedia and Journal of Unified Science.  PR was founded by young, cosmopolitan and Jewish intellectuals, eager to make a name for themselves and escape the parochial, ethnic backgrounds of their youth.  Their intellectual and political values (especially those of the main editors, William Philips, Philip Rahv and Dwight McDonald) ran parallel to the Vienna Circle's.  Both groups prized cosmopolitanism and internationalism, both detested fascism, and both envisioned modern life suffused with intellectual values.  The main difference was that where the Vienna Circle envisioned modern life built around a scaffold of science and metaphysics-free rationality, the PR-circle envisioned life that was socialistic and literary.  They did not reject science, however.  They embraced it mainly by way of (selectively) accepting Marxism as a powerful, unifying theory that could make sense of life's complexities.(Cooney, 62)  For the PR circle of the early 1930s, the ideal future would be international, socialistic, scientific and literary.  Like many writers and intellectuals, they believed such a utopia was taking shape in Stalin's Soviet Union.

            The philosophical wing of the New York scene--Dewey, Sidney Hook, Ernest Nagel, Meyer Schapiro, and Horace Kallen--warmly received logical empiricism and the unity of science movement.  Ernest Nagel was Neurath's main contact when Neurath visited in Autumn, 1936.  The two had corresponded since 1934 and Nagel had visited Neurath in Holland in 1935.  Like Charles Morris, who also visited Europe to make contact with the new developments in philosophy, Nagel was young and slightly star-struck.  He profusely thanked Neurath when writing him goodbye from Paris, thrilled to have become friends with “the various men whose writings I have been reading since I have come to intellectual maturity.”(Nagel to Neurath, July 23, '35, Noord Holland) 

            When Neurath arrived in New York, Nagel provided the necessary introductions.  After one Saturday-evening gathering of philosophers in October of 1936, Neurath asked Nagel for a rundown of those Neurath had met.   Knowing that he was always on the lookout for talent he might enlist in the movement, Nagel replied with thumbnail sketches of Hook, Schapiro, and Abraham Edel (“The above three men are particularly good friends of mine”) as well as J.V. McGill, Y. Krikorian, Daniel Bronstein, Albert Hoftstadter, William Gruen, Phillip Wiener, Herbert Schneider, John Herman Randall, Jr., Horace Friess and John Allen Irving.  He described their academic specialties, their degrees of “sympathy with a throroughgoing empiricism” and the extent and prestige of their publications.  He also explicitly addressed their politics and ethnic backgrounds: some were “liberal with socialist leanings”; one had “materialist leanings;” one had “some sympathy with some of the practical achievements of Italian fascism.”  Most “were Jewish and I think without exception have left sympathies in politics.”(Nagel to Neurath, Oct. 13 1936, Noord Holland)

            Neurath had little trouble winning support and affection in this openly politicized philosophical scene.  Besides convincing a skeptical John Dewey to write for the new encyclopedia (by turning on his famous charm, raising his right hand and pledging that the representatives of the unity of science movement “do not believe in atomic propositions”(ref: Hollinger; Edel), Neurath became fast friends with Horace Kallen and Sidney Hook.  Both men, especially Hook, would become vigorous and outspoken foes of communism and totalitarianism.  For now, they treated Neurath as a respected colleague.  Hook offered to help translate and publish some of his writings, attempted (with Nagel) to find Neurath a position at the New School, and later sent Neurath money, as many others did, when he was interned in England after fleeing Holland.(N to Hook, 14 sept. 1941, Noord Holland)[check nagel]   Like Neurath, Hook was extremely busy with many different projects:

I am trying to write a book on Dewey in 6 weeks, save America from Fascism, and our 'cultural life' from Stalinism, to organize the Commission for Cultural Freedom [see below] into a mass organization, etc. etc.

 

After Hook pulled this letter to Neurath from his typewriter, he penned an affectionate apology that documents Neurath's acceptance among the New Yorkers:

Please do not judge the warmth of my affection by the length of this letter. We talk about you here in New York often and regard you as one very close to us indeed.(Hook to Neurath, June 27 1939, Noord Holland,  F249)

 

This “we” probably extended beyond the New York philosophers into the larger circle of intellectuals.  In 1939, for example, Neurath exchanged letters with novelist James T. Farrell who had asked Neurath about the fashionable theory that Nietzsche had paved the way for the rise of nazism.(NHolland, f233, F to N, 4-16-39; N to F, 7-5-39)  There was no two-culture divide between the scientistic Neurath and this New York novelist.

            Morris and Carnap were also respected and admired in New York.  Morris maintained a regular correspondence with Dewey and met often with Kallen, Hook and Nagel before and during the war. (e.g. M to N, march 3 1940; M to N Jan 24 1940; M to N, Jan 31 43; all Noord Holland)  Carnap corresponded professionally with Dewey (though they never came to agreement over the status of ethical propositions(ref)), became friends with Hook and Meyer Schapiro (Nagel to Neurath, Oct. 13 '36 Noord Holland) and, when Carnap taught at Harvard in the Summer of 1936, one of his students was the William Gruen whom Nagel had later sketched for Neurath: he “regards himself as a logical positivist”.(ref)

 

Institutional Connections: New York and Chicago

            These personal connections naturally created institutional connections between the New York scene and Neurath's unity of science movement.  In 1939, Gruen wrote a substantial piece in Partisan Review titled “What is Logical Empiricism?” which suggests how the New Yorkers accepted and embraced logical empiricism.  First, Gruen saw the movement as overtly political.  The new encyclopedia, for example, would be “a cooperative work which promises to be one of the most important events in modern intellectual history” in part because “the philosophy of unified science has special bearing on social problems.”

It widens the domain of scientific method to embrace all intellectual and practical enterprise.  And in its anti-metaphysical methodology it constitutes a challenge not merely to traditional, speculative philosophy, but to every form of transcendentalism in the social sciences.(65)

 

In Gruen's eyes, the new philosophy of science could do no wrong.  It could clean Marxism's stables of the “metaphysical conceptions” lurking within dialectical materialism and it could sharpen tools of literary criticism.(66, 68-9, 72)  If Marxists brushed up on their physicalism, and art critics were better acquainted with logical reducibility of statements to observables, he explained, then logical empiricism's “full advantages” could find “realization in the field of esthetics, ethics, and political thought.”(77)  For Gruen, the goals and methods of the unity of science movement and the marxist, literary ambitions of Partisan Review were fully aligned.

            Several issues later, editor Philipp Rahv raised again this issue of dialectical materialism.  As if borrowing from Carnap's or Neurath's early and radical comments about ethics, Rahv attacked the metaphysical core of Marxist history for being “in no sense subject to experimental verification.”  Dialectical materialism “in the writings of the classic Marxists...functions not as scientific method but as a source of metaphors.”(178-9)  Though others were ready to dismiss Marxism, Rahv defended it.  Its basic (empirical) theories “have retained their vitality.”(179)  There was only some “diseased tissue” that “scientifically minded”(198) criticism needed to cut away.

            The unity of science movement also starred in an article addressing the general semantics movement of the 1930s.  Authors Albert Wohlstetter and M.G. White reviewed the writings of  S.I. Hayakawa, Alfred Korzybski, [?] Chase, and others to argue that these popularizers were mere “amateurs in semantics”(51) offering it “as a more or less get-rich-quick scheme for intellectual success in the social sciences.”(51)  “Serious exponents of the study of meaning,” on the other hand, “are concentrated for the most part in the Unity of Science Movement.”(52)  Carnap, Tarski, Llukasiewicz, Philipp Frank and Joseph Woodger were the real “friends of semantics,” while the pretenders “have not advanced social science one whit by their inept exploitation of the theory of meaning.”(57)

            Logical empiricism and the unity of science movement debuted in the pages of PR as a project to be admired, emulated, and utilized for advancing criticism, philosophy, and social science.  In turn, several of the New York philosophers besides Dewey, who actually contributed twice, accepted Neurath's invitations to write monographs for the new encyclopedia.  Nagel wrote on probability and, in a few years, Meyer Schapiro was on board to write a monograph about art and literary criticism. [3]

 

Common Enemies

 

            Morris had made the  University of Chicago a center of the movement, but it was also the home of a countermovement led by Mortimer Adler and university president Robert Maynard Hutchins.  (Morris, in fact, owed his position at Chicago to several vacancies created by resignations over Hutchins' hiring of Adler.)  Hutchins and Adler had a quite different vision of education and civilization in the modern world than the logical empiricists and the New Yorkers.   These promoters of “great books” education upheld a naive view of science as an objective and value-less enterprise.  Were science and scientific thinking to become a basis for modern life, they reasoned, civilization would soon plainly careen into barbarism and meaninglessness.  Society therefore needed to rest on a bedrock of metaphysics which the two claimed to have found in Thomism.  Allying themselves with catholic philosophers and theologians (much to the puzzlement of Chicago's philosophy department, considering, at least, that Adler was jewish), the two crusaded within and without the university (in the media and adult education, for example) for neo-Thomism. (ref: McNiell)

            A mutual lack of respect between these groups smoldered until, in 1940, they exploded on two fronts.  First, in March, Bertrand Russell lost his job at the City Colleges of New York before it had even started.  A duo of lawsuits and a devoutly catholic judge (who cited some of Russell's infamous comments (mainly in Marriage and Morals [ref]) about adultery, homosexuality and masturbation) decided that Russell's appointment was invalid and “an insult to the people of the City of New York.”(in D&K, 225)

            The New York philosophers were enraged but they could not save Russell's position.  Dewey and Kallen assembled and edited a book, The Bertrand Russell Case (Dewey and Kallen, eds. 1941) in which Hook's growing militancy against totalitarianism and authoritarianism was given pride of place in the book's closing chapter.  Under the title “The General Pattern”, Hook insisted that the Russell case was only one instance of a larger creep of authoritarianism and totalitarianism in America, “particularly with reference to education”(188),  the net aim of which is to erase separation of church and state.  Secularism was under siege and the “spearpoint” of the attack was “the Catholic Church.”197  Citing several instances of bullying and suppression of opinions on the part of the church, Hook also turned to Adler and Hutchins specifically to accuse them of assisting “a widespread and subtle campaign” to

 

persuade the American people that the basic values and attitudes of our democratic way of life may not be able to withstand the attacks of totalitarianism, from without and within, unless they are fortified by supernatural sanctions.198

 

The logical empiricist critique of metaphysics and “supernatural sanctions” was made to order for Hook's campaign against this strategy .  And the dominant forms of the unity of science thesis--Carnap's, that arrayed the sciences in an ascending hierarchy physics; chemistry; biology; and social sciences; or Neurath's that eschewed hierarchy and placed the sciences merely (but essentially) in a common, “physicalistic” (read: empirical) plane--further blocked Adlers and Hutchins' claims that Thomistic ethics and politics were epistemically “superior” to mere empirical sciences of nature.(see Hook, D&K, 204; reisch 1995)

            Hook and others in New York would soon utilize these conceptual weapons.  Adler, perhaps encouraged by the outcome of the Russell Case, turned the heat up later that year.  In a talk titled “God and the Professors”[ref], Adler laid the blame for civilization's ills at the feet of professors nearly all of whom, Adler charged, were drunk with “positivism” and “naturalism.”  At a time when fear of fascism in Germany was at its peak, Adler could not have chosen more provocative terms for his attack:

 

The most serious threat to democracy is the positivism of its professors, which dominates every aspect of modern education and is the central corruption of modern culture.  Democracy has much more to fear from the mentality of its teachers than from the nihilism of Hitler. (quoted in Hook, 336)

 

From the vantage of Manhattan, Morris and Carnap were stationed on the front lines of this battle.  Shortly after Adler's speech, Hook warned Morris that his job was probably in danger.  After all, Adler had urged “liquidating” the guilty professors.  “The implications of that speech are unmistakable,” Hook wrote as he urged Morris to “to take the offensive.  Now is the psychological time for it.” (Hook to Morris, Dec. 19, 1940, IUPUI; note “apriorists” letter Dewey to Morris, 37, iupui)

            Morris did not heed Hook's battle call.  As we shall see, Morris tended to shy away from controversy.  Instead, Hook organized his own response to Adler and other totalitarians in the form of a symposium in Partisan Review in 1943.  Titled “The New Failure of Nerve,” it featured articles by Hook, Dewey and Nagel in support of Hook's main countercharge: the anti-naturalist and theological critics of science and scientific philosophy were running scared. [4] Dewey's article, “Anti-Naturalism in Extremis,” supported Hooks' thesis and criticized the anti-naturalists for losing faith in “human capacities”(33) and peddling “escapism and humanistic defeatism”(39).  Nagel, in turn, defended the unity of science against the ontological dualism of the neo-Thomists and seconded Dewey's suggestion that the main spring behind anti-naturalism was psychological:

 

In the midst of actual and impending disaster, men are inclined to listen to any voice speaking with sufficient authority; and during periods of social crisis, when rational methods of inquiry supply no immediate solutions for pressing problems, spokesmen for institutional and philosophic theologies find a ready audience for systematic disparagement of the achievements of empirical science.(41)

 

As a result, “good sense has been sacrificed to ... malice.”

            In the late 1930s and into the 1940s, therefore, the unity of science movement was allied with the New York philosophers.  They shared in their fight against critics of science and scientific philosophy; they collaborated in an explicitly politicized intellectual mileau where boundaries between technical philosophy of science and partisan social analyses and politics were blurred; and, given the overlapping agendas and roster of writers for the new Encyclopedia and Partisan Review, the movement happily fell into a situation where humanists, writers and critics were actively reaching for the epistemological sophistication and rigor that the Vienna Circle had earlier promoted for all areas of life.  Contrary to at least two accounts that see logical empiricism faltering and abruptly changing as it emigrated to an unfamiliar intellectual and less political cultural mileau, the logical empiricists and the unity movement initially thrived in the company of the New Yorkers. [5]  The movement was also a commercial success, as sales of the first several encyclopedia-monographs quickly surpassed the editors' and the publisher's expectations.[see Reisch 1995]

 

Neurath, Carnap, and Morris: Politics before the Cold War

            It was no surprise to contemporaries that the logical empiricists were politically positioned and vocal.  “All of us in the [Vienna] Circle,” Carnap recollected in his autobiography, “were strongly interested in social and political progress.  Most of us, myself included, were socialists.”(23 autobio)

            Consider Neurath's first encounter with William Malisoff, the editor of the new journal of the new Philosophy of Science Association.  At Morris' suggestion, Neurath asked Malisoff for a subscription list to help market the new encyclopedia.  Malisoff replied, happy to hear from the famous Neurath who was, among other things, such “a brilliant mind”, “a marxist”, “a communist”, “a positivist”, “a sociologist.”  He clearly wanted to meet Neurath, either in Paris--at the upcoming First International Congress for the Unity of Science that Neurath was organizing--or perhaps in the USSR:

 

I may be going to the Physiological Congress in Leningrad and Moscow in August.  How can I manage to meet you even if I cannot come to Paris?  Will you be going to Russia?(Malisoff to Neurath, May 22 1935, Noord Holland)

 

Neurath denied he was an official communist and modestly downplayed Malisoff's other compliments: “as a thus reduced person I hope to meet you in August.  I myself shall not go to the Soviet union in this year.”(Neurath to Malisoff, 5.6.35, Noord Holland)

            Neurath probably did not know that Malisoff had more than passing interest in Neurath's relationship to communism.  Malisoff was recently named in the CIA's Venona transcripts (intercepted from coded Soviet radio transmissions during the cold war) as a KGB informant.  On the other hand, Malisoff would not have been surprised were Neurath going to Russia that summer.  In the early 1930s, Neurath' ISOTYPE work had taken him to Russia to help produce propaganda for Stalin's first five year plan.[ref: chislett]

            Neurath's social and political ambitions for his movement were highest during the war. After several months internment as an Austrian national (he escaped nazi-occupied Holland in a lifeboat), Neurath and his wife Marie set up his International Institute for Visual Education in Oxford and supported themselves by making ISOTYPE exhibits and animated films sponsored by England's Ministry of Information.  He also joined the editorial board of World Commonwealth Quarterly, a journal that explicitly promoted the planned, postwar reorganization of Europe.  In the last year of his life, Neurath championed the topic of educational planning and wrote a series of articles about how education in Germany (as well as all of Europe) should be structured (in accordingly scientific and anti-metaphysical ways) to prevent fascism in the future.[refs]  “As you know,” he told Morris in 1942, who sometimes complained that Neurath was neglecting his duties to the encyclopedia, “I do not cease to manage things and I shall think that we have a lot to do for Europe after this war.” (N to M, July 17 '42)  “This nazified Germany and Europe will need [some] good dishes, we shall present them.”(N to M, Dec. 28 '42)

            In its own way, Morris' vision for a world-wide cultural reformation was even more ambitious than Neurath's.  Morris styled himself a kind of cultural emissary.  Using his theories of signs and symbols (or “semiotic”), and combining these with Wilmon Sheldon's analyses of body types and personality types, Morris articulated a scientific world view that he conceived as a “world religion.”  He traveled extensively in the late 1940s to spread the gospel.  One of his funding-proposals explained that his research in the “great cultures” of India, China, and Russia would facilitate “the international exchange of ideas and ideals, and in that way to help create the ideas and ideals appropriate to the contemporary world" (Morris to Walter S. Rogers, Institute of Current World Affairs, NYC 3-21-43)  Though he did not return to Russia after his visit in the early 1930s, Morris did make it to India and China in the late 1940s.

            Carnap, on the other hand, officially demarcated philosophy and politics:

 

logic, including applied logic, and the theory of knowledge, the analysis of language and the methodology of science, are, like science itself, neutral with respect to practical aims, whether they are moral aims for the individual or political aims for a society (autobio 23)

 

Still, it was Carnap among all the logical empiricists who once offered the most lucid case for the social and political importance of clear, logical and scientific thinking. [ref Stebbing?]  In a 1936 radio broadcast celebrating Harvard's Tercentenary, Carnap was interviewed by Harvard geologist Kirtley Mather.  Carnap quickly turned the discussion of three criteria for clear thinking in a political direction:

 

Mather: “ In my observation, a lot of muddy thinking is due to failure to see the inadequacy of the data on which far reaching conclusion are all too often based.”

 

Carnap: "Yes, there is no doubt that in daily life this important third condition for logical thinking is frequently neglected. Men expect a future which will satisfy their hopes and desires, even when such expectations are inadequately based on observed facts.  In the same way, deceived by their desires, men count on just that behavior in others which would coincide with their own needs.  It is in this way that we must explain the conduct of different nations, races, and social classes, since, unfortunately, their conduct is controlled more often by passions than by reflection upon the facts of psychology and the social sciences.  Their expectations, inadequately founded, are usually followed by disappointments in the behavior of other parties: but the failures of their hopes, instead of leading to the correction of erroneous assumptions, frequently become the occasions for a childish reproval of opposing groups in the name of morality.”

 

While Carnap did not connect his philosophical project to a particular political agenda, he had a resolute faith--arguably purer and more compelling than Neurath's and Morris'--that clear, logical thinking informed by science could only help humans better understand and treat each other.[note: Reichenbach q in scott, 699, same point]

            On some occasions, Carnap took stands on specific political issues.  In 1939, for example, he agreed to be a signatory of the new Committee for Cultural Freedom (CCF) organized by Sidney Hook.  This committee (and a parallel group dominated by Partisan Review editors, the League for Cultural Freedom and Socialism) signaled growing worries on the part of Hook and others that many intellectuals were blind to the quite non-utopian character of Stalin's Soviet Union.  Charging specifically that the communist League of American Writers was mindlessly following the dictates of the CP, Hook's manifesto targeted totalitarianism and authoritarianism of all stripes:

 

Under varying labels and colors, but with an unvarying hatred for the free mind, the totalitarian idea is already enthroned in Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, and Spain. ... Through subsidized propaganda, through energetic agents, through political pressure, the totalitarian states succeed in infecting other counties with their false doctrines, in intimidating independent artists and scholars, and in spreading panic among intellectuals.  ... In fear or despair, they hasten to exalt one brand of intellectual servitude over another.  ... Instead of resisting and denouncing all attempts to straitjacket the human mind, they glorify, under deceptive slogans and names, the color or the cut of one straitjacket rather than another.(Hook, 272)

 

Carnap's public signature in support of the manifesto was, of course, a political act.  Still, the statement he supported against totalitarianism aligned fully with his own official disjunction between politics and philosophy.

 

The decline of Communism in America

            America's toleration for communists and “fellow-traveling” sympathizers was intermittent during the 1930s and 40s.  Communism was broadly acceptable during the early 30s when federal projects such as the WPA sustained many who wondered whether American capitalism could be trusted after all.  It was also tolerated during the last half of the 30s, when the CP reached out to other organizations and parties to form a “popular front” to oppose fascism, and again after 1941 when America and the Soviets were militarily allied.  Over the course of the two decades, however, the country became increasingly anticommunist and so did most intellectuals.  Pivotal events included Stalin's purges and show-trials of the late 1920s and the debacle of Stalin's agrarian reforms.  His five-year plans led to widespread starvation and thousands of deaths.  News of these circumstances often traveled slowly and the disillusionment that many experienced occurred only years afterward. 

            While some stubbornly held to hopes that Stalin was creating a modern socialist utopia, most defections occurred during and after August 1939 with news of Stalin's non-aggression pact with Hitler.  It was unthinkable that Stalin would make such a concession to Hitler, especially after almost 5 years of the Kremlin's support for the popular front.  As Arthur Koestler put it in his essay in The God that Failed, a collection of testimonies by former communist intellectuals, he strained under “mental acrobatics” and “dialectical tight-rope acts of self-deception” to keep his faith in communism alive as contradictory evidence came to light. (71-72)   His final break occurred on “the day when the swastika was hoisted on Moscow Airport in honor of Ribbentrop's arrival and the Red Army band broke into the Horst Wessell Leid.”(74)

            Like former smokers, some former fellow-travelers became angry and aggressive foes of communism and totalitarianism.  Hook, as we have seen, had no patience with fellow-traveling writers after 1939 and he later gained a reputation as perhaps the most aggressively anticommunist philosophers during the cold-war.  Others merely became uncertain, their agnosticism reflected in the themes of “despair” and “disillusionment” that appeared throughout magazines and journals in the 1940s.  The series “The Future of Socialism” dominated PR in 1947 with articles by Hook, Koestler, George Orwell and others.  As the editor's note introducing the new series made plain, “the entire socialist perspective” had been thrown “into question” by world history since 1917.  “The Left has fallen into a state of intellectual disorientation and political impotence.”(PR, v. 14, '47, p. 23) 

            Hook led off the series with a sequence of confessions befitting an intellectual whose head had finally stopped spinning.  He got back to basics:  “I am a democrat. I am a socialist. And I am still a Marxist....”(24)  He was still a Marxist (in the special sense that he went on to describe) at a time when many had turned away entirely, even to embrace capitalism as the only guarantor of democratic freedom.  PR editor Philipp Rahv was also still a Marxist.  His piece, “Disillusionment and Partial Answers,” further reflects the dualistic, Manichean logic that would drive the cold war and the anticommunist hysteria.  “In a world dominated by Soviet Totalitarianism on the one hand and American Capitalism on the other,”  socialism was “still the only possible perspective.” “The perspective of a democratic socialism, that is, of a planned and socialized economy combined with the fullest political and cultural liberty, has by no means been annulled by historical events.”(PR, v. 15, 521)  Though perhaps not “annulled,” that perspective--one that was shared by the New York Intellectuals as well as the unity of science movement--would become difficult to maintain as socialism and social and economic planning became increasingly associated during the cold war with totalitarianism.

McCarthyism in the Universities

            The cold war began shortly after the close of World War Two and soon gave birth to the anticommunist fervor known as McCarthyism.  The main engine behind the “hysteria”, however, was not Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy but the FBI of J. Edgar Hoover.  Hoover kept files on individuals and organizations containing information of any sort linking them to the soviets, to the CP, or to other individuals or organizations so linked.  The fear that fueled Hoover and his power was that networks of communist conspirators, tightly controlled and trained by Moscow, were secretly preparing to take over the country.  When brought before investigatory committees, therefore, suspected communists were invariably asked to “name names” of others involved.  As an editorial in The Nation complained, McCarthy's threshold of evidence was shockingly low.  “It is enough that at one time or another they addressed groups that were subsequently labeled subversive or that their names appeared on letterheads along with others thought to be Communists.”(170, no. 12, p. 261)

            The secretive nature of the conspiracy was portrayed in “Invasion of the body Snatchers”, a film whose chilling effect lies in our ignorance of who has, and who has not, been taken over by the invaders.  Still, to a knowing audience, those who had been snatched seemed slightly robotic and untrustworthy.  They were under the control, after all, of a foreign power that was directing their lives.   The stereotype of the subversive communist was a non-descript, usually short, middle-aged man with thick glasses and nazi-esque accent.  Based on the actual case of Gerhardt Eisler, whom the FBI chased for years and eventually charged with being an agent of Stalin, the movie “I was a communist for the FBI” used an Eisler-like figure named (actually) “Eisler” who took instructions from Moscow.  That this highly dramatized, fictional story won nomination in 1951 for best documentary illustrates how fiction and nonfiction became easily blurred in cold-war discourse.(Shrecker1, 122).

            When anticommunist investigators turned their attentions to the nation's universities, these caricatures were especially damaging.  Professors suspected of communist collusion were seen as doubly unfit: besides trying to indoctrinate students into the dogmas and party-line beliefs of moscow, such a professor would be incapable of open-minded free thought.  He or she would be working, as all communists ultimately were, for Moscow. [6]

            The anticommunist hysteria created a “climate of fear” at most campuses that was widely recognized. [7] Many had reason to fear because they had been party members or fellow travelers in the 30s.  The fear was also sustained by administrations at public universities, struggling always to remain in the graces of state and federal officials and alumni.  Were Hoover or another investigator to announce rumors about a particular campus, officials would mount their own investigations to avoid appearing soft on communism.  Many campuses endured two sets of investigations and hearings.

            The pattern was set at the University of Washington.  The process began in 1946 when state senator Albert Canwell, at the prodding of the Foreign Legion, investigated communist infiltration among organizations for the elderly (Schrecker 94).  Soon, Canwell had targeted the University of Washington and hearings began with testimony from a handful of former communists some of whom learned to make a living out of testifying.  As Schrecker tells it, they “trooped out to Seattle to tell Canwell and his fellow legislators how the CP was planning to overthrow the American Government by force, violence, and subterfuge.”  Some spoke about the conspiracy at other universities perpetuating rumors that, for example, Eisenhower, then president of Columbia University, was protecting communists on that faculty; others told their stories about the political left in Seattle and they named names. (Schrecker, 96)

            Suspected professors were then called to testify.  There were roughly three ways to respond.  One admitted past membership, named names, and declared ones' self a former member who now disowned the party; one admitted or denied past membership, but refused to name names that would incriminate others (a strategy that came to be known as the “diminished Fifth” and engendered the epithet “Fifth Amendment Communists”); or one remained entirely uncooperative and refused to answer all questions by invoking the Fifth Amendment.  Eleven professors from Washington appeared.  By the time the University had conducted its own, separate investigations, three were fired--the philosopher William Phillips, the medievalist Joseph Butterworth, and the psychologist Bruce Gundlach (103).  The first two were active members of the CP, the latter probably was not.  The official charges against them, however, concerned their evasiveness or dishonesty when first asked by the university administration to reveal their past political affiliations.  Clearly, however, they were targeted for their politics and were victims of the notion that communist academics, as University President Raymond Allen put it are “by reason of their ...membership in the Communist Party...incompetent, intellectually dishonest, and derelict in their duty to find and teach the truth.” (quoted in Schrecker, 103)

            By the middle to late 50s, major investigations similar to Washington's had taken place at Harvard, at CCNY, at the University of Buffalo, at Wesleyan, University of Minnesota, University of Arkansas, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, University of California, Reed College, Temple University, Ohio State and Rutgers. [8]  For those accused and called to testify, professional and usually personal lives were usually upended and ruined.  Phillips, Butterworth and Gundlach were atypical because, as they were among the first to be so dismissed, their public profile rose and they spent some time speaking at the nation's campuses.  Yet none was able to secure an academic job.(104)

            Even those merely accused were stigmatized.  As Schrecker describes it, academia had its own, unofficial blacklist,

 

a blacklist at least as comprehensive and far less well known than the one in the entertainment industry....  It lasted for years, beginning for some people in the 1940s and lasted for others throughout the 50s and often into the 60s.(265)

 

The logic was tight and self-reinforcing: on pain of public embarassment, scrutiny and, for public institutions, loss of funding or forced closure, one urgently needed to distance one's self and one's institution from  “red” or “pink” colleagues.  By reacting to the social pressures of the red scare as they did, departments and administrations sustained and reinforced it. [9]   The result was global depoliticization of most campuses:

 

political reticence...blanketed the nation's colleges and universities.  Marxism and its practitioners were marginalized, if not completely banished from the academy. Open criticism of the political status quo disappeared....  Teachers...played it...safe, pruning their syllabi and avoiding controversial topics.339

 

Even Ralph Himstead, head of the AAUP, embraced the conspiratorial logic against which he was (laconically) defending scrutinized professors.  Offering advice to his successor in 1955, he explained why he had been judicious and careful in publishing reports defending them: “If the Association [i.e. the AAUP] should get a left-wing or pro-communism tag, this would certainly end the effectiveness of the Association and the Association.” (Quoted in Schrecker, 328)  With leaders like Himstead, Schrecker could easily conclude that “the academy did not fight McCarthyism.  It contributed to it.”  By the late 1950s, “all was quiet on the academic front.”(340)

 

The Unity-Movement After the War: Cold War Pressures

            Looking back at Neurath's unity of science movement of the late 1930s from the vantage of the cold war, it seems nearly certain that the project could not have survived.  In 1939, however, one could have plausibly seen the movement as a great success.  Roughly half of the first installment of 20 encyclopedia-monographs had appeared and were selling above the Press' and the editors' expectations.  Neurath, Morris, and Carnap had met with the Press to formulate plans for additional volumes of the encyclopedia, a new unit comprising 100 monographs (in ten volumes) of mainly descriptive studies of the actual relations among the sciences.  (Neurath's ultimate vision included yet another 100 monographs treating education, medicine, law and engineering, and also a “visual thesaurus” utilizing ISOTYPE images.)  With the Encyclopedia, the rescued Erkenntnis now under the title The Journal of Unified Science, and plans for the new book-series The Library of Unified Science moving forward, the publication-wing of the movement was growing as successfully as anyone had hoped.  The Fifth International Congress for the Unity of Science, held at Harvard, in August of 1939 continued the yearly sequence of meetings that had brought the movement together since their first in Prague, 1934.

            The Harvard meeting, however, hinted at the movement's future demise in two, related ways.  When participants gathered to hear broadcast news about Hitler's invasion of Poland, they observed the beginning of a war that would slow their collaboration almost to a halt.  And when they heard Horace Kallen during the formal sessions argue that the values and methods behind “unity of science” were dangerously totalitarian, they first glimpsed how the anticommunist and antitotalitarian sentiments driving the cold war would prevent the movement from ever recovering the momentum it had lost.  And it had lost much.  Between 1940 and 1945 only two monographs appeared and, in 1943, facing subscriber dissatisfaction and rising costs, the Press decided to suspend the encyclopedia until the war had ended.  Neurath convinced them to keep the project alive, however, by urging that it be treated as a war-effort: “It would be like defeatism now to suspend anything.”[ref]  Promising that monographs would soon be ready for publication, Neurath sent his manuscript, Foundations of Social Science, to Morris in 1943.  It was one of the two that appeared during the war and, as we shall see, contributed in its own way to the movement's political downfall.

            After the war and Neurath's death, Carnap and Morris met with the Press occasionally and kept alive relations with authors who had promised monographs.  Despite a short burst of activity when four monographs appeared during 1951 and 52, the movement was moribund.  Neither Morris nor Carnap tried to fill Neurath's role and rally the movement back to life, nor did they pursue the plans for additional volumes of the encyclopedia.  Morris, by temperament and ambition, was the obvious choice.  He had always handled most organizational and administrative work and he had strong opinions (which Neurath usually did not heed) about how things should be run.  Still, Morris chose not to devote his energies to the movement.

            Several factors are candidates for explaining why the movement was laid to rest as it was.  One is that philosophy became moribund in Europe after the war.  Besides the exhaustion and necessary relocation of those who survived, many believed the war was not actually over, that the United States and the USSR would go head to head. [refs: Hook, Koestler]   In 1950, this worry seemed confirmed by the arrival of American troops in South Korea.  From this point of view, Morris and Carnap could have reasonably seen yet more war-time delays and frustrations ahead for the movement and its publications had they tried to revive it.  One could also count the politics of atomic energy as a blow to the movement's international aspirations for science.  In the wake of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, scientists, politicians and the military debated how to handle atomic weapons and the science that created them.  Scientists, led by the Atomic Scientists of Chicago, who pushed for both civilian and international control of the (alleged) atomic “secrets”, were only partially successful as the control was passed ultimately to the civilian Atomic Energy Commission.  A spate of high profile espionage cases involving physicists (including Robert Oppenheimer and Klaus Fuchs) reminded that in the right political circumstances open intellectual exchanges among scientists counted as treason.  Finally, Morris and Carnap were simply tired--Morris, because of all the administrative work he performed [ref] and Carnap because of chronic back pain that reduced his output.  Carnap was also likely exhausted and frustrated by the last years of his friendship with Neurath which were intellectually, professionally and personally strained.[refs]

            It is impossible to assign precise degrees of importance to these different factors.  Still, even if some or all these factors guaranteed and overdetermined the demise of the unity-movement, there is evidence that the movement's demise was also caused by America's climate of anticommunism.  Morris, Carnap and Philipp Frank all experienced the “climate of fear” in several ways.

            In the early 1950s, Carnap turned down UCLA's Flint Visiting Professorship and two speaking invitations at Berkeley to protest the state's loyalty-oath requirement.  All faculty were required to sign, pledge their loyalty to the country, and disavow communist or other subversive activities.  Those who refused, such as Carnap's friend the psychologist Richard Tolman (who was also on the Advisory Committee of the Encyclopedia), were dismissed.  Carnap wrote to Berkeley's President Charles Sproul that his decisions in each case were

 

expressions of solidarity with the dismissed colleagues, and of protest against the violation of the principle that scholarship, teaching ability, and integrity of character should be the only criteria for judging a man's fitness for an academic position...(Carnap to Sproul, Benson pps, date?, “factors”)

 

It is uncharacteristic of Carnap to use vague notions like “integrity of character.” Yet such slogans were the stuff of peaceful relations between administrators and faculty at the time.  When Carnap wrote to Berkeley's chair in philosophy, William Dennes, the notion was explicitly absent:  “I am opposed in principle to the idea that any but academic considerations should qualify a man as fit or unfit for teaching.”

            As firmly as he believed this principle, Carnap admitted, he too would have bended to the pressures of the situation.  “However,” he continued,

 

if I held a post at the University of California, I presume I would have signed the statement under protest in order to protect my livelihood-‑thus my attitude does not imply a criticism of the colleagues who signed...  What shocked me most...was the reckless dismissal of the men who held out against the signing, such as Tolman, whom I happen to know.  I feel that the least I can do to support their cause is to refuse to accept an honor from the university at such a time(Carnap to Dennes Oct 12 '50; emphasis added)

 

Four years later, Carnap accepted an offer from UCLA to succeed Hans Reichenbach's chair.  He was still nervous about the situation.  Reichenbach, also a native German, did not have an easy time in California.  During the war he and his family were classified as enemy aliens and subject to strict curfews and travel-restrictions.(Reichenbach to Morris, 5-24-42 iupui).  Now, as Carnap wrote to his colleagues, he was “taking the plunge” and accepting UCLA's offer.  “The political situation there does not look too good and inspires little confidence.  On the other hand, my appointment presumably has not met any opposition on that score.”

            Morris also brushed up against controversy.  Immediately after he left China, in 1949, that nation became a focal point in cold-war debate as Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party rose to power  and inaugurated the People's Republic of China.  For anticommunists in Washington (and Truman's republican critics), China had been “lost.”  They set out to find the guilty parties. 

            One target was the Institute of Pacific Relations which functioned as a professional forum for far-east scholars and published the journal Pacific Affairs.  Trading on the Institute's leftist reputation, Nevada Senator Pat McCarran seized some of the Institute's records in February 1951.  He used them to pursue a network of scholars and alleged communists who had, McCarran was convinced, conspired to aid the rise of Mao. McCarthy and Roy Cohn had charged as much before, but  McCarran's charges stuck.(Shrecker1, 162)

            In particular, they stuck to Johns Hopkins sinologist Owen Lattimore who had edited Pacific Affairs in the 1930s.  McCarthy brazenly trumpeted that Lattimore was “the top Russian espionage agent”(Klingaman, 193) in the country.  Lattimore was not a communist or an agent.  But he mistakenly battled his accusers with intelligence, logic and legalisms that only angered them more.  Lattimore was also fingered by the sinologist and former colleague, Karl Wittfogel, who testified that “the absence of any trace of Marxism in Lattimore's writings was a ruse.”(Schrecker, 165-6)  Lattimore, he explained, was among

 

those elements of the periphery who are really closely coordinated and integrated into the movement, but who try to promote the advantages of the movement without exposing themselves.(quoted in Shrecker,166)

 

Lattimore was forced to prove the non-existence of his alleged communist connections and activities when, if that logical hurdle wasn't high enough, his accusers would not even have accepted the proof they required him to produce.

            The Lattimore case was another warning beacon for intellectuals.  Indicted twice by 1955, both indictments were thrown out of court and Lattimore was technically victorious.  Still, the ordeal--he wrote a book about his experience, Ordeal by Slander--ruined his career.  Johns Hopkins abolished the school of international relations he directed; his speaking engagements dwindled; his graduate students had trouble finding jobs; he found it more difficult to publish and passports were suddenly difficult to obtain for him and his students.(Schrecker 166)  Lattimore relocated to Leeds, England and spent the rest of his life there.

            Morris returned from his visit to China in December of 1948, narrowly avoiding violence where he had been staying (Li An-Che, find ref.)  He followed the Lattimore case at least to the extent of contributing to the Lattimore Defense Fund. [10]  From an anticommunist point of view, however, Morris' situation was arguably more incriminating that Lattimore's.  He had to feel lucky that no anticommunist investigators were paying attention to him.  For example, his friend and contact in Peiping, Li An-Che, whose primary academic interest was Buddhism, was foiled in his efforts to publish a book in America on Tibetan religion.  Morris was told by the publisher, “it became rumored that Professor Li was holding a high position in the communist Chinese government.”  Suddenly, Morris was in a position to be criticized as a friend, correspondent and visitor of an (alleged) important communist official.  Whether or not the rumor was true (and Morris' actions suggest it wasn't), the manuscript in question became a hot potato from the publisher's point of view:

 

Our sending this to you, you understand, could not be considered as consent on our part that it be published.  It is being sent because of the interest which you have expressed and with hopes that it will be helpful to you. (Fejos to Morris, Nov. 17, '54)

 

Such disclaimers were common for intellectuals as well as directors of foundations who, as AAUP's Himstead put it, had to avoid a “communist tag”. 

            Morris also dealt with loyalty oaths.  In 1955 he refused an invitation for a temporary position from the University of Illinois' Institute of Communications Research.  He wanted to accept the position, which had been arranged partly by his colleague Charles Osgood at the University.  But he had decided in advance that he would refuse it if Illinois' Governor Stratton signed pending legislation that would implement oaths similar to California's.  Osgood encouraged Morris to take a public stand:

 

I would sign the appointment papers [thus accepting the position] and then, if you wish to go through as you told the Governor, I would later refuse to sign the special Loyalty Oath--this would automatically fire you!  But...I would make sure that the Illinois newspapers are notified in advance of your plans and that you make a public statement... [T]he whole point, as I see it, is to impress on the public mind the distinction between disloyalty and unwillingness to be pushed into essentially unconstitutional behavior by politicians. (Osgood to Morris, July 11 '55)

 

Morris replied that he would wait and see.  He was not so confrontational, and he seemed defensive about this: “If I am not a state employee[,] I see no moral obligation to become one just in order to provoke trouble.”  Besides, he told Osgood, “it would be at least something like a protest not to come to the University under the present circumstances.”  This something-like-a -protest of course would be (and turned out to be) an imperceptible gesture, and Morris knew it.   “I hope you don't feel that I am letting you down,” he told Osgood. [11]

            Though Morris avoided “trouble” in this and all other cases, the extent and nature of his professional and intellectual affiliations would have made it difficult for him to defend himself were he investigated.  Besides his contacts and visit to China (and Russia some 15 years before), he was an editor for the journal East-West which was devoted to synthesis of intellectual trends and ideas; a member of the American Humanist Association which more or less embraced atheism (as part of its “naturalism”); and he belonged to or supported groups that expressly sought  worldwide social and cultural unification. [12]

            Still, Morris always tried to see all sides to any issue, and this was evidently the plan behind his affiliations.  He also participated in conferences and organizations that promoted “freedom” and “democracy” such as the Conferences on Science, Philosophy, and Religion and their Relation to Democratic Ways of Life (at the first of which Mortimer Adler delivered his indictment, “God and the Professors”) and in Paul Mandeville's “Human Destiny Conferences.”  These promoted “democratic processes at grass roots levels” and defended against the war-time prevalence of “planning” and “excessive regimentation” in the U.S. society and economy.(Morris pps, 1951)  Like Karl Popper, who firmly established his anti-communist credentials with his book The Open Society and Its Enemies, Morris published a book The Open Self in 1948 that he sometimes mentioned to document his own political credentials.  For Morris was aware that despite the breadth and balance of his affiliations and beliefs, some could still wonder whether his internationalism and humanism were tinged “pink”.

 

Cold War Pressures from Within the Movement -- Kallen's attack

            One attack on the political implications of the unity of science movement came from within.  Though Horace Kallen and Neurath became and remained good friends, Kallen's antipathy toward “totalitarianism” of any kind, left or right, led him to attack Neurath's program first in 1939 at the Fifth International Congress for the Unity of Science at Harvard and, just after the war, in an exchange with Neurath and Morris published in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.  In both fora, Kallen asked what  “unity of science” might mean.  He did not like the political overtones of every possible answer he came up with.

            Kallen's arguments and illustrations were overtly political:

 

In despotic countries...not only are the lives and labors of the people “unified”, their thoughts boilerplated; also the arts and sciences are “unified” to the respective orthodoxies of the fascist, nazi, communist and clericalist dogmas.  What does not conform to those imperialist pretensions cannot be truth, must be wilful error, must be heresy which betrays the unity of the faith and deserves, therefore, the bitterest punishment and ultimately the most painful death a totalitarian imagination can devise.(K,82)

 

Obviously, Kallen said, “'unity of science' must wholly and utterly distinguish its own pattern, intensions and instrumentations” from these.  Not so obviously, however, Kallen believed that no possible meaning for “unity of science” could escape mischief.  It  could mean 1) coordinating the sciences “into a single system or order” that excluded alternatives, 2) “the transposition of all the sciences into a single language...composed of universal and invariant signs”, 3) adopting “an unchanging and all-embracing method, identical for all the sciences” or 4) establishing a supreme “authority for the sciences” that would control them.  All were unacceptable for Kallen because science, he believed,  could not progress or succeed if subject to any kind of top-down direction or control.

            For Kallen, therefore, “unity of science” should be defined as the absence of top-down control from administrators, politicians, or planners:

 

Indeed, it might turn out that the first and last meaning of “unity of science” comes to nothing else than the congress of the plurality of the sciences for the unified defense of their singular freedoms against the common totalitarian foes; that perhaps the sciences are in their essence centrifugal, and that their unity is but the consequence of pressure from without, not of impulsion from within; ... Perhaps [it] means and need mean no more than the mutual guarantee of its liberty by each science to each ,...[or] union of the sciences seeking each to preserve and to enhance its individuality and freedom. ... “Unity” would mean liberation and exaltation of diversities.”(83)

 

Kallen wanted the movement to be political, but it was going in the wrong direction.  Most notions of “unity of science”

 

wear a totalitarian aura about their heads and in their hearts carry the menace of contagion from imperial ideas of planning: Planned economies and planned societies pointing toward a planned scientific imperialism.(94)

 

On one occasion, at least, Kallen sounded simply sarcastic:

 

Might it not, then, be better, in the manner of the realistic Soviets, to nationalize scientific inquiry altogether and make of all scientific inquiry a handmaiden to the wants and works of the State? (K3 517)

 

At a time when the Lysenko affair was the butt of intellectuals' jokes, Kallen implied that Neurath's project was as detrimental for science.

            Morris replied to Kallen and brushed off his charges by claiming that since most logical empiricists in the movement emigrated from now-totalitarian countries, their credentials and the movement's must be fine.  He also defended his own notions of unified science as a “meta-science” or “science of science” based on pragmatic, semantic and syntactic analyses of scientific language.  Ironically, Neurath had criticized Morris' formulations on the same grounds as Kallen had--that they suggested the idea of imposing a restrictive program upon science.  Neurath consistently fought against that idea and therefore became frustrated as Kallen failed to see that Neurath's philosophy of science, with its long-standing emphases on “pluralism” and against “absolutism”, was as anti-totalitarian as Kallen's.  During their long exchange, Kallen returned always to Neurath's proposals to eliminate “meaningless” metaphysical language and promote a “universal jargon” for the sciences as if such were experiments in thought control designed to eliminate “the spontaneous variations, the initiatives and new turns” that drive science forward.(529)  Kallen unfortunately had little understanding of scientific practice (as if scientists reveled in endlessly novel thoughts and propositions, never ruling out any as useless or meaningless) and little inclination to read Neurath's writings carefully.  By the end, Neurath was reduced to bare denial and defense:  that so many of his beliefs were “full of totalitarian danger can surely not be inferred, as Horace thinks, from the wording of my papers.”(528)  The debate ended there because Neurath's life ended there.  His final replies to Kallen appeared posthumously, and Kallen's final reply to Neurath doubled as an obituary.

            The unity of science movement was arguably dead at that point, too, for Kallen vividly demonstrated that one could politicize the movement and paint it red with the same hyperbolic language and leaps of logic that would soon fuel McCarthy's inquisitions of Lattimore or others.   At a time when Hoover spoke publicly of communists' attempts to “infiltrate the so-called intellectual and creative fields”(Klingaman, 419) in America, and when Executive Order 9835 specified that “reasonable grounds exist for belief that [a] person ... is disloyal to the Government of the United States” if they belong to any “organization, association, movement, group or combination of persons, designated by the Attorney General as totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive...”,(ref) Morris, Carnap and others in the movement were fortunate that Kallen did not have the Attorney General's ear.

 

Carnap and Hook

            Three years after Neurath and Morris locked horns with Kallen, Hook attacked Carnap because Carnap was a signatory for the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace.  Organized mainly by Harvard's Harlow Shapley, the Waldorf conference (as it became known) did not invite Hook to speak probably because, by this time, he had become a vocal and overbearing anticommunist (as this episode further illustrates). Hook, in turn, investigated and decided that the conference was a communist front--merely “another ambitious propaganda event to further the Soviet cause”(382).  When he learned that Carnap had lent his name as a sponsor, he wrote Carnap:

 

If you actually have enrolled yourself as a sponsor, I am confident that you are unaware of the real auspices of the Conference. It is being run by people whose first act, if they came to power, would be to liquidate you and people like you.

 

Hook was about to release a vituperative statement to the New York Times and he had nearly illegally forced himself upon Shapley (in Shapley's hotel room) to hand-deliver a letter that, Hook believed, documented the duplicity of the organizers.  Hook was extremely agitated and anticipated making a big splash in the media. 

 

This business is no ordinary thing, as you will learn by developments in the next few days.  Anybody who is still a sponsor by the time the party-line begins to sound off at the Conference, will be marked for life as a captive or fellow traveler of the Communist Party.(H to C, mar 20 '49)

 

Carnap was alarmed.  He penned “?!” next to Hook's remark about being liquidated (the same inflammatory and threatening verb Adler had used some 10 years before when attacking positivist philosophers) and could not have been reassured to receive, about one week later, a letter from Carl Hempel reporting that Hook had asked Hempel also to lean on Carnap to remove his name. [13]

            Carnap's reply to Hook is a model of calm, forceful reasoning.  The stated purpose of the conference was to organize dialogue about peace and disarmament and that was precisely what Carnap supported: “I gave my name because I found myself completely in agreement with Shapley's statement as to the purpose of this Conference.” Were it true that Shapley was a dupe for communists, Carnap reminded Hook, those political gyrations are independent of his and other sponsors' “will for peace”.  Carnap said he would not give in to the “anti communist hysteria” (which Hook, of course, was fully illustrating as he badgered Carnap); to the “grossly exaggerated...picture of the 'serious threat to democracy' by communism in America as it is drawn by the press...and by the State Department;” nor to the “cold-war politics of our government” which treats all opportunities for rational conversation among political adversaries as heated confrontations.  Yes, Carnap admitted, given the “fear and intimidation operating in this country to an extent unprecedented so far” (which Hook, again, was sustaining), it “might be 'wise' for the moment” to withdraw his name.  But “in view of the great aim of preserving the peace” he would not do so. [14]

            By the end of 1949, therefore, all three leaders of the unity of science movement had been attacked by either Kallen or Hook for being, on way or another, soft on communism or totalitarianism.  In the background of these attacks, meanwhile, a larger scale ideological attack on the values and methods of the unity of science movement was gaining traction as the intellectual culture of the postwar world shifted to the political right.

 

External Pressures on the Movement--Hayek

            Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom was published in 1944 and is remembered today as a most influential argument against totalitarianism and liberal statism. As H. Stuart Hughes put it, Hayek's book was “a major event in the intellectual history of the United States” and “marked the beginning of that slow reorientation of sentiment--both in academic circles and among the general public--toward a more positive evaluation of the capitalist system.”(ref. Ransom's site)

            Hayek's argument against socialism joins the story of Neurath's movement in three ways.  First, the argument persuasively eliminated the socialist middle-ground between capitalism and communism that Rahv, Hook and others defended as the cold war took shape.  You were either for communism or capitalism in the post-Hayek world because he persuaded many that there were only two options: free markets or totalitarian, authoritarian regimes (be they fascist or communist).  He argued that “Stalinism is socialism”(27) and that socialism never opposed fascism in Germany--it paved the way for it: “Few are ready to recognize that the rise of fascism and naziism was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period [in Germany] but a necessary outcome of those tendencies.”(H 3-4)

            The main point of contact, however, was methodological.  Socialists and liberals were on the road to serfdom, Hayek argued, precisely because they promoted collectivism and large scale planning.  Attempts to coordinate people in the interests of a global, coherent plan--economic, social, military, etc.--will be crippled by dissatisfaction.  Hayek's influence and reputation rest on a truism: you can never please everyone.

The effect of peoples' agreeing that there must be central planning, without agreeing on the ends, will be rather as if a group of people were to commit themselves to take a journey together without agreeing where they want to go... That planning creates a situation in which it is necessary for us to agree on a much larger number of topics than we have been used to, and that in a planned system we cannot confine collective action to the tasks on which we can agree but are forced to produce agreement on everything in order that any action can be taken at all, is one of the features which contributes more than most to determining the character of a planned system.(H62)

 

If planning is to go forward, therefore, someone or some body must take control: “It will often be necessary that the will of a small minority be imposed upon the people”(69); “In the end somebody's views will have to decide whose interests are more important.”(74)  Planning, in other words, leads inevitably to dictatorship

 

because dictatorship is the most effective instrument of coercion and the enforcement of ideals and, as such, essential if central planning on a large scale is to be possible.(70)

 

Hayek was persuasive because he respected the humane goals of most socialists; he drew on his observations of life in his native Austria as fascism developed in Europe; and he admitted that he himself, like so many, was once an ardent socialist.  Like the intellectuals writing in The God that Failed or Partisan Review's series “The Future of Socialism,” Hayek experienced and understood the about-face that wrenched so many during the 1930s and 1940s.

            As for unity of science movement, Hayek's attack on planning and collectivism was a direct hit.  As I have reconstructed it elsewhere, Neurath's project was precisely an attempt to import the techniques and values of collective, democratic planning into scientific practice.[ref]  The new Encyclopedia and the international congresses, for example, would bring together specialists of different fields to formulate and attack problems that overlapped disciplines.  (Thus, Neurath's 'universal jargon' for science would enable this attempt at coordination, not impose some theoretical program on science as Kallen charged). Always a pluralist, Neurath regularly emphasized that many different future unities of science were possible.  The movement, therefore, was emphatically not in the business of laying down some apriori (and painfully Kantian) blueprint for science's future.  Unification would be a bottom-up affair resulting from the public collaboration of generations of scientists.  They would suggest and survey possible futures and, like the sailors in Neurath's famous boat, chart a direction freely without the benefit of drydock or metaphysical foundations.  “Our program is the following,” Neurath once wrote: “no system from above, but systematization from below” (“Ency. as Model”, 1936, p. 153).

            Hayek's attack on planning is striking given the ulterior similarities between Neurath and Hayek.  They both championed an Epicurean utilitarianism that took individual happiness as a basic value; both criticized naive scientism holding that science supplies a complete and true world-picture; and both opposed Fascism and found it lurking in heretofore unsuspected places.  At the time that Hayek was writing The Road to Serfdom, for example, Neurath was debating Joad and other English classicists over Neurath's claim that Plato's writings were fascistic and ought to be de-emphasized in schools, especially German schools during the upcoming reconstruction.

            Neurath reviewed The Road to Serfdom and began his review on just this point: “Let us be grateful to authors who show up concealed Fascism.”  But Neurath's politeness lasted about one sentence as he got down to defending planning: “we cannot go all the way with Hayek in his relegation of all planning to this category.”  Neurath found Hayek's Achilles' heel.  Hayek simply ruled out, a priori, the possibility that collective interests might win out over individual interests; that societies or nations might succeed in “planning as a co-operative effort, based on compromise.”(London QWF, 121)  Neurath had faith that collectivism and compromise could win out over selfish individualism:  “World planning based on co-operation would perhaps give rise to a world-wide feeling of responsibility for other people's happiness.”(122)  Hayek simply did not share that faith.

            The split between Neurath and Hayek mirrored the status of the unity of science movement in the postwar world.  If logical empiricism as an international philosophical movement were to join with scientists, architects, educators and others to build a modern, rational and more equitable world, that task would require an international climate of cooperation and trust.  But that climate dissolved after the war and the logical empiricists knew it.  As Carnap told Hook, “our government is persistently refusing to extend good will and cooperation to the other side”(C to H, RC 088-38-05 p.2).  Fear, hysteria and xenophobia affected politicians and philosophers alike.  The unity of science movement, a child of the 1930s, no longer seemed viable.

 

The View From Chicago

            When Morris and Carnap considered the future of their movement after the war and after Neurath's death, they were aware that it would be heading into the winds of political and intellectual fashion.  Besides the red flags that Kallen and Hayek had waved, the movement's general features played into the fears and stereotypes of the McCarthyite hysteria.  Its Encyclopedia was explicitly “international”--a word that raised some eyebrows already in the 1930s at the University of Chicago, Morris reported to Neurath[ref]--and the movement's founder, leader and editor-in-chief was an Austrian widely known as an ardent socialist and Marxist.  Despite the officially non-political orientation of the Encyclopedia and the movement, everyone knew that one reason to unify the sciences was to fashion better tools for a planned, socialistic management of the modern world.  Gruen's article in Partisan Review explicitly made this point.

            The new Encyclopedia, moreover, had begun to acquire some marks of reputation that could only have increased the risks.  Neurath was beloved by many, but many saw him as an authoritarian leader--just as Kallen's and Hayek's arguments would have suggested.   Carnap had a few severe confrontations with Neurath, during one of which, he later complained, Neurath “bullied” him into placing a attribution-footnote in a paper.  Neurath also locked horns with Feigl, Hempel and Nagel over the titles of their planned encyclopedia-monographs.  Neurath often had very strong opinions about the precise words to be used in movement-literature.  Feigl ultimately refused to write his monograph partly because of Neurath's “termino-phobic objections” to the word explanation.[refs: Reisch; nagel corresp.]  Thus Neurath unwittingly played into a common stereotype of the authoritarian dictator that closely controls language.  The notion was ubiquitous at the time: “Dictators always create a language of their own,” quipped an editor in New Yorker about Argentina's Peron. [15]

            The scandal over Neurath's monograph, Foundations of Social Science, helped damage Neurath's and the movement's reputation further.   From Manhattan, Ernest Nagel wrote to Morris after he received a copy of the new monograph.  Since Neurath was the editor-in-chief and a social scientist, Nagel said, he and others had high hopes for this monograph.  But it was a mess: “Instead of analysis and argument the reader is asked to accept judgments as from on high.”  How, he asked, could the organizational structure of the Encyclopedia permit such a terrible monograph to be published?  "I have...been stimulated to wonder," he wrote, "what the Advisory Committee is good for":

 

Is its function primarily that of serving as window-dressing? Or is the editor-in-chief so high and mighty a personage that he will not submit to any advice or correction? [16]

 

Neurath looked less like an editor than a dictator, and it was not lost on Nagel that this impression fed directly into Kallen's attack on the unity-movement as totalitarian. 

 

I will add that our empiricist friends here in New York are simply dismayed by the pamphlet - and I leave it to your imagination what those who never had any sympathy for the encyclopedia venture have to say about this most recent addition to it.  Do you think the enterprise will soon recover from this black-eye which Neurath has given it?

 

Finally, Nagel noticed that Lancelot Hogben had been placed on the list of authors for upcoming monographs, and he was not happy because Hogben had a reputation for mixing his leftist politics with his expertise in biology.  “For my part, I don't enjoy the prospect of having the foundations of biology class-angled.”(Nagel to Morris, Nov. 16 '44, PEP)  Only months before, Neurath had insisted that Morris and Carnap, who knew little about Hogben, approve his invitation: "Please write me immediately that you and Carnap agree on Lancelot Hogben."

            Neurath's authoritarian reputation was not confined to philosophical circles. An official at the Rockefeller Foundation commented that Neurath ran the Encyclopedia in “a very individualistic and indeed almost dictatorial way." [17]  To be fair, even Neurath's critics acknowledged his charm and remarkable organizational abilities.[refs]  He made the movement go in the 1930s.  During the cold war, however, his reputation for bullying, the debacle surrounding his 1944 monograph, and his proposals for linguistic reform (his infamous proposal for an “index verborum prohibitorum”[ref] apparently escaped Kallen's attention) could not have encouraged Morris, Carnap or any other prospective leader to step into his shoes.

 

A Sense of Caution

            The most suggestive evidence that participation in the unity of science movement carried political risk on a national scale is unfortunately anecdotal.  After Philipp Frank had reestablished Neurath's Institute for the Unity of Science in 1949, he was visited by two FBI agents at his home in Cambridge. As told by Gerald Holton, who participated in the movement with Frank in the 1950s,

 

Frank one day received a visit at his home from two FBI men. They had come to investigate his background and orientation, which seemed to them to have been suspiciously on the liberal side.  Frank, no doubt with his usual quizzical smile, inquired whether they thought he might be a spy for the Russians, and to answer his own question, he went to his bookcase...

 

Frank retrieved his copy of Lenin's infamous Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, in which Lenin attacked the Vienna Circle for its (alleged) Machian metaphysics and mentioned Frank by name.  Frank returned to his two visitors, book in hand, and

 

opened it to the passage where Lenin attacked him personally. As Frank ended his story, the two FBI men practically saluted him, and left speedily and satisfied.(Holton, Science and Anti-Science, p. 48, note 48)

 

As anecdote, the story's details are, of course, unreliable.  Frank's personal papers do not survive to corroborate them.  Holton speculates that the visit was spurred either by Frank's work for the U.S. Navy or the “general anticommunist hysteria” of the times.  But if we accept merely the facts that Hoover's FBI chose to speak with Frank and visit him at his home, the story shows that philosophers of science were on the FBI's political radar.

            Morris behaved as if he assumed this was so.  He once employed the same strategy Frank had.  When writing a referral for a former student and assistant who had come under suspicion while working in the U.S. foreign service, Morris praised his patriotic character with hyperbole and cliche:

 

There was never in his thoughts or attitudes the slightest trace of anything that could be called pro-Communist in any degree.  Indeed his personality as I know it seems diametrically opposed to the Communist totalitarian mentality.

 

Then, in the margin of this one page letter, Morris decided to defend himself.  He wrote,

 

Perhaps it may be relevant to state that I have opposed the totalitarian attitude in my book Paths of Life, and I have been personally attached in a book by the English Communist, Maurice Cornford.  My last work, The Open Self, is a defense of American democracy against the forces that threaten it from within and without. [18]

 

In the bipolar climate of McCarthyism, if communists are against you, then you must be against them.

            The FBI was not alone in wondering about the political legitimacy of the unity of science movement.  Even though the Rockefeller Foundation was funding Frank and the Institute in the first half of the 1950s, at least one grant officer voiced concern.  In 1947, knowing that Philipp Frank would soon be courting the RF for funding, Morris sent them a letter he wrote to UNESCO in which he proposed an “Institute for the Study of Man.”   Morris noted that this Institute and the one Frank was proposing shared the same visions and ideals.  The “relevant material” in this letter, Morris pointed out, explained that

 

at present...humanists and the scientists work largely in complete independence....  Some stress the biological constitution, some the physical environment, some the cultural forces, some man's symbolic processes....  An Institute for the Study of Man could be the center of an integration for the various scientific approaches to man, and a meeting place for scientist and humanist.

 

Morris also nodded toward the anti-communist pedigree of this project.  His upcoming book The Open Self, he explained, would address this methodological babel and

 

show that each of these approaches needs supplementation by the others, and that...a genuine science of man will result--a science which does not restrict but rather enhances man's individual and cultural freedom.  I will send a copy of this book to you when it appears...(Morris to Mr. J.J. Mayoux, Nov. 18, 1947 RAC RF 1.100 Box 35, Folder 281)

 

As Morris' letter circulated through the RF and accumulated annotations, one officer wrote “sounds good, only I hope there's no faint tinge of pink in it.”  Whether “it” was Morris' intellectual synthesis, the Institute for the Study of Man or the Institute for the Unity of Science, the documents do not say.

            According to Morris, such perceptions were not unique.  In 1957, some three years after McCarthy had been censured and, by most accounts, the anticommunist “hysteria” had begun to subside, Morris still recommended “a sense of caution:” “I have met people who think Otto [Neurath], and indeed the whole unified science program, is communistic.”(M to Kallen, Oct 8, 1957, AJA)  At a time when intellectuals associated with communists or “communistic” projects usually had careers and lives up-ended, it is difficult to suppose that postwar lethargy of the unity of science movement was unconnected to this reputation.  Students would have been wise to embark on an academic career that was shaded “pink”, and established philosophers in the movement largely lost interest.  In some cases, Carnap and Morris waited many years for authors to either submit a monograph or cancel their commitment.  The director of the Dutch publishing firm Van Stockum and Zoon gained the same impression after contacting Carnap and Morris about the status of the movement's monograph series, The Library of Unified Science, that they had begun to publish before the war.  There was “practically no real interest on the part of the potential editors, so we had to give up.”(W.A.C. Whitlau, Dir. Van Stockum en Zoon, to A.J.Benson, August 26 '54.)

 

The Icy Slopes of Logic

            When Morris mentioned the movement's “communistic” reputation, he was writing to Horace Kallen.  For all his bluster about the dangerous, totalitarian character of the unity of science, Kallen was among the first to champion the translation and publication of Neurath's writings after his death.  He asked Morris to help him plan a volume with Marie Neurath.  Marie, however, was specifically worried how to handle Otto's marxism.  Would publishers in America consider a book of writings by a left-wing sociologist and philosopher?  Of course, Morris replied, such a book would have to be an “authentic” record of Neurath's thought.  “On the other hand,” he wrote, “I share Marie's sense of caution....”

            Why would Kallen push for the publication of Neurath's papers after so aggressively attacking his project as anathema to scientific and democratic values?  In his mind, Neurath the man was distinct from his philosophy of science.  “My feeling,” he told Morris, “is that Otto was so much more than a mere logical empiricist.”

 

He had an enormous amount of compassion, a deep feeling for people as people, and an eagerness to serve their liberation and enrichment through the philosophic and sociological arts.

 

By 1957, the retreat to the icy slopes of logic had begun.  The intellectual work of a logical empiricist, Kallen implied, was irrelevant to, and uninspired by, social, political and humanitarian concerns like Neurath's.  Thus unfolds the greatest irony buried in Kallen's attacks of 1939 and 1946.  After he had vociferously attacked Neurath and his movement for having the wrong political edge, he was now dismayed to find that logical empiricism had no political edge.  That is why he championed a collected volume of Neurath's papers.  “Such a book,” he told Morris, “could save logical empiricism, etc. etc. from the barrenness into which it seems to me to have fallen.”(Kallen to Morris, May 7 1957, emphasis added)   Neurath's writings were eventually collected, translated and published beginning in 1973.

 

 

NOTES

 

   [1]  See Scott; Vienna papers; galison;reisch; dahms...

   [2]  This point was emphasized to me by Abraham Edel, personal correspondence.

   [3]  Much later in the late 50s, Abraham Edel was enlisted to write about science and ethics.

   [4]  To specify the new failure of nerve, Hook borrowed Gilbert Murray's thesis that the ancients living prior to the Christian era had run from the intellectual and civic responsibilities bequeathed them by Hellenism.

   [5]  See Giere 1996: “Logical empiricism in North America was to a considerable extent a new creation...styled for a new audience so that what appeared in public view in North America was something noticeably different from what had existed in Europe.”(338)  Galison (1996) focuses on the word and concept Aufbau in Carnap's (1929) to write, “The ideal of an Aufbau...was conjointly architectural, political, and philosophical; it did not as such move across the Atlantic.”(40)

   [6]  Even socialist leader Norman Thompson agreed that academics had no business being associated with communism: “The right of the communist to teach should be denied because he has given away his freedom in the quest for truth”. (quoted in Klingaman, 368)

   [7]  An editorial in The New Yorker noted that “professors, meanwhile, adjust their neckties a little more conservatively in the morning, qualify any irregular remarks with a bit more [???check 2-26-'49 p.19]  A short story in 1951 recounts the day when Henry Mulcahy, an otherwise ordinary academic (who subscribed to “Science and Society, the Communist scholarly publication”) read his termination-letter and realized that he was “observed at the meeting of the Partisans for Peace.”  He went “with no special enthusiasm, at the invitation of a former colleague...who was scheduled to speak on the program.”  Mulcahy was no radical.  He was just being used by his college president “as a scapegoat to satisfy the reactionary trustees and fund-raisers.”(“Groves of Academe”, 2-3-51)

   [8]  The groups most often targeted included physicists, english professors and economists.  Once the sizes of departments are normalized however, as John McCumber tallies the numbers in Shrecker's research and AAUP bulletins, it was philosophers who “were more likely to be attacked by witchhunters than were members of any other discipline”.(Mc, 37)  Extrapolating from the available record, McCumber estimates that roughly 35 professors of philosophy were in some way attacked by anti-communist adminstrations or investigators during the cold-war years.

   [9]   McCarthyism's damage at the universities was also severe because the AAUP was caught off guard by the Washington case.  It struggled to catch up and its mistakes snowballed.  Because of the poor health and poor administrative skills of national leader Ralph Himstead, as well as its own administrative inertia, the AAUP took years to issue its report in defense of the dismissed professors.  This delay held up all the other cases the AAUP came to investigate at other campuses with the result that the AAUP was largely ineffective in defending dismissed professors.  Its most vigorous actions occurred only after “the worst of McCarthyism was over.” (Schrecker 315).   Still, local departments and faculties often failed to organize on behalf of a fingered colleague, or to confront administrations or investigators on their behalf, precisely because defense of academic freedom was one of the AAUP's raisons d'etre and that organization was (or, ought to be) more powerful than any handful of colleagues.  The American Philosophical Association reasoned this way.  Though they issued statements in defense of academic freedom, one specifically in defense of William Philips after his dismissal, the Eastern Division officially deferred to the AAUP in declining to investigate the problem of political attacks against philosophers. (Mc 39)

[10]  IUPUI, Boas, George to Morris, Sept 2 1955.  Form letter: "To the contributors of the Lattimore Defense Fund...”  Morris was also included as a recipient for one mass mailing in support of sinologist John W. Powell who described abusive treatment by FBI and customs officials upon returning to America from a stay in China.  Powell attributed this to the fact that he was on record for claiming that most people's lives were improved under the communist regime.  Unlike most other mass-mailed letters in Morris' files asking for financial or letter-writing support for an intellectual or humanitarian caught in some political or international snare, this one is conspicuous by its lack of annotations.  Morris habitually recorded what kind of action he took--in this case, apparently none.

[11]  Morris to Osgood, July 14 '55.  Osgood, in turn, was not as militant as he appeared.  In anticipation of Morris making a public case, he wrote to various civil rights groups that Morris could contact “in case something like this becomes necessary.”  He described these groups to Morris and then pointed out, “I am not myself a member of the Civil Rights Congress of Illinois (I understand they are a pretty leftist group), but I wrote to get this information.” (Osgood to Morris, july 11 '55)  Whether because of his personal political beliefs or because of fears about associating with “a pretty leftist group”, it was easier for Osgood to encourage Morris to make a stand than to take one himself.  After the oaths were implemented--“that guy signed the damn thing!”-- Osgood avoided trouble as much as Morris: “I shall probably sign it--I'm afraid it would be simply playing into the hands of those who want to get rid of liberals to do otherwise, and further I shall be way off in Arizona on Sabbatical and thus in a poor place to fight.  It hurts my conscience to do so, though.”(Osgood to Morris, July 19 '55)  As Carnap observed about the California-oaths, in the absence of concerted and organized action on the part of faculties, most faculty accepted the oaths because those who refused would automatically draw unwelcome attention that could lead to career-ruining investigations (regardless of their politics).

[12]  For example, Morris' personal papers contain several “Declarations of Interdependence” -- small pamphlets distributed annually in the 1950s by one Otto Tod Mallory.  Designed to fit in a wallet, they contain tenets of international humanitarianism and the association's logo (a wheel) and motto: “each spoke depends on every other.”

[13]  Hempel to Carnap, march 23 '49, ASP 102-46-03.  Hempel replied to Hook and, in effect, told him to calm down.  Unlike the caricatured soviet agent, Carnap was not “under the influence of any sinister person” and the Waldorf Conference, Hempel suggested, was not “a matter of far-reaching political consequence.”  “And I certainly hope,” he continued “that a favorable attitude toward it, or even sponsorship of it, would not brand one for life as a political dupe or captive if not as a traitor to the cause of the United States.”(Hempel to Hook, March 23, 1949, RC 102-46-06)

[14]  (C to Hook, 3-24-49 RC088-38-05) Carnap recalled years later that he felt extremely pressured during this incident.  Replying to Cedrik Belfrage, probably when Belfrage was researching his book The American Inquisition, 1945-1960 (Belfrage 1973), that “I still feel proud that I gave my name as a sponsor for the peace conference in 1949.  All the more so since some of my good friends made strong efforts to persuade me to withdraw my name.  Everybody was for peace, of course; but it became suspicious, when an effort was made that seemed to point directly in the line of genuine peaceful coexistence and disarmament.  It is sad to observe how the tide is going again today. (n.d., transcribed from Benson mat'ls, box 8, cassette tape)

[15]  (March 31, '51. p. 17)   In The God that Failed, Andre Gide wrote that his attempts to lecture in Russia were spoiled by party officials who “obliged [him] to make additions or alterations.”  “They explained to me that a word like 'destiny' must always be preceded by the epithet 'glorious' when it referred to the destiny of the Soviet Union; on the other hand they requested me to delete the adjective 'great' when it qualified a king, since a monarch can never be 'great'!(192)  Koestler similarly described how, in the CP, “not only our thinking, but also our vocabulary was reconditioned.  Certain words were taboo.... Other words and turns of phrase became favorite stock-in-trade.”(45)

[16]  Nagel to Morris, Nov. 16, 1944 PEP.

[17]  This impression belonged to Warren Weaver of the Rockefeller Foundation.  He probably received it from Philipp Frank who approached the foundation in the late 1940's for funds to reestablish an Institute for the Unity of Science.(Interview: WW, Friday Dec. 13, 1946 RAC RF 1.100 Box 35, Folder 281)

[18]  Morris' draft of this letter does not specify to whom it was sent, or even if it was sent.  He addressed it, “To Whom It May Concern”, suggesting that it was generic and perhaps requested by his student to head off future inquiries.(Morris pps. May 6 '53, iupui)