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Rudolf Carnap Papers

What's online?

Selected portions of the papers are scanned and online.

What’s in the entire collection?

The Carnap Papers contain some 10,000 pages of letters to and from Carnap, which cover his entire life and career. Since Carnap relied heavily on the mail to discuss important philosophical problems, he corresponded with hundreds of other scholars, among them Herbert Feigl, Carl Gustav Hempel, Felix Kaufmann, Otto Neurath, and Moritz Schlick. A substantial collection of photographs taken throughout Carnap's life depicts him, his relatives, and a number of thinkers with whom he worked closely.

Among Carnap's student notes, perhaps the most interesting come from his seminars with Frege, which were devoted to the Begriffsschrift and the role of logic in mathematics. Also available are Carnap's notes from Russell's seminar at Chicago and notes he took from discussions with Quine, Tarski, Gödel, Hempel, Jeffrey, Heisenberg, and many others.

More than 1,000 pages of lecture outlines for courses that Carnap taught in Vienna, Prague, and the U.S. trace his development as a teacher. Moreover, the collection includes manuscript drafts and typescripts both for his published works and for many unpublished papers and books.

About Rudolf Carnap

Born in 1891 in Ronsdorf, Germany, Rudolf Carnap was educated at the Universities of Freiburg and Jena. He studied mathematics, philosophy, and physics, completing his doctoral thesis, Der Raum, in 1921. Before immigrating to America in 1935, Carnap held positions in Vienna and Prague, where he laid the foundations for his own logical empiricism and participated actively in the discussions of the Vienna Circle. After arriving in the United States, Carnap taught at the University of Chicago until 1952, was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study from 1952 to 1954, and held a position at UCLA from 1954 until his death in 1970.

Carnap made substantial contributions in the areas of constructional theories, physicalism, the epistemological foundations of physics and mathematics, the syntactical structure of language, semantics, modal logic, and probability theory. Throughout his career he stressed the importance of formal analysis as the key to solving philosophical problems.

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