The Pigtail of the Nineteenth Century

in Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780226111728
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226111780 | DOI:
The Pigtail of the Nineteenth Century

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This chapter reports the age of scientific determinism. The most widely cited response to the education ministry came from the eminent Graz psychologist Alexius Meinong. Meinong had been a student of Franz Brentano. Brentano was a sympathetic figure to Austria's newly powerful liberals. Franz Exner's concept of the “humanistic” value of science study reemerged at the center of a new Austrian pedagogical movement. Karl Exner addressed the ministry's “Instructions” as an authority on the Gymnasium physics curriculum. Meinong and Höfler's program for teaching students to distinguish “evident” knowledge from mere possibility was one answer to the liberals' problem of steering between dogmatism and skepticism. Adolf Exner was arguing that probabilistic science was a model of reasoning fit for training the future leaders of a liberal state. Adolf's probabilistic model of rationality evoked the liberal culture of the Sommerfrische, with its celebration of the peasant's experiential knowledge of nature.

Keywords: scientific determinism; education ministry; Franz Exner; Karl Exner; Adolf Exner; Alexius Meinong; Franz Brentano; Höfler; liberal culture; Sommerfrische

Chapter.  11881 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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