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Carl-Göran Heidegren

Carl-Göran Heidegren

Professor emeritus

Carl-Göran Heidegren

Positivism before Logical Positivism in Nordic Philosophy


  • Carl-Göran Heidegren

Summary, in English

The concept of “style of thought” or Denkstil is today probably primarily associated with the Polish microbiologist and philosopher of science Ludwik Fleck and his writings from the 1930s. It was however used quite extensively already by Karl Mannheim in his writings on the sociology of knowledge from the 1920s. Quite interestingly, the concept of style of thought was also used twice by Rudolf Carnap in the preface to Der logische Aufbau der Welt from 1928. No doubt, the concept must have been in the air during the interwar period. In what follows I will characterize the early positivism in Nordic philosophy in terms of a certain style of thought or as a certain habitus of thought. I will single out six basic convictions about philosophy and how to do philosophy that make up a more or less common ground and starting point for the early philosophical positivists in the Nordic countries. However, to begin with I will motivate why I prefer to use the designation “the positive spirit” rather than “positivism”. In the latter part of the article I will then dwell on some more specifi c topics and fi gures relating to the positive spirit or positivism before Logical positivism in Nordic philosophy.


  • Sociology

Publishing year







Vienna Circle in the Nordic Countries. Networks and Transformations of Logical Empiricism (Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook)



Document type

Conference paper




  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

Conference name

Symposium on Networks and Transformations of Logical Empiricism - Vienna Circle in the Nordic Countries

Conference date


Conference place

Helsinki, Finland




  • ISSN: 0929-6328
  • ISBN: 978-90-481-3682-7