Collected Works, vol. 1: Early Writings now out!

From today, the long-awaited first volume of Oxford’s 14-volume edition of the Collected Writings of Rudolf Carnap is finally available from OUP directly and Amazon [US][CA][UK][DE] (although some the Amazon sites other than the UK still only list it as available for pre-order). A preview of the book is available on Google Books.

It’s been years and years of work, and I’m very glad we finally have something to show for our labors. There are too many people to thank, and I won’t even try here — but see the volume 1 editors’ acknowledgements.

For those who haven’t yet seen the propaganda, I will summarize it:

Not only is this the definitive edition of Carnap’s works, but this volume in particular is the first ever English translation of Carnap’s pre-Aufbau, pre-Vienna publications, including his dissertation Der Raum. The translations are of outstandingly high quality; they are the outcome of years and years of back and forth among the editors and others who helped with them. But no translation is perfect, so the original texts are included on facing pages. These original texts themselves are the product of years of work by a team of scholars led by Gottfried Gabriel and Wolfgang Kienzler in Jena, who received successive grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to establish definitive texts of all Carnap’s German writings. The editorial notes to each text are encyclopedic, supplying background that explains the philosophical, mathematical, scientific, and cultural contexts of many passages that might otherwise be obscure to present-day readers. (Michael Friedman’s detailed notes to Der Raum are nearly as long as the dissertation itself, and David Malament’s long note explaining the mathematical and physical background to Carnap’s 1925 effort to simplify the logical structure of general relativity relates it illuminatingly to analogous efforts in recent physics and philosophy of physics.) The volume’s introduction by Michael Friedman and myself gives a general overview of Carnap’s development up to and during the early 1920s, explaining the various trains of thought that led to (and from) the texts in the volume as well as their interrelations.