Virtual Archive of Logical Empiricism


A new digital humanities initiative at the Institute Vienna Circle (IVC) at the University of Vienna provides an open-source archive of digitized materials from and on the history of logical empiricism.

The Vienna Archive of Logical Empiricism, or VALEP, contains over 50,000 documents (from researchers at or collaborating with the IVC, as well as from the Archives of Scientific Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh). Anyone can use it for free.

The archive includes, among other things, large collections of the papers of Rudolf Carnap, Carl Gustav Hempel, Richard Jeffrey, Frank P. Ramsey, Rose Rand, Hans Reichenbach, Wilfrid Sellars, and Wolfgang Stegmüller. It aims to grow in size, and current plans include the addition of the entire scientific correspondence of Rudolf Carnap and the complete Nachlass of Moritz Schlick. A large amount of material currently not available will be added pending the resolution of copyright issues.

The archive’s database was developed during the current research project Carnap in Context II (FWF research grant P31716), with additional support from the Vienna Circle Society. The software will be optimized, and more data will be processed in the future research project Carnap in Context III (FWF research grant P34887, 2021-2025).

In an email about VALEP, Christian Damböck (Vienna) writes:

Why is VALEP a good idea?

  • Hundreds of researchers are taking photos of the very same archival sources just as tourists capture the same sight over and over again: That is so wasteful! Let’s share our materials and save on transatlantic flights and hotel costs!
  • Open access digital sources on the history of Logical Empiricism are spread all  over the world: A platform that merges these sources would be highly desirable.
  • VALEP allows for easy upload and management of large digital collections.
  • The content is hierarchically structured in archives, collections, boxes, and folders, just as the physical original are.
  • Complex metadata can be associated with the files then and processed into so-called “documents”.

He adds: “We welcome submissions and suggestions: Just get in touch with us!”

VALEP screenshot displaying a page from a letter from Rudolf to Elisabeth Carnap

The VALEP interface takes a little getting used to, and it can take a few moments for results to appear. There are some tips for first-time users here. There is also a video, which is findable by clicking on the arrow next to “Filter”, selecting “Video,” and waiting for links to the videos to appear in the window below.

The archive is here. Further questions about it should be directed to Professor Damböck.

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Michael Kremer
22 days ago

Please correct the spelling of Wilfrid Sellars’s name.Report