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Vienna in the Age of UncertaintyScience, Liberalism, and Private Life$
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Deborah R. Coen

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226111728

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226111780.001.0001

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Introduction A Scientific Dynasty

Introduction A Scientific Dynasty

(p.1) Introduction A Scientific Dynasty
Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty
University of Chicago Press

This chapter takes up the story of the Exners, Vienna's foremost scientific dynasty. It also utilizes the story of the scientific dynasty to chart the evolution of a form of authority specific to the convergence of science and liberalism in imperial Austria. Additionally, it argues that Austrian liberals made probabilistic reasoning into a virtue rather than an admission of defeat. Austria's culture of uncertainty was an alliance of science and liberalism related to and yet distinct from those that emerged elsewhere in Europe in the nineteenth century. Brunnwinkl was the bridge between the Exners' public and private lives. Moreover, the Exners aimed to bridge the gulfs between individual minds, to build a high road over the abyss of solipsism. The chapters in this book concentrates on a juncture at which the Exners' development as a family intersected with transformations in Austrian science, culture, and politics.

Keywords:   scientific dynasty, Exners, Vienna, liberalism, imperial Austria, Austrian liberals, Brunnwinkl, Austrian science, Austrian culture, Austrian politics

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