Johan Strang: Doctrinarism and Eclecticism

In his sub project Doctrinarism and Eclecticism – Analytic philosophers in the Northern peripheries of Europe Johan Strang examines the tensions between the international and national strategies of a group of Nordic philosophers in the period between 1930 and 1970.

He examines the ways in which the local-national context determined the ways in which these philosophers approached the Vienna Circle and the ways in which they utilised these connections and ideas at home when canonising the analytic school in Nordic philosophy. As a hypothesis it seems as if it was easier for the philosophers from the young nations Norway and Finland to refer to foreign authorities in their strife for a modernisation of the philosophical discipline. By contrast, in Sweden logical empiricism failed to break through until it was re-described as the natural continuation of a local philosophical tradition (the “Uppsala philosophy” of Axel Hägerström).

Secondly, Strang will pay particular attention to two famous Nordic philosophers with roots in the logical empiricist tradition, Arne Næss (1968) and Georg Henrik von Wright (1971), who in making famous attempts at bridging the gulf between the “analytic” and “continental” seem to exemplify the innovative eclectic potential of the peripheral predicament.

Strang’s thesis from 2010 is available at

Strang has also done work on Nordic cooperation, for example the report Nordic communities which is available at

Currently Strang is also working with his own post doc project on the intellectual and political discussions of post war Scandinavia (“Stubborn Scandinavian Realists?”, Academy of Finland 2012-15).

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