"I want to look like a lady, not like a factory worker"
Rose Rand, a woman philosopher of the Vienna circle
"I know her strangeness' Otto Neurath wrote to Esther Simpson, secretary of the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning, on December 6, 1941. He was referring to Rose Rand, of whom he also said "I know how difficult it is to help her without providing for her a minimum in privacy." Neurath concludes his letter with a distressing ascertainment: "What a sad world." This letter is part of a significant correspondence archive at Oxford University's Bodleian Library that covers segments of Rose Rand's life as an émigré in England. Known as the Jewish woman who transcribed the meetings of the Vienna Circle, Rand was forced to emigrate from Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938. Struggling to continue her philosophical work, she was instead advised to take up a monotonous manual job in a metal factory. It was then she proclaimed, "I want to look like a lady, not like a factory worker" (Simpson to Wittgenstein, 5 November 1943, BL 180).A second remarkable collection of Rand's papers is to be found at the Archives of Scientific Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. Covering a considerable span of time from Rand's early years in Vienna to her second emigration to the United States in 1954, this collection comprises her personal and professional records, working papers, and a significant amount of correspondence. Despite the richness of these archival sources, Rand has received only a modest amount of attention by historians of philosophy, let alone by philosophers themselves. A fully-fledged biography is still not available (Hamacher-Hermes 2003). Recent works, such as Mathias Iven's on Rand's relation to Ludwig Wittgenstein and another by Adelheid Hamacher-Hermes that focuses on Rand's work on logic, set the stage for further research. Moreover, they bring to the foreground Rand's remarkable and complex persona along with her philosophical writings, questioning established accounts of the history of philosophy (Iven 2004; Hamacher-Hermes 2003).
Rentetzi, M. (2010)., "I want to look like a lady, not like a factory worker": Rose Rand, a woman philosopher of the Vienna circle, in M. Surez, M. Dorato & M. Rédei (eds.), Epsa epistemology and methodology of science, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 233-244.
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