Tolerance and metalanguages in carnap'slogical syntax of language

Synthese 103 (1):123 - 139 (1995)
Michael Friedman has recently argued that Carnap'sLogical Syntax of Language is fundamentally flawed in a way that reveals the ultimate failure of logical positivism. Friedman's argument depends crucially on two claims: (1) that Carnap was committed to the view that there is a universal metalanguage and (2) that given what Carnap wanted from a metalanguage, in particular given that he wanted a definition of analytic for an object language, he was in fact committed to a hierarchy of stronger and stronger metalanguages. We argue that neither of these claims need be accepted. We show that there is no textual evidence for (1) and that if metalanguages are to be used for merely descriptive and not also justificatory purposes, Carnap does not need to define analyticity sufficiently for proving consistency, and so could have given a definition that does not entail a hierarchy of metalanguages.
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