Carnap, the principle of tolerance, and empiricism

Philosophy of Science 77 (3):341-358 (2010)
Kurt Gödel criticizes Rudolf Carnap's conventionalism on the grounds that it relies on an empiricist admissibility condition, which, if applied, runs afoul of his second incompleteness theorem. Thomas Ricketts and Michael Friedman respond to Gödel's critique by denying that Carnap is committed to Gödel's admissibility criterion; in effect, they are denying that Carnap is committed to any empirical constraint in the application of his principle of tolerance. I argue in response that Carnap is indeed committed to an empirical requirement vis‐à‐vis tolerance, a fact that becomes clear upon closer scrutiny of Carnap's relevant writings. *Received July 2009; revised January 2010. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Saskatchewan, 9 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5, Canada; e‐mail:
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DOI 10.1086/652960
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