What is Carnap's conventionalism after all?

Synthese 137 (1-2):261 - 272 (2003)
As is well known, Carnap's conventionalism was a rejection to Kant's view ofmathematics and was fully developed in his Logische Syntax der Sprache.The purpose of this article is to step back to Der Logische Aufbau der Weltto show that the Logical Syntax of Language is an attempt to solve difficultiesfound in the earlier construction. I first clarify the notion of conventionalism, whichplays a central role in the application of mathematics to the reconstruction of empiricalknowledge. By not strictly distinguishing between the intuitive notion and thetopological concept of dimension, Carnap is led to a construction which is highlyquestionable. To illustrate the constructive method developed in the Aufbauand some of its inherent difficulties, I consider the computational aspects of theconstruction of phenomenological space via the mathematical concept of dimension.Contrary to Carnap's conventionalism, a dual nature of mathematical statements isbrought into existence by his logical reconstruction. So, if Carnap wants to retainhis mathematics as devoid of content, he must make a clear-cut distinction betweenanalytic and synthetic statements. Thus the natural follow-up to the Aufbau isthe Logical Syntax of Language.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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DOI 10.1023/A:1026299405453
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