In his recent article "Carnapian Frameworks" (Synthese, 2021), Gabriel Broughton criticizes my discussions of Carnap on ontology and puts forward his own interpretation of what Carnap’s external/internal distinction amounts to. I here first argue that Broughton’s main claims about me are based on a misinterpretation. Then I turn to some issues of broader interest. I argue that Broughton’s own, potentially interesting interpretation of Carnap’s external/internal distinction does not work. And in light of Broughton’s discussion I present a sharpened version of (...) what I have earlier said about Carnap’s this distinction. (shrink)
The main goal of this paper is to work out Quine's account of explication. Quine does not provide a general account, but considers a paradigmatic example which does not fit other examples he claims to be explications. Besides working out Quine's account of explication and explaining this tension, I show how it connects to other notions such as paraphrase and ontological commitment. Furthermore, I relate Quinean explication to Carnap's conception and argue that Quinean explication is much narrower because its main (...) purpose is to be a criterion of theory choice. (shrink)
Carnap’s 1931 attack against metaphysics notoriously utilises Heidegger’s work to exemplify the meaninglessness of metaphysical pseudo‐statements. This paper interprets Carnap’s metametaphysics as concerned with delimiting theoretical dialogue in such a manner as to exclude unresolvable disagreements. It puts forth a revised version of Carnap’s argument against the viability of metaphysics, by setting aside his stronger claims that rely on verificationism and focusing instead on his account of metaphysical claims as mere expressions of what he calls “Lebensgefühl,” or a general attitude (...) towards life. Such attitudes, Carnap argues, are unsuitable objects of theoretical dialogue, insofar as disagreements that concern them are unresolvable. Carnap thus recommends abandoning the attempt to resolve metaphysical disagreements as if they were theoretical. As long as it does not enter into unresolvable disagreements, art, rather than theory, is the appropriate medium for expressing Lebensgefühl. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that there are relevant similarities of Aristotle's account of definition and Carnap's account of explication. To show this, first, Aristotle's conditions of adequacy for definitions are provided and an outline of the main critique put forward against Aristotle's account of definition is given. Subsequently, Carnap's conditions of adequacy for explications are presented and discussed. It is shown that Aristotle's conditions of extensional correctness can be interpreted against the backdrop of Carnap's condition of similarity once (...) one skips Aristotelian essentialism and takes in a Carnapian and more pragmatic stance. Finally, it is argued that, in general, a complementary rational reconstruction of both approaches allows for resolving problems of interpretational underdetermination. (shrink)
It seems natural to think that Carnapian explication and experimental philosophy can go hand in hand. But what exactly explicators can gain from the data provided by experimental philosophers remains controversial. According to an influential proposal by Shepherd and Justus, explicators should use experimental data in the process of ‘explication preparation’. Against this proposal, Mark Pinder has recently suggested that experimental data can directly assist an explicator’s search for fruitful replacements of the explicandum. In developing his argument, he also proposes (...) a novel aspect of what makes a concept fruitful, namely, that it is taken up by the relevant community. In this paper, I defend explication preparation against Pinder’s objections and argue that his uptake proposal conflates theoretical and practical success conditions of explications. Furthermore, I argue that Pinder’s suggested experimental procedure needs substantial revision. I end by distinguishing two kinds of explication projects, and showing how experimental philosophy can contribute to each of them. (shrink)
This chapter explores the relation between Sellars and Carnap by focusing on Sellars’s reception of Carnap’s Logical Syntax of Language. It claims that Carnap’s book was an important source of inspiration for Sellars. He saw promise in some of Carnap’s ideas to further a theory of meaning free of the Myth of the Given, while objecting that Carnap neglects the normativity of meaning. It is argued that this neglect leads to tensions internal to Carnap’s system. Three problems are formulated which (...) arise for any theory of meaning compatible with Carnap’s syntax. The remedy for these problems lies in a normative account of meaning. (shrink)
In this paper, I fill out the received view of logical positivism within professional philosophy against which Thomas Kuhn’s Structure appeared. To do this, I look at the methodological dimensions of ordinary language criticisms of logical positivist analysis from P.F. Strawson and J.L. Austin. While no one would confuse Strawson and Austin for philosophers of science, I look to their criticisms given the general porousness of sub-disciplinary boundaries in mid-20th century philosophy, the prominence of ordinary language philosophy in the 1950s, (...) and also because Kuhn was likely aware of their criticisms via Stanley Cavell. Their main charge is that the positivists base their ideal language analysis on an impoverished, yet overreaching account of meaning because they ignore ordinary linguistic practices. I then show how these methodological criticisms run parallel to points Kuhn makes against logical positivist approaches to the study of scientific knowledge. The parallels I draw emphasize methodological, rather than doctrinal dissatisfaction in mid-20th century philosophy with logical positivism’s perceived neglect of linguistic and scientific practices. An insight shared by these parallel criticisms is that logical positivists cannot declare linguistic and scientific practices irrelevant to their philosophical aims without an antecedent investigation of the practices under question. (shrink)
The focus of the article is the self-predication principle, according to which the/a such-and-such is such-and-such. We consider contemporary approaches (Frege, Russell, Meinong) to the self-predication principle, as well as fourteenth-century approaches (Burley, Ockham, Buridan). In crucial ways, the Ockham-Buridan view prefigures Russell’s view, and Burley’s view shows a striking resemblance to Meinong’s view. In short the Russell-Ockham-Buridan view holds: no existence, no truth. The Burley-Meinong view holds, in short: intelligibility suffices for truth. Both views approach self-predication in a uniform (...) way. We were unable to find a medieval philosopher who, like Frege, approaches self-predication in a non-uniform way. We do not want to dispute that there are also considerable differences between the contemporary and the fourteenth-century approach to self-predication. Importantly, fourteenth-century accounts of self-predication rely strongly on the identity theory of predication, and this theory is not endorsed by contemporary philosophers of language. Nevertheless, some basic tenets seem to us to be clearly shared between fourteenth-century and contemporary thinkers. (shrink)
A. W. Carus champions Rudolf Carnap’s ideal of explication as a model for liberal political deliberation. Constructing a linguistic framework for discussing social problems, he argues, promotes the resolution of our disputes. To flesh out and assess this proposal, I examine debate about the social institutions of marriage and adoption. Against Carus, I argue that not all citizens would accept the pragmatic principles underlying Carnap’s ideal. Nevertheless, explication may facilitate inquiry in the social sciences and be used to create models (...) that help us to understand past disputes. This latter application reveals explication’s potential for refining the social histories that inform contemporary political discourse. (shrink)
In a number of influential papers, Machery, Mallon, Nichols and Stich have presented a powerful critique of so-called arguments from reference, arguments that assume that a particular theory of reference is correct in order to establish a substantive conclusion. The critique is that, due to cross-cultural variation in semantic intuitions supposedly undermining the standard methodology for theorising about reference, the assumption that a theory of reference is correct is unjustified. I argue that the many extant responses to Machery et al.’s (...) critique do little for the proponent of an argument from reference, as they do not show how to justify the problematic assumption. I then argue that it can in principle be justified by an appeal to Carnapian explication. I show how to apply the explication defence to arguments from reference given by Andreasen and by Churchland. (shrink)
Carnap’s Ideal of Explication and Naturalism is the second book on Rudolf Carnap’s philosophy edited by Pierre Wagner for Palgrave Macmillan’s series The History of Analytic Philosophy. The collection of essays is important for several reasons both for philosophers and historians of philosophy, but some parts of it will also be valuable to anyone interested in general scientific methodologies. I shall first survey the theme in order to locate the collection within the recent philosophical discussion then I will consider the (...) volume itself. (shrink)
Several recent works in history and philosophy of science have re-evaluated the alleged opposition between the theses put forth by logical empiricists such as Carnap and the so-called "post-positivists", such as Kuhn. Although the latter came to be viewed as having seriously challenged the logical positivist views of science, recent authors (e.g., Friedman, Reisch, Earman, Irzik and Grünberg) maintain that some of the most notable theses of the Kuhnian view of science have striking similarities with some aspects of Carnap's philosophy. (...) Against that reading, Oliveira and Psillos argue that within Carnap's philosophy there is no place for the Kuhnian theses of incommensurability, holism, and theory-ladenness of observations. This paper presents each of those readings and argues that Carnap and Kuhn have non-opposing views on holism, incommensurability, the theory-ladenness of observations, and scientific revolutions. We note at the very end - without dwelling on the point, however - that they come apart on other matters, such as their views on metaphysics and on the context of discovery/justification distinction. (shrink)
Rudolf Carnap's 1930s philosophy of logic, including his adherence to the principle of tolerance, is discussed. What theses did Carnap commit himself to, exactly? I argue that while Carnap did commit himself to a certain multitude thesis—there are different logics of different languages, and the choice between these languages is merely a matter of expediency—there is no evidence that he rejected a language-transcendent notion of fact, contrary to what Warren Goldfarb and Thomas Ricketts have prominently argued. (In fact, it is (...) obscure just what Goldfarb and Ricketts claim about Carnap). Toward the end I critically discuss Michael Friedman's suggestion that Carnap believed in a relative a priori. (shrink)
This paper is a review of Rudolf Carnap's changing attitudes towards the conceptualisation of pseudo-problems. For that purpose his early works are divided into four phases each of which display subtle dierences with respect to the role pseudo-problems play in Carnap's epistemology and philosophical methodology. Based on a number of short texts by Carnap, an attempt is made to give provisional denitions of 'pseudo-problem' and related expressions.
Carnap's theory of descriptions was restricted in two ways. First, the descriptive conditions had to be non-modal. Second, only primitive predicates or the identity predicate could be used to predicate something of the descriptum . The motivating reasons for these two restrictions that can be found in the literature will be critically discussed. Both restrictions can be relaxed, but Carnap's theory can still be blamed for not dealing adequately with improper descriptions.
My target in this paper is a view that has sometimes been called the ‘ Linguistic Doctrine of Necessary Truth ’ and sometimes ‘Conventionalism about Necessity’. It is the view that necessity is grounded in the meanings of our expressions—meanings which are sometimes identified with the conventions governing those expressions—and that our knowledge of that necessity is based on our knowledge of those meanings or conventions. In its simplest form the view states that a truth, if it is necessary, is (...) necessary because it is analytic. It is widely recognized that this simple version of the view faces a prima facie problem with the existence of the necessary a posteriori. Assuming that all analytic truths are a priori, if there are necessary a posteriori truths then there are necessary synthetic truths—contradicting the view’s claim that all necessary truths are analytic. Contemporary L-DONTers have things to say about the problem, but in this paper I want to suggest that there is a different, more serious, problem which arises from the phenomenon of indexicality, which L-DONTers have not taken account of. Though there are many versions of the problem, a simple one is this. Consider Kaplan’s celebrated sentence. (shrink)
The paper reconstructs the three main stages in the development of Carnap’s semantics in the years 1935–1947. It starts with Carnap’s approach to metalogic in his Zirkelprotokolle (1931) and his Logische Syntax der Sprache (1934) from the point of view of one-level approach to the relation between metalanguage and its object-language. It then analyzes Tarski’s turn to semantics in his paper presented at the Paris conference in September 1935, as well as the implications of his view for Carnap’s approach to (...) semantics from 1935 until 1943. Finally, it analyzes Church’s rediscovery of Frege and its impact on Carnap’s shift to the extension/intension distinction in his semantics in the years 1943–1947. (shrink)
This collection, with essays by Graham H. Bird, Jaakko Hintikka, Ilkka Niiniluoto, Jan Wolenski, will interest graduate students of the philosophy of language and logic, as well as professional philosophers, historians of analytic philosophy, and philosophically inclined logicians. Language, Truth and Knowledge brings together 11 new essays that offer a wealth of insights on a number of Carnap's concerns and ideas. The volume arose out of a symposium on Carnap's work at an international conference held in Vienna in 2001. The (...) essays are written from a variety of perspectives: -some essays aim at rebutting influential criticisms directed at Carnap's views; -others examine and assess his thought in the light of recent developments in the neurosciences; -still others are historical and describe the development of Carnap's thought; -they all shed light on the relation of this thought and different philosophical traditions. These essays form a collection that will prove a valuable resource for our understanding of the historic Carnap and the living philosophical issues with which he grappled. (shrink)
Recent Carnap scholarship suggests that the received view of the Carnap-Quine analyticity debate is importantly mistaken. It has been suggested that Carnap’s analyticity distinction is immune from Quine’s criticisms. This is either because Quine did not understand Carnap’s use of analytic-ity, or because Quine did not appreciate that, rather than dispelling dog-mas, he was merely offering an alternate framework for philosophy. It has also been suggested that ultimately nothing of substance turns on this dis-pute. I am sympathetic to these reassessments (...) and their rejection of the re-ceived view, but argue that they fail to pay proper attention to Carnap’s metaphysical deflationism. For it is there that Quine’s arguments ultimately make contact with Carnap, undermining his metaphysical deflationism. Moreover, the viability of deflationism is directly related to the viability of Carnap’s view of philosophy as methodologically distinct from science. Hence, Quine’s criticisms make contact with the deepest aspects of Carnap’s views. (shrink)
Recently O'Grady argued that Quine's "Two Dogmas" misses its mark when Carnap's use of the analyticity distinction is understood in the light of his deflationism. While in substantial agreement with the stress on Carnap's deflationism, I argue that O'Grady is not sufficiently sensitive to the difference between using the analyticity distinction to support deflationism, and taking a deflationary attitude towards the distinction itself; the latter being much more controversial. Being sensitive to this difference, and viewing Quine as having reason to (...) insist on a nonarbitrary analyticity distinction, we see that "Two Dogmas" makes direct contact with Carnap's deflationism. We must look beyond "Two Dogmas" to Quine's other critiques of analyticity to understand why the arbitrariness of the distinction threatens to undermine or overextend Carnap's deflationism. (edited). (shrink)
This paper considers the evolution of the problem of scientific rationality from Kant through Carnap to Kuhn. I argue for a relativized and historicized version of the original Kantian conception of scientific a priori principles and examine the way in which these principles change and develop across revolutionary paradigm shifts. The distinctively philosophical enterprise of reflecting upon and contextualizing such principles is then seen to play a key role in making possible rational intersubjective communication between otherwise incommensurable paradigms.
In this paper, I distinguish different kinds of pluralism about logical consequence. In particular, I distinguish the pluralism about logic arising from Carnap’s Principle of Tolerance from a pluralism which maintains that there are different, equally “good” logical consequence relations on the one language. I will argue that this second form of pluralism does more justice to the contemporary state of logical theory and practice than does Carnap’s more moderate pluralism.
Quine’s paper “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” is famous for its attack on analyticity and the analytic/synthetic distinction. But there is an element of Quine’s attack that should strike one as extremely puzzling, namely his objection to Carnap’s account of analyticity. For it appears that, if this objection works, it will not only do away with analyticity, it will also do away with other semantic notions, notions that (or so one would have thought) Quine does not want to do away with, (...) in particular, it will also do away with truth. I shall argue that there is, indeed, no way for Quine to protect truth against the type of argument he himself advanced in “Two Dogmas” against Carnap’s notion of analyticity. If he wants to keep his argument, Quine has to discard truth along with analyticity. At the end of the paper I suggest an interpretation of Quine on which he can be seen as having done just that. (shrink)
InWord and Object W. V. Quine argues that there is no uniquely correct way to assign referents to the terms of a language; any claim about the reference of a term is implicitly relative to a manual of translation. To Rudolf Carnap this must have seemed familiar. BeforeWord and Object was written Carnap had been saying the same thing inMeaning and Necessity: under the assumption of the method of the name-relation, any claim about the reference of a term is implicitly (...) relative to what Carnap calls a conception of the name-relation. Yet Carnap is often taken to be a victim of Quine's relativistic notion of reference. Drawing on Carnap's discussion of the name-relation inMeaning and Necessity, it is argued that Carnap's and Quine's views on reference are not so far apart as is usually perceived. (shrink)
It is generally agreed that the method of explication consists in replacing a vague, presystematic notion (the explicandum) with a precise notion (the explicatum) formulated in a systematic context. However, Carnap and others who have used this and related terms appear to hold inconsistent views as to what constitutes an adequate explication. The central feature of the present explication of 'explication' is the correspondence condition: permitting the explicandum to deviate from some established "ordinary-language" conventions but, at the same time, requiring (...) that the explicatum correspond (via an effective translation) to the chosen "definitive intension" of the explicandum. (In effect, the first stages of an explication provide an informal characterization of a vague and possibly inconsistent language convention.) The present account of explication contrasts sharply with that sketched by Quine in Word and Object (although Quine accepts a correspondence condition of a sort). The terms `explication 1 ' and `explication 2 ' are used to indicate these quite different senses of the term. In Kaplan's terminology, explication 1 is intended to remedy "external vagueness" while explication 2 is intended to remedy "internal vagueness.". (shrink)
Modern empiricism has been conditioned in large part by two dogmas. One is a belief in some fundamental cleavage between truths which are analytic, or grounded in meanings independently of matters of fact, and truth which are synthetic, or grounded in fact. The other dogma is reductionism: the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience. Both dogmas, I shall argue, are ill founded. One effect of abandoning them is, as (...) we shall see, a blurring of the supposed boundary between speculative metaphysics and natural science. Another effect is a shift toward pragmatism. (shrink)