Carnap's conception of linguistic frameworks is widespread; however, it is not entirely clear nor consensual to pinpoint what is the influence of his stance within the traditional realist/anti-realist debate. In this paper, we place Carnap as a proponent of a scientific realist stance, by presenting what he called “linguistic realism”. Some possible criticisms are considered, and a case study is offered with wave function realism, a popular position in the philosophy of quantum mechanics.
The received view on the development of the correspondence rules in Carnap’s philosophy of science is that at first, Carnap assumed the explicit definability of all theoretical terms in observational terms and later weakened this assumption. In the end, he conjectured that all observational terms can be explicitly defined in in theoretical terms, but not vice versa. I argue that from the very beginning, Carnap implicitly held this last view, albeit at times in contradiction to his professed position. To establish (...) this point I argue that, first, Carnap’s ‘Über die Aufgabe der Physik’ is a contribution to the philosophy of science of logical empiricism, contrary to Thomas Mormann and in agreement with Herbert Feigl. Second, Michael Friedman misunderstands the ‘Aufgabe’ with his claim that it describes a method for arriving at explicit definitions for theoretical terms. Another received view on Carnap’s philosophy of science is that it assumed a formalization of physical theories that was too detached from actual physics and thus justly disavowed in favor of the semantic view as, for example, developed by van Fraassen. But the ‘Aufgabe’ and related works including the Aufbau show that from the very beginning to his last works, Carnap suggested formalizing physical theories as restrictions in mathematical spaces, as in the state-space conception of scientific theories favored by van Fraassen. (shrink)
Carnap and Goodman developed methods of conceptual re-engineering known respectively as explication and reflective equilibrium. These methods aim at advancing theories by developing concepts that are simultaneously guided by pre-existing concepts and intended to replace these concepts. This paper shows that Carnap’s and Goodman’s methods are historically closely related, analyses their structural interconnections, and argues that there is great systematic potential in interpreting them as aspects of one method, which ultimately must be conceived as a component of theory development. The (...) main results are: an adequate method of conceptual re-engineering must focus not on individual concepts but on systems of concepts and theories; the linear structure of Carnapian explication must be replaced by a process of mutual adjustments as described by Goodman; Carnap’s condition of similarity can be analysed into two components, one securing a relation to the specific extensions of the pre-existing concepts, one regulating the transition to the new system of concepts; these two criteria of adequacy can be built into Goodman’s account of reflective equilibrium to ensure that the resulting concepts promote theoretical virtues while being sufficiently similar to the concepts we started out with. (shrink)
Pseudoproblems, pseudoquestions, pseudosentences (etc.) constitute an iridescent group of concepts which were prominently used by the Vienna Circle (including Wittgenstein). In the course of an explication this paper presents a compilation of the many different meanings that were given to these expressions. This includes the more prominent Viennese approaches as well as a more recent one by Roy Sorensen. A novel proposal concerning the use ofthe term is made, suggesting that nothing is just a pseudoproblem, but only relative to a (...) certain state of discourse. While the paper follows an explicative methodology, several uses of 'pseudoproblem', including the explicated one, relate pseudoproblemhood to other kinds of analysis. (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 research aims to address the hypothesis of the possible influence of Rickert’s ideas about chaos on the philosophy of Rudolf Carnap. This paper considers arguments in favor of the hypothesis and those against it. I show that pieces of evidence exist, proving that Rickert’s interpretation of chaos influenced Rudolf Carnap when he was working on Der logische Aufbau der Welt. I argue that Carnap’s pre-Aufbau unpublished manuscript Vom Chaos zur Wirklichkeit demonstrates this influence. This study opens new vistas in (...) exploring the genesis of Carnap’s ideas. (shrink)
From 1953 to 1959 Gödel worked on a response to Carnap’s philosophy of mathematics. The drafts display Gödel’s familiarity with Carnap’s position from The Logical Syntax of Language, but they received a dismissive reaction on their eventual, posthumous, publication. Gödel’s two principal points, however, will here be defended. Gödel, though, had wished simply to append a few paragraphs to show that the same arguments apply to Carnap’s later views. Carnap’s position, however, had changed significantly in the intervening years, and to (...) a significant extent, this mature position realizes much of what Gödel himself wanted out of a philosophy of mathematics. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe distinction between ‘context of discovery’ and ‘context of justification’ in philosophy of science appears simple at first but contains interesting complexities. Paul Hoyningen-Huene has catalogued some of these complexities and suggested that the core usefulness of the ‘context distinction’ is in distinguishing between descriptive and normative perspectives. Here, I expand on Hoyningen-Huene’s project by tracing the label ‘context of discovery and context of justification’ to its origin. I argue that, contrary to initial appearances, Hans Reichenbach’s initial context distinction from (...) 1938 does not easily map onto Hoyningen-Huene’s distinction between descriptive and normative perspectives on science. However, this is not a reason to reject Hoyningen-Huene’s simplified context distinction, nor do I recommend returning to Reichenbach’s initial proposal. It is, however, further reason to believe that the context distinction does not have a single, easily understood meaning. Along the way, I revisit Reichenbach’s version of ‘rational reconstruction’ and highlight its usefulness as a tool for philosophy in general. (shrink)
This article investigates the various ways in which Rudolf Carnap incorporated contemporary epistemological problems concerning the Geisteswissenschaften in Der logische Aufbau der Welt. I argue that Carnap defends a nonreductive incorporation of the Geisteswissenschaften within the unity of science. To this end Carnap aims to solve the problem of individuality, which was the focus of attention for important philosophers of the Geisteswissenschaften such as Wilhelm Dilthey, Heinrich Rickert, and Wilhelm Windelband. At the same time, Carnap argues that his constitutional method, (...) which transforms cultural objects into psychological or physical objects, does not imply a loss of autonomy for the Geisteswissenschaften. Besides this defense of autonomy, Carnap incorporates several central notions of the contemporary theory of the Geisteswissenschaften into his theory of the Aufbau: cultural manifestation, the phenomenology of cultural experience, and the method of Verstehen. (shrink)
The debate between critics of syntactic and semantic approaches to the formalization of scientific theories has been going on for over 50 years. I structure the debate in light of a recent exchange between Hans Halvorson, Clark Glymour, and Bas van Fraassen and argue that the only remaining disagreement concerns the alleged difference in the dependence of syntactic and semantic approaches on languages of predicate logic. This difference turns out to be illusory.
Unified science is a recurring theme in Carnap's work from the time of the Aufbau until the end of the 1930's. The theme is not constant, but knows several variations. I shall extract three quite precise formulations of the thesis of unified science from Carnap's work during this period: from the Aufbau, from Carnap's so-called syntactic period, and from "Testability and Meaning" and related papers. My main objective is to explain these formulations and to discuss their relation, both to each (...) other and to other aspects of Carnap's work. (shrink)
The rise of experimental philosophy has placed metaphilosophical questions, particularly those concerning concepts, at the center of philosophical attention. X-phi offers empirically rigorous methods for identifying conceptual content, but what exactly it contributes towards evaluating conceptual content remains unclear. We show how x-phi complements Rudolf Carnap’s underappreciated methodology for concept determination, explication. This clarifies and extends x-phi’s positive philosophical import, and also exhibits explication’s broad appeal. But there is a potential problem: Carnap’s account of explication was limited to empirical and (...) logical concepts, but many concepts of interest to philosophers are essentially normative. With formal epistemology as a case study, we show how x-phi assisted explication can apply to normative domains. (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)
Eino Kaila’s recently translated Human Knowledge: A Classic Statement of Logical Empiricism from 1939 is an important document both in the history of analytic philosophy and the history of logical empiricism in particular. Kaila discusses all the relevant topics that featured in the discussions of the Vienna Circle in the early 1930s and provides a neat summary with his own historical narrative and critical remarks.
Against Thomas Mormann's argument that differential topology does not support Carnap's conventionalism in geometry we show their compatibility. However, Mormann's emphasis on the entanglement that characterizes topology and its associated metrics is not misplaced. It poses questions about limits of empirical inquiry. For Carnap, to pose a question is to give a statement with the task of deciding its truth. Mormann's point forces us to introduce more clarity to what it means to specify the task that decides between competing hypotheses (...) and in what way such a task may be both in practice and/or in principle impossible to carry out. (shrink)
This paper consists of three sections. In the first one, some of the main developments in the philosophy of science through the xx century up to the present will be pointed out, and inserted them in the frame of some more general philosophical transformations, such as the so-called “linguistic turn” and “pragmatic turn”, respectively. In the second one, the established connection will be nuanced, from a revision of the work of a “classical” author such as Carnap. Finally, it will be (...) intended a kind of “balance and future perspectives”. (shrink)
The logical empiricists often appear as a foil for feminist theories. Their emphasis on the individualistic nature of knowledge and on the value-neutrality of science seems directly opposed to most feminist concerns. However, several recent works have highlighted aspects of Carnap's views that make him seem like much less of a straightforwardly positivist thinker. Certain of these aspects lend themselves to feminist concerns much more than the stereotypical picture would imply.
In the 1930s, Carnap set out to incorporate psychology into the unity of science, by showing that all cognitively meaningful sentences of psychology can be translated into the language of physics. I will argue that Carnap, relying on his notion of protocol languages, defends a physicalistic philosophy of psychology that shows due appreciation to 'introspection' as a strictly subjective, but reliable way to verify sentences about one’s own mind. Second, I will point out that Carnap’s philosophy of psychology not only (...) takes into account overt behaviour, but must comprise neurophysiological processes as well. Last, I will show that Carnap aims to develop a philosophy of psychology that does justice to the ongoing changeability of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
In this paper I will compare the concept of explication à la Carnap and the concept of explication à la Kant. This essay should primarily be seen as a comparison of two different philosophical styles, but it is also intended as a vindication of what Kant wrote and what Carnap forgot to read.
In the 1930s, several members of the Vienna Circle set out to incorporate psychology in the unity of science, by showing that all cognitively significant sentences of psychology can be translated into the language of physics. This epistemological analysis of psychology has become known as logical behaviourism. Carnap was the first logical empiricist to expound this programme in considerable detail. Relying on his particular notion of protocol languages, Carnap develops a view on the philosophy of psychology that not only is (...) thoroughly physicalistic, but also shows due appreciation to 'introspection' as a purely subjective, but reliable way to verify sentences about one's own mind. Second, contrary to the received view on logical behaviourism, Carnap's philosophy of psychology not only takes into account overt behaviour, but micro-physiological processes as well. Last, Carnap's physicalistic philosophy of mind couples full awareness of the changeability of scientific knowledge with the aspiration to develop a philosophy of psychology that really does justice to this changeability. (shrink)
Rudolf Carnap delivered the hitherto unpublished lecture ‘Theoretical Concepts in Science’ at the meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Paciﬁc Division, at Santa Barbara, California, on 29 December 1959. It was part of a symposium on ‘Carnap’s views on Theoretical Concepts in Science’. In the bibliography that appears in the end of the volume, ‘The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap’, edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp, a revised version of this address appears to be among Carnap’s forthcoming papers. But although Carnap started (...) to revise it, he never ﬁnished the revision,1 and never published the unrevised transcript. Perhaps this is because variants of the approach to theoretical concepts presented for the ﬁrst time in the Santa Barbara lecture have appeared in other papers of his (cf. the editorial footnotes in Carnap’s lecture). Still, I think, the Santa Barbara address is a little philosophical gem that needs to see the light of day. The document that follows is the unrevised transcript of Carnap’s lecture.2 Its style, then, is that of an oral presentation. I decided to leave it as it is, making only very minor stylistic changes—which, except those related to punctuation, are indicated by curly brackets.3 I think that reading this lecture is a rewarding experience, punctuated as the lecture is with odd remarks and autobiographical points. One can almost envisage.. (shrink)
Starting from the question of whether Ernst Mach's well-known notion of "Elemente" (elements) must lead to the verdict that the arch-anti-metaphysician himself may be justly accused of holding an essantially metaphysical position, the idea of metaphysical neutrality is explained in Section I. Section II deals with Quine's verdict on abstract entities, among which Mach's elements would have to be counted if there were no way out of the Quinean test. Such a way out, it is proposed in section III, is (...) Carnap's Remedy: the distinction of external and internal questions. Finally, in Section IV, the empirical meaning of Mach's notion of elements is explained, from whence it's argued that Mach's "philosophy" is good, non-metaphysical, empirical science. (shrink)
The central theme running throughout this outstanding new survey is the nature of the philosophical debate created by modern science's foundation in experimental and mathematical method. More recently, recognition that reasoning in science is probabilistic generated intense debate about whether and how it should be constrained so as to ensure the practical certainty of the conclusions drawn. These debates brought to light issues of a philosophical nature which form the core of many scientific controversies today. _Scientific Method: A Historical and (...) Philosophical Introduction_ presents these debates through clear and comparative discussion of key figures in the history of science. Key chapters critically discuss * Galileo's demonstrative method, Bacon's inductive method, and Newton's rules of reasoning * the rise of probabilistic `Bayesian' methods in the eighteenth century * the method of hypotheses through the work of Herschel, Mill and Whewell * the conventionalist views of Poincaré and Duhem * the inductivism of Peirce, Russell and Keynes * Popper's falsification compared with Reichenbach's enumerative induction * Carnap's scientific method as Bayesian reasoning The debates are brought up to date in the final chapters by considering the ways in which ideas about method in the physical and biological sciences have affected thinking about method in the social sciences. This debate is analyzed through the ideas of key theorists such as Kuhn, Lakatos, and Feyerabend. (shrink)
I see the perspective of Tolerance as enshrining an attitude toward philosophical work that stresses its continuity with the procedures of conceptual clarification through mathematisation found in the sciences. What I have tried to show is that Carnap's understanding of the philosophical foundations of mathematics is inseparable from his understanding of the business of philosophy of empirical science.
Thirty years after the publication of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, sharp disagreement persists concerning the implications of Kuhn’s "historicist" challenge to empiricism. I discuss the historicist movement over the past thirty years, and the extent to which the discourse between two branches of the historical school has been influenced by tacit assumptions shared with Rudolf Carnap’s empiricism. I begin with an examination of Carnap’s logicism --his logic of science-- and his 1960 correspondence with Kuhn. I focus on (...) problems in the analysis applied to the unit of metascientific study or appraisal, arguing for a reassessment of historicist treatment of the internal/external distinction and historiographic meta-methodology. The critique of objectivism and relativism that eventuates from this re-assessment is a double-edged blade, undercutting both objectivist and relativist treatments of cognitive evaluation and scientific change. I use it to cut across an otherwise diverse group of historicist-influenced writers, including Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan, H. M. Collins, Stephen Stich. I. Introduction.. (shrink)
Frederick Kronz constructs interesting examples in an attempt to show deficiencies in my concept of evidence and the advantages in Carnap's positive relevance idea. His discussion raises general questions of importance in developing an adequate account of scientific evidence questions about the relationship between evidence and belief and the role of emphasis in determining evidence. His examples are challenging, but do they work?
It is not the aim of the present essay to defend the principle of empiricism against apriorism or anti-empiricist metaphysics. Taking empirism for granted, we wish to discuss, the question what is meaningful. The word ‘meaning’ will here be taken in its empiricist sense; an expression of language has meaning in this sense if we know how to use it in speaking about empirical facts, either actual or possible ones. Now our problem is what expressions are meaningful in this sense. (...) We may restrict this question to sentences because expressions other than sentences are meaningful if and only if they can occur in a meaningful sentence. (shrink)
One thing we have found out about logical empiricism, now that people are examining it more closely again, is that it was more a framework for a number of related views than a single doctrine. The pluralism of different approaches among various adherents to the Vienna and Berlin groups has been much emphasized. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the kind of speculative philosophy now often called "continental" (including, say, phenomenology) can be seen as falling within the (...) framework of views shared by the Vienna Circle. Much is made of Felix Kaufmann's membership in the Vienna Circle, for instance, or of its "Austrian" roots in the phenomenology of Brentano. (shrink)
In recent years, a revisionist process focused on logical positivism can be observed. One aspect of this revisionism -defended by authors like Michael Friedman, John Earman and George Reisch - is the thesis that Carnap’s later thought is compatible with that of Kuhn and even that Carnap anticipates some relevant points of Kuhn’s theory of science. In this paper I discuss one of Carnap’s texts most frequently cited by revisionists in favor of their thesis -"Truth and Confirmation" - trying to (...) put it in the context of Carnap’s work. My intention is to analyze revisionist interpretation on the basis of other texts by Carnap and show that revisionists, while assembling their jigsaw puzzle concerning Carnap’s work, have inadvertently forgotten to consider some pieces of importance in the formation of a theoretically and historically cogent picture. (shrink)