In this paper I aim to demonstrate that Rudolf Carnap's analysis of the application of information theory within physics, an intellectual-historical precedent of current philosophical criticisms toward this tendency, is justified. First, Carnap and Bar-Hillel (1952) underlined the unjustified ‘semantification’ of Shannon entropy Furthermore, Carnap criticized the ‘physicalization’ of Shannon entropy, but that criticism was not accepted by the physics community of the 1950s (Köhler 2001). Finally, in the posthumously published "Two Essays on Entropy" Carnap (1977) developed a critical assessment (...) of entropy concepts that showed some deep conceptual and interpretative deficiencies in Jaynes (1957a) and Brillouin’s (1956) informational approaches to thermophysics. (shrink)
The history of early analytic philosophy, and especially the work of the logical empiricists, has often been seen as involving antagonisms with rival schools. Though recent scholarship has interrogated the Vienna Circle’s relations with e.g. phenomenology and Neo-Kantianism, important works by some of its leading members are involved in responding to the rising tide of Lebensphilosophie. This paper will explore Carnap’s configuration of the relation between Lebensphilosophie and the overcoming of metaphysics, Schlick’s responses to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and Neurath’s reaction (...) against Spengler. (shrink)
In Der logische Aufbau der Welt, first published in 1928, Carnap aims to rationally reconstruct all objects of cognition by logico-definitional means. As a result, he intends to obtain a fully objective framework in which scientific discourse can take place. This is made possible by the novel method of ‘purely structural definite description’ of all scientifically relevant objects, which is first introduced in the Aufbau. Key to the attainment of this goal is the notion of ‘foundedness’, which Carnap presents as (...) a new basic notion of logic, in order to establish a link between the purely conventional world of logical and mathematical knowledge and the empirical world of knowledge of scientific objects. This idea experienced major criticism by Friedman (1999a,b) since he considers it to lead to the demolition of the boundary between those two worlds. In this essay, we want to defend foundedness against Friedman’s critique by arguing that its introduction is necessary within Carnap’s logicist world of thought to deal with a more fundamental problem: the demarcation of the empirical parts of the Aufbau. In the last section, we will give an outlook on the actual cause for the failure of the Aufbau, the lack of a principle to determine the truth of the instances of the basic relation in the Aufbau, and we will show how this can contribute to the explanation of Carnap’s future philosophical development and retrospective self-evaluation. This essay serves as a dense informal sketch for a later extensive formal treatment of this reading of foundedness and focuses on its implications for the interpretation of Carnap’s post-Aufbau development. (shrink)
According to W. V. O. Quine's received view, Rudolf Carnap's Der Logische Aufbau der Welt (henceforth Aufbau) is a radical empiricist project that attempts at reducing scientific knowledge to a phenomenalistic basis. In Quine's reading, having a phenomenalistic basis is an essential part of the thesis of the Aufbau. According to Michael Friedman, on the other hand, Aufbau is a neo-Kantian project that is primarily concerned with showing the possibility of objective and unified scientific knowledge. Thus, for Friedman, Carnap's choice (...) of phenomenalistic language is rather circumstantial. In this paper, I argue that both Quine and Friedman focus on two different aspects of the Aufbau, which as I shall suggest were equally significant and essential for Carnap's philosophical outlook at the time he was writing Aufbau. Hence, Aufbau should be appreciated for its truly ambitious objective that comprises both the radical empiricist and the neo-Kantian goals. (shrink)
Ce chapitre reprend, en l’enrichissant, un article antérieur sur la philosophie de la biologie de l’empirisme logique, en en examinant les thèses centrales telles qu’elles sont exprimées lors des rencontres de Prague, de Paris et de Copenhague, rencontres décisives pour le développement du mouvement et son rayonnement dans le monde occidental. Je montre que l’empirisme logique n’a pas contribué au développement de la philosophie de la biologie, comme il l’a fait pour celui de la philosophie de la physique ou des (...) mathématiques. Les raisons de cet échec sont triples: 1o) les empiristes logiques n’avaient qu’une vague connaissance des sciences biologiques; 2o) ils se sont focalisés sur un cadre stérile, l’antivitalisme et le réductionisme, qu’ils prenaient pour la philosophie de la biologie; 3o) cela les a empêchés de traiter des véritables problèmes de la biologie. Entre les différentes sections de ce chapitre, j’insère des « intermezzos» qui replacent différents protagonistes de ces rencontres dans un contexte plus large. (shrink)
Recently, some philosophers of science (e.g., Gürol Irzik, Michael Friedman) have challenged the ‘received view’ on the relationship between Rudolf Carnap and Thomas Kuhn, suggesting that there is a close affinity (rather than opposition) between their philosophical views. In support of this argument, these authors cite Carnap and Kuhn’s similar views on incommensurability, theory-choice, and scientific revolutions. Against this revisionist view, I argue that the philosophical relationship between Carnap and Kuhn should be regarded as opposed rather than complementary. In particular, (...) I argue that a consideration of the fundamentally disparate nature of the broader philosophical projects of Carnap (logic of science) and Kuhn (providing a theory of scientific revolutions)renders the alleged similarities between their views superficial in comparison to their fundamental differences. In defense of the received view, I suggest that Carnap and Kuhn are model representatives of two contrasting styles of doing philosophy of science, viz., logical analysis and historical analysis respectively. This analysis clarifies the role played by Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions in the demise of logical empiricism in the second half of the twentieth-century. (shrink)
Die vorliegende Schrift unternimmt eine Revision des vorherrschenden Bildes der Rolle und der Konzeptionen von Moral und Ethik im Wiener Kreis. Dieses Bild wird als zu einseitig und undifferenziert zurückgewiesen. Die Ansicht, die Mitglieder des Wiener Kreises hätten kein Interesse an Moral und Ethik gezeigt, wird widerlegt. Viele Mitglieder waren nicht nur moralisch und politisch interessiert, sondern auch engagiert. Des Weiteren vertraten nicht alle die Standardauffassung logisch-empiristischer Ethik, die neben der Anerkennung deskriptiv-empirischer Untersuchungen durch die Ablehnung jeglicher normativer und inhaltlicher (...) Ethik und der Verfechtung eines extremen Nonkognitivismus geprägt ist. Am meisten entspricht die Standardauffassung den Ansichten Rudolf Carnaps, weniger bereits jenen Karl Mengers, Otto Neuraths oder Philipp Franks. Am weitesten weichen Moritz Schlick, Victor Kraft sowie Herbert Feigl von der Standardauffassung ab. Entgegen dem herkömmlichen Bild weltabgewandter Logiker und Metaethiker wurde im Wiener Kreis sogar Angewandte Ethik betrieben, und dies bereits unter diesem Namen. Neben den ethischen Hauptthemen und Ansichten der jeweiligen Philosophen in ihrer Entwicklung im Rahmen ihres persönlichen und kulturellen Kontextes zeigt die Untersuchung, dass allen Ansätzen eine aufgeklärte und humanistische Version von Moral und Ethik gemeinsam ist. Dieser wissenschaftliche Humanismus, der sich schon in der Programmschrift Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung. Der Wiener Kreis findet, liegt jedoch in verschiedenen Ausprägungen vor. Was die Abweichungen von der Standardauffassung wesentlich betrifft, ist ihre unterschiedliche Auffassung von Moral als gemeinsames oder individuelles Unternehmen. Carnap führt ein extremer Individualismus zu einem extremen Nonkognitivismus, in dem ihm Menger folgt. Bei Schlick ist die Lage zweideutig, was sich in unterschiedlichen Moralbegriffen widerspiegelt. Bei Kraft und Feigl tritt das Verständnis von Moral als gemeinschaftlich geteilte Praxisform klar hervor. Auf der Basis eines gemeinsamen Begriffs des moralisch Guten, der auch eine Sachkomponente enthält, ist eine Verständigung über moralische Fragen möglich. Von einem extremen Nonkognitivismus kann dort nicht mehr die Rede sein. Mit diesen Ergebnissen verbietet es sich, dem Wiener Kreis allgemein eine Ablehnung normativer Ethik und einen extremen Nonkognitivismus zuzuschreiben. Eine systematische Ethik, die Moral als Gemeinschaftspraxis begreift, steht einigen im Wiener Kreis näher, als das vorherrschende Bild suggerieren möge. Wer meint, mit engem Bezug zur Tradition des Wiener Kreises nur Carnap folgen zu können und Ethik als suspektes Unternehmen betrachten zu müssen, irrt. Ethik war in der Tradition Analytischer Philosophie nicht immer so marginalisiert, wie sie es in manchen ihrer Teilrichtungen heute noch ist und Gegner(innen) der Analytischen Philosophie vorwerfen. Die vorliegende Untersuchung liefert die nötige Revision einer verfänglichen Fehlentwicklung. (shrink)
Greg Frost-Arnold’s book is a highly elegant edition and commentary of Carnap’s notes, claiming just as much as he is warranted on the basis of the manuscript and other relevant texts, and formulating his scholarly assumptions very carefully. Along the way he tries to unify the three historiographical strategies: narrative, argumentative and micro-historical.
Analytic philosophy and modern logic are intimately connected, both historically and systematically. Thinkers such as Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein were major contributors to the early development of both; and the fruitful use of modern logic in addressing philosophical problems was, and still is, definitive for large parts of the analytic tradition. More specifically, Frege's analysis of the concept of number, Russell's theory of descriptions, and Wittgenstein's notion of tautology have long been seen as paradigmatic pieces of philosophy in this tradition. (...) This close connection remained beyond what is now often called "early analytic philosophy", i.e., the tradition's first phase. In the present chapter I will consider three thinkers who played equally important and formative roles in analytic philosophy's second phase, the period from the 1920s to the 1950s: Rudolf Carnap, Kurt Gödel, and Alfred Tarski. (shrink)
Inspired by Rudolf Carnap's Der Logische Aufbau Der Welt, David J. Chalmers argues that the world can be constructed from a few basic elements. He develops a scrutability thesis saying that all truths about the world can be derived from basic truths and ideal reasoning. This thesis leads to many philosophical consequences: a broadly Fregean approach to meaning, an internalist approach to the contents of thought, and a reply to W. V. Quine's arguments against the analytic and the a priori. (...) Chalmers also uses scrutability to analyze the unity of science, to defend a conceptual approach to metaphysics, and to mount a structuralist response to skepticism. Based on the 2010 John Locke lectures, Constructing the World opens up debate on central philosophical issues involving language, consciousness, knowledge, and reality. This major work by a leading philosopher will appeal to philosophers in all areas. This entry contains uncorrected proofs of front matter, chapter 1, and first excursus. (shrink)
This article discusses the relation between the early Wittgenstein’s and Carnap’s philosophies of logic, arguing that Carnap’s position in The Logical Syntax of Language is in certain respects much closer to the Tractatus than has been recognized. In Carnapian terms, the Tractatus’ goal is to introduce, by means of quasi-syntactical sentences, syntactical principles and concepts to be used in philosophical clarification in the formal mode. A distinction between the material and formal mode is therefore already part of the Tractatus’ view, (...) and its method for introducing syntactical concepts and principles should be entirely acceptable for Carnap by his own criteria. Moreover, despite the Tractatus’ rejection of syntactical statements, there is an important correspondence between Wittgenstein’s saying-showing distinction and Carnap’s object-language-syntax-language distinction: both constitute a distinction between logico-syntactical determinations concerning language and language as determined or described by those determinations. Wittgenstein’s distinction therefore constitutes a precursor of the object-language syntax-language distinction which the latter in a certain sense affirms, rather than simply contradicting it. The saying-showing distinction agrees with Carnap’s position also in marking logic as something that isn’t true/false about either language or reality, which is a conception that underlies Carnap’s principle of tolerance. (shrink)
Logical empiricism and pragmatism shared an empiricist orientation, a close interest in the sciences and their methods, and skepticism about propositions which cannot be empirically tested or verified. Both movements came into direct contact in the first half of the 1930s, shortly after the beginning of the so-called public phase of logical empiricism. Around 1930, Schlick and Feigl went to the United States and philosophers in the pragmatist tradition began to pay attention to the new Viennese movement. Only with the (...) rise of this mutual interest did Carnap become acquainted with pragmatism. Contrary to other logical empiricists, there are almost no traces in Carnap’s earlier philosophy of an interest for pragmatism. We will focus here on the historic episode of Carnap’s encounter with pragmatism. This will permit to clear more general claims about the relation of logical empiricism and pragmatism. We can find contradictory claims on this relation in the recent literature on the history of philosophy of science and of analytic philosophy. On the one hand the differences and conflicts between logical empiricism and pragmatism are emphasized and the progressive divergence between these two movements is pointed out.2 On the other hand the literature points out the pragmatic elements in Carnap’s philosophy which facilitated a convergence with pragmatism.3 First, we claim here that in the 1930s it is the convergence between pragmatism and logical empiricism that was prevailing and that it found its expression in Carnap’s support of a “scientific empiricism” as conceived by the pragmatist Charles Morris. The strong impetus for an internationalization of scientific philosophy in the Unity of Science movement placed the project of an alliance of different empiricist movements at the forefront. Secondly we claim that Carnap’s convergence with pragmatism is due to a liberalization of empiricism which took already place in the Vienna Circle, independently of any direct pragmatist influence. With this liberalization of empiricism the convergence with pragmatism became much easier than it would have been with an empiricism as defended in Carnap’s Aufbau. We will show in a first section that Carnap’s encounter with pragmatism was initiated by the pragmatist’s criticism of verificationism and of the empricism of the Aufbau. In a second section we will describe Carnap’s encounter with philosophers of the pragmatist tradition and his attempt to convince them that the pragmatist’s criticism did not apply any more to his new position of the early 1930s. As response some pragmatists proposed models for a convergence of logical empiricism with pragmatism.4 In a final section we will show that in Carnap’s response to the pragmatists, he supported such a convergence. (shrink)
I defend the Received View on scientific theories as developed by Carnap, Hempel, and Feigl against a number of criticisms based on misconceptions. First, I dispute the claim that the Received View demands axiomatizations in first order logic, and the further claim that these axiomatizations must include axioms for the mathematics used in the scientific theories. Next, I contend that models are important according to the Received View. Finally, I argue against the claim that the Received View is intended to (...) make the concept of a theory more precise. Rather, it is meant as a generalizable framework for explicating specific theories. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is make a contribution to the ongoing search for an adequate concept of the a priori element in scientific knowledge. The point of departure is C.I. Lewis’s account of a pragmatic a priori put forward in his "Mind and the World Order" (1929). Recently, Hasok Chang in "Contingent Transcendental Arguments for Metaphysical Principles" (2008) reconsidered Lewis’s pragmatic a priori and proposed to conceive it as the basic ingredient of the dynamics of an embodied scientific reason. (...) The present paper intends to further elaborate Chang’s account by relating it with some conceptual tools from cognitive semantics and certain ideas that first emerged in the context of the category-theoretical foundations of mathematics. (shrink)
Recent scholarship indicates that Quine’s “Truth by Convention” does not present the radical critiques of analytic truth found fifteen years later in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.” This prompts a historical question: what caused Quine’s radicalization? I argue that two crucial components of Quine’s development can be traced to the academic year 1940–1941, when he, Russell, Carnap, Tarski, Hempel, and Goodman were all at Harvard together. First, during those meetings, Quine recognizes that Carnap has abandoned the extensional, syntactic approach to philosophical (...) analysis, an approach espoused in Carnap’s 1934 Logical Syntax of Language, and which Quine endorsed his entire career. Second, Tarski presents Quine with a philosophically well-motivated reason to think that an apparently analytic discipline, arithmetic, could be synthetic; this reflects one of the central assertions found in “Two Dogmas” but not in “Truth by Convention.” I use this account of Quine’s development to resolve a dispute between Creath and Mancosu concerning the timeline for Quine’s evolving critiques of analyticity. (shrink)
Pierre Wagner (ed.): Carnap’s logical syntax of language . Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009, 288pp, £57.00 HB Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9522-8 Authors Alan Richardson, Department of Philosophy, University of British Columbia, 1866 Main Mall—E370, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1 Canada Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
I examine why Carnap ended his "The Overcoming of Metaphysics" with admiration for Nietzsche, and contextualize his admiration for Nietzsche within their shared commitment to 'modernism.' I show that Carnap's modernism helps explain his enthusiasm for symbolic logic and his attitude towards metaphysics. However, I also argue that Nietzsche's critique of metaphysics may also apply to Carnap's own distinction between what is essential to language and how language appears.
This paper offers a refutation of J. C. Pinto de Oliveira's recent critique of revisionist Carnap scholarship as giving undue weight to two brief letters to Kuhn expressing his interest in the latter's work. First an argument is provided to show that Carnap and Kuhn are by no means divided by a radical mismatch of their conceptions of the rationality of science as supposedly evidenced by their stance towards the distinction of the contexts of discovery and justification. This is followed (...) by an argument to the effect that the fact that Carnap's own work concentrated on formal aspects of scientific theories does not licence the conclusion that he thought historical investigations and concerns irrelevant for what we nowadays would rightly call "philosophy of science". (shrink)
G h merrill's recent attempt to sort out various versions of scientific realism and to impugn well-Known anti-Realist arguments turns crucially on carnap's distinction between internal and external statements of existence. Focusing on carnap's distinction, And the notion of a framework which underlies it, I attempt to show that carnap's work is far too unclear and unpersuasive to underwrite this effort.
Carnap and Twentieth-Century Thought: Explication as En lighten ment is the first book in the English language that seeks to place Carnap's philosophy in a broad cultural, political and intellectual context. According to the author, Carnap synthesized many different cur rents of thought and thereby arrived at a novel philosophical perspective that remains strik ing ly relevant today. Whether the reader agrees with Carus's bold theses on Carnap's place in the landscape of twentieth-century philosophy, and his even bolder claims concerning (...) the role that philosophy in Carnap's style should play in the thought of our century, does not matter so much as the excellent opportunity Carus's book offers to thoroughly rethink one's ideas about Carnap's philosophy. One reason why Carnap and Twentieth-Century Thought might change one's ideas is that Carus has unearthed much hitherto unknown material from the archives that sheds new light on Carnap's early life and thought. Indeed, the many archival findings presented in CTT for the first time suffice to make the book re warding reading for philosophers and historians of philosophy alike. CTT exhibits a high standard of historical scholarship, and the book itself is a beautiful example of high-quality academic publishing. Up to now, Carnap has remained a controversial figure on the philo sophical scene. On the one hand, he has a solid reputation as a leading figure of logical positivism . According to conventional wisdom, this was a school of thought characterized by its formal and technical philosophy, as well as being rather dismissive of other ways of doing philosophy, dogmatically sticking to its own theses. As a typical example of this arrogant logical empiricist attitude, one usually refers to Carnap's notorious Overcoming Metaphysics by Logical Analysis of Language , written when the Vienna Circle's Logical Empiricism had entered its most radical phase. Self-proclaimed postpositivist philosophers of science dismissed logical positivism, in particular Carnap's, as the dogmatic and orthodox “received view.” The tendency to portray logical empiricism as an obsolete doctrine centering around certain “dogmas” started with Quine's Two Dogmas of Empiricism and reached its somewhat ridiculous culmination in the early 1980s when allegedly “six or seven dogmas” were discovered . Thereby an allegedly un brid geable gap between classical “dogmatic” logical em pi ricism and its modern “enlightened” suc ces sors was construed. (shrink)
The objective of this article is to sketch an historical analysis of the change in the philosophy of science that took place in the 1950s and 1960s around the time of the publication of Structure by Thomas Kuhn. I offer an alternative to the revisionist interpretation that this change is marked by ignorance or neglect, on the part of Kuhn and others, of logical positivism in its more mature form, in this way serving the revolutionary strategy. Countering this conception, I (...) present good reasons for the philosophy of science community, in that historical context, to have used the logical positivist project as their reference and target of criticism rather than the later work of Carnap. I suggest that, faced with the original version of the project, the critics saw Carnap’s “liberalizations” as degenerative. I hold that the revisionists, in turn, neglected the historical context surrounding the philosophical change in question, and touched up the image of positivism from a contemporary perspective. (shrink)
Der Raum marks a transitional stage in Carnap’s thought, and therefore has both negative and positive implications for his further development. On the one hand, he is here largely a follower of Husserl, and a correct understanding of that background is important if one wants to understand what it is that he later rejects as “metaphysics.” On the other hand, he has already broken with Husserl in certain ways, in part following other authors. His use of Hans Driesch’s Ordnungslehre, in (...) particular, foreshadows the theme of so-called “voluntarism” which will characterize his later thought. (shrink)
This paper rejects as unfounded a recent criticism of research on the so-called left wing of the Vienna Circle and the claim that it sported a political philosophy of science. The demand for ‘specific, local periodized claims’ is turned against the critic. It is shown (i) that certain criticisms of Red Vienna’s leading party cannot be transferred to the members of the Circle involved in popular education, nor can criticism of Carnap’s Aufbau be transferred to Neurath’s unified science project; (ii) (...) that neither with regard to Carnap nor to Neurath does the criticism raise points that either engage with the thesis proposed or stand up to closer scrutiny; (iii) that the main thesis attacked is just what I had warned the claim that the Vienna Circle had a political philosophy of science should not be understood as. The question whether theirs is ‘political enough’ today can and should be discussed without distortion of the historical record. (shrink)
I argue that Goodman’s philosophy should not be characterised in opposition to the philosophy of the logical empiricists, but is more fruitfully interpreted as a continuation of their philosophical programme. In particular, understanding Goodman’s philosophy as a continuation of the ideal language tradition makes explicable how a radical ontological relativist could be such a staunch nominalist at the same time.
Recent scholarship resuscitates the history and philosophy of a ‘left wing’ in the Vienna Circle, offering a counterhistory to the conventional image of analytic philosophy as politically conformist. This paper disputes the historical claim that early logical empiricists developed a political philosophy of science. Though some individuals in the Vienna Circle, including Rudolf Carnap and Otto Neurath, believed strongly in the importance of science to social progress, they did not construct a political philosophy of science. Both Carnap and Neurath were (...) committed to forms of political neutralism that run strongly against a political reading of their logical empiricism. In addition, Carnap and Neurath sharply differ on precisely the subject of the place of politics in logical empiricism, throwing into question the construct of the ‘Left Vienna Circle’ as a coherent, sociohistorical, programmatic unit within the Vienna Circle.Keywords: Vienna Circle; Rudolf Carnap; Otto Neurath; Logical empiricism; History of philosophy of science; Political philosophy of science. (shrink)