Noûs 54 (3):527-548 (2020)

Authors
Vera Flocke
Indiana University, Bloomington
Abstract
Do numbers exist? Carnap (1956 [1950]) famously argues that this question can be understood in an “internal” and in an “external” sense, and calls “external” questions “non-cognitive”. Carnap also says that external questions are raised “only by philosophers” (p. 207), which means that, in his view, philosophers raise ”non-cognitive” questions. However, it is not clear how the internal/external distinction and Carnap’s related views about philosophy should be understood. This paper provides a new interpretation. I draw attention to Carnap’s distinction between purely external statements, which are independent from all frameworks, and pragmatic external statements, which concern which framework one should adopt, and argue that the latter express noncognitive mental states. Specifically, I argue that “frameworks” are systems of rules for the assessment of statements, which are utterances of ordinary language sentences. Pragmatic external statements express noncognitive dispositions to follow only certain rules of assessment. For instance, “numbers exist” understood as a pragmatic external statement expresses a noncognitive disposition to use only rules of assessment according to which numbers do exist. Carnap can thereby be understood as proposing a distinctive form of noncognitivism about ontology that is in some respects analogous to norm-expressivism in metaethics.
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DOI 10.1111/nous.12267
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References found in this work BETA

From a Logical Point of View.Richard M. Martin - 1955 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 15 (4):574-575.
On What There Is.W. V. Quine - 1953 - In From a Logical Point of View. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. pp. 1-19.
Thinking How to Live.D. O. Brink - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):267-272.
Steps Toward a Constructive Nominalism.Nelson Goodman & Willard van Orman Quine - 1947 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 12 (4):105-122.

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Citations of this work BETA

How to Engineer a Concept.Vera Flocke - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
Old Problems for Neo-Positivist Naturalized Metaphysics.Rasmus Jaksland - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (2):1-19.
Carnap’s Defense of Impredicative Definitions.Vera Flocke - 2019 - Review of Symbolic Logic 12 (2):372-404.

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