Carnap, semantics and ontology

Erkenntnis 60 (3):295-316 (2004)
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This paper will deal with three questions regarding Carnap's transition from the position he held at the time of writing Syntax to the doctrines he held during his semantic phase: (1) What was Carnap's attitude towards truth at the time of writing Syntax? (2) What was Carnap's position regarding questions of reference and ontology at the time of writing Syntax? (3) Was Carnap's acceptance of Tarski's analysis of truth and reference detrimental to his philosophical project? Section 1 of this paper will deal with the first of these questions. Special attention will be paid to identifying what it was that prevented Carnap from defining a truth predicate for descriptive languages in Syntax. Section 2 of this paper will deal with the question of Carnap's attitude towards reference and ontology in Syntax. It will be shown that the attempt in Syntax to address ontological questions is seriously defective. Section 3 of this paper addresses the last of the questions posed above. It is argued that in the light of what is established in Sections 1 and 2, Carnap could not have retained the position of Syntax with respect to truth and reference.



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