Unifying foundations – to be seen in the phenomenon of language

Foundations of Science 9 (2):135-189 (2004)
Scientific knowledge develops in an increasingly fragmentary way.A multitude of scientific disciplines branch out. Curiosity for thisdevelopment leads into quests for a unifying understanding. To a certain extent, foundational studies provide such unification. There is a tendency, however, also of a fragmentary growth of foundational studies, like in a multitude of disciplinaryfoundations. We suggest to look at the foundational problem, not primarily as a search for foundations for one discipline in another, as in some reductionist approach, but as a steady revelation ofpresuppositions for individual scientific theories – which are boundto meet, sooner or later, in a common language. A decisive point hereis our holistic conception of language, as a whole of description-interpretation processes which are entangled(complementary) in the language itself. For every language there is alinguistic complementarity. We suggest this unique form ofentanglement as a unifying presupposition, ultimately foundational forall communicable knowledge. Involved is a linguistic realism, in terms ofwhich we critically examine ``language-world'' problems, as exposed byWittgenstein, and Russell, about a foundational interdependence of language andreality (world). Throughout, we attach to the developmentof foundational studies of mathematics, logics, and the naturalsciences. In particular, we study the interpretation problem foraxioms of infinity in some detail. We emphasize that the holistic concept of language contradicts Carnap's semiotic fragmentation thesis (thus, no clean cutbetween syntax, semantics, pragmatics).
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Science   Mathematical Logic and Foundations   Methodology of the Social Sciences
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DOI 10.1023/B:FODA.0000025037.28557.ea
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