Designation and Convention: A Chapter of Early Logical Empiricism

Thomas Ryckman
Stanford University
An examination of Carnap's Aufbau in the context of Schlick's Allgemeine Erkenntnislehre of ten years earlier, suggests that Carnap's focus there on the sign-relation (Zeichenbeziehung) is an effort to retrieve a verificationist account of the meaning of individual scientific statements from the abyss of meaning-holism entailed by Schlick's proposal that scientific concepts be implicitly defined. The Aufbau's antipodal aspects, its reductive phenomenalism and quasi-Kantian concern with the constitution of objectivity, are seen as complementary moments of the marriage of empiricism and a new emphasis on scientific concepts as "free creations of the human mind".
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