A new direction in philosophy Between 1920 and 1940 logical empiricism reset the direction of philosophy of science and much of the rest of Anglo-American philosophy. It began as a relatively organized movement centered on the Vienna Circle, and like-minded philosophers elsewhere, especially in Berlin. As Europe drifted into the Nazi era, several important figures, especially Carnap and Neurath, also found common ground in their liberal politics and radical social agenda. Together, the logical empiricists set out to reform traditional (...) philosophy with a new set of doctrines more firmly grounded in logic and science. Criticism and decline Because of Nazi persecution, most of the European adherents of logical empiricism moved to the United States in the late 1930s. During the 1940s, many of their most cherished tenets became targets of criticism from outsiders as well as from within their own ranks. Philosophers of science in the late 1950s and 1960s rejected logical empiricism and, starting in the 1970s, presented such alternative programs such as scientific realism with evolutionary epistemology. A resurgence of interest During the early 1980s, philosophers and historians of philosophy began to study logical empiricism as an important movement. Unlike their predecessors in the 1960s-for whom the debate over logical empiricism now seems to have been largely motivated by professional politics-these philosopher no longer have to take positions for or against logical empiricism. The result has been a more balanced view of that movement, its achievements, its failures, and its influence. Hard-to-find core writings now available This collection makes available a selection of the most influential and representative writings of the logical empiricists, important contemporary criticisms of their doctrines, their responses, as well as the recent reappraisals. Introductions to each volume examine the articles in historical context and provide importantbackground information that is vital to a full understanding of the issues discussed. They outline prevalent trends, identifying leading figures and summarize their positions and reasoning, as well as those of opposing thinkers. (shrink)
In the paper translated here, Carnap and Bachmann shows that the apparently metalinguistic ?extremal' axioms that are added to some axiom systems to the effect that the foregoing axioms are to apply as broadly, or as narrowly, as possible may be formulated directly as proper axioms. They analyze such axioms into four fundamental types, with the help of a concept of ?complete? isomorphism.
Carnap’s ‘Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology’ (Carnap (1950a), ESO hereafter) is certainly a classic of twentieth century analytic philosophy. For decades now, most undergraduates are expected to read it at some point in their studies. Lately, it is being seen as the inspiration for a host of positions in the field of metaontology. Despite the widespread agreement on the importance of the paper, there is a lack of agreement on what Carnap attempts to do in the paper. My (...) main aim in this chapter is to defend an interpretation of ESO by displaying its relation to Carnap’s earlier works. My secondary goal will be to draw a lesson from this discussion for Carnap’s later work on unobservable entities in science. (shrink)
In this paper I examine a neglected question concerning the centerpiece of Carnap's philosophy: the principle of tolerance. The principle of tolerance states that we are free to devise and adopt any well-defined form of language or linguistic framework we please. A linguistic framework defines framework-internal standards of correct reasoning that guide us in our first-order scientific pursuits. The choice of a linguistic framework, on the other hand, is an ‘external’ question to be settled on pragmatic grounds and so (...) not itself constrained by these standards. However, even if choosing a framework is a practical matter, we would nevertheless expect the process of framework selection to be subject to rational norms. But which norms might those be? And where do they come from? I begin by showing that these questions are crucial to the success of Carnap's entire philosophical project. I then offer a response on behalf of the Carnapian which guarantees the rationality of the process of framework selection, while remaining true to Carnap's firm commitment to tolerance. (shrink)
Both realists and instrumentalists have found it difficult to understand (much less accept) Carnap's developed view on theoretical terms, which attempts to stake out a neutral position between realism and instrumentalism. I argue that Carnap's mature conception of a scientific theory as the conjunction of its Ramsey sentence and Carnap sentence can indeed achieve this neutral position. To see this, however, we need to see why the Newman problem raised in the context of recent work on structural (...) realism is no problem for Carnap's conception; and we also need to locate Carnap's work on theoretical terms within his wider program of Wissenschaftslogik or the logic of science. (shrink)
During the academic year 1940-1941, several giants of analytic philosophy congregated at Harvard, holding regular private meetings, with Carnap, Tarski, and Quine. Carnap, Tarski, and Quine at Harvard allows the reader to act as a fly on the wall for their conversations. Carnap took detailed notes during his year at Harvard. This book includes both a German transcription of these shorthand notes and an English translation in the appendix section. Carnap’s notes cover a wide range of (...) topics, but surprisingly, the most prominent question is: If the number of physical items in the universe is finite, what form should scientific discourse take? This question is closely connected to an abiding philosophical problem: What is the relationship between the logico-mathematical realm and the material realm? Carnap, Tarski, and Quine’s attempts to answer this question involve issues central to philosophy today.This book focuses on three such issues: nominalism, the unity of science, and analyticity. In short, the book reconstructs the lines of argument represented in these Harvard discussions, discusses their historical significance (especially Quine’s break from Carnap), and relates them when possible to contemporary treatments of these issues. (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.
The train of thought I will follow here begins with two facts about Husserl. First, the main and most intractable problems in interpreting him, and the major conflicts between his interpreters, arise from and are fed by the equivocality and unsteady meaning of his terminology. Second, Husserl has a highly developed theory of terminology, beginning with, but by no means limited to, the earliest periods of his thought. This theory of terminology, moreover, focuses on the causes of equivocality and unsteadiness (...) of meaning. These two facts, taken together, suggest why there is something philosophically deep, some deep aspect of the selfknowledge of knowledge, in Husserl’s work, and helps explains why figures of the stature of Heidegger and Carnap took so much interest in him. Nevertheless, I will suggest that Husserl’s theory of terminology is inadequate to his problems: that the self-knowledge of philosophy is here (as always) incomplete. This helps explain what both Heidegger and Carnap reject in Husserl, and therefore, in turn, why the question, how to give to or recover for terminology an unequivocal and fixed meaning, becomes crucial for both of them. Both of them, in fact, approach this question in a way which is essentially a modification—albeit a root and branch modification—of Husserl’s approach. This paper, despite it’s title, will be devoted mostly to setting up the problem in Husserl. At the end I will then briefly describe Heidegger’s and Carnap’s contrasting solutions. (shrink)
The "standard account" of Wittgenstein’s relations with the Vienna Circle is that the early Wittgenstein was a principal source and inspiration for the Circle’s positivistic and scientific philosophy, while the later Wittgenstein was deeply opposed to the logical empiricist project of articulating a "scientific conception of the world." However, this telegraphic summary is at best only half-true and at worst deeply misleading. For it prevents us appreciating the fluidity and protean character of their philosophical dialogue. In retrospectively attributing clear-cut positions (...) to Wittgenstein and his interlocutors, it is very easy to read back our current understanding of familiar distinctions into a time when those terms were used in a much more open-ended way. The paper aims to to provide a broader perspective on this debate, starting from the protagonists’ understanding of their respective positions. Too often, the programmatic statements about the nature of their work that are repeated in manifestoes, introductions, and elementary textbooks have occupied center stage in the subsequent secondary literature. Consequently, I focus on a detailed examination of a turning point in their relationship. That turning point is Wittgenstein's charge, in the summer of 1932, that a recently published paper of Carnap's, "Physicalistic Language as the Universal Language of Science", made such extensive and unacknowledged use of Wittgenstein's own ideas that Wittgenstein would, as he put it in a letter to Schlick, "soon be in a situation where my own work shall be considered merely as a reheated version or plagiarism of Carnap’s." While the leading parties in this dispute shared a basic commitment to the primacy of physicalistic language, and the view that all significant languages are translatable, there was a remarkable lack of mutual understanding between them, and deep disagreement about the nature of the doctrines they disputed. Three quarters of a century later, we are so much more conscious of the differences that separated them than the points on which they agreed that it takes an effort of historical reconstruction to appreciate why Wittgenstein once feared that his own work would be regarded as a pale shadow of Carnap’s. (shrink)
Some philosophers, such as Kai Nielsen, view Rawls's rejection of metaphysical claims, encapsulated in his method of avoidance, as being compatible with the "anti-philosophical" stance, the view that metaphysical debates are sterile and should be abandoned to be replaced by practically viable forms of thinking. This paper shows that this reading of the method of avoidance is incorrect and argues that the method of avoidance is in fact comparable to Carnap's higher-order standpoint of neutrality with regards to different frameworks. (...) This sheds new light on Rawlsian theory and situates it within the empiricist tradition. (shrink)
We have refined entropy theory to explore the meaning of the increasing sequence data on nucleic acids and proteins more conveniently. The concept of selection constraint was not introduced, only the analyzed sequences themselves were considered. The refined theory serves as a basis for deriving a method to analyze non-coding regions (NCRs) as well as coding regions. Positions with maximal entropy might play the most important role in genome functions as opposed to positions with minimal entropy. This (...) method was tested in the well-characterized coding regions of 12 strains of Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV) and non-coding regions of 20 strains of CSFV. It is suitable to analyze nucleic acid sequences of a complete genome and to detect sensitive positions for mutagenesis. As such, the method serves to formulate the basis for elucidating the functional mechanism. (shrink)
In recent years, attention for the work of Rudolf Carnap has shifted from polemical discussion to placing Carnap in his intellectual context. Thus, the central question is no longer whether Carnap contributes to solving our current problems, but whether he solved the problems of his day and age. This contextualist approach has resulted in a deeper and more refined understanding of, in particular, Carnap’s early works and has focused on Der logische Aufbau der Welt.
Abstract Recent criticisms of intuition from experimental philosophy and elsewhere have helped undermine the authority of traditional conceptual analysis. As the product of more empirically informed philosophical methodology, this result is compelling and philosophically salutary. But the negative critiques rarely suggest a positive alternative. In particular, a normative account of concept determination—how concepts should be characterized—is strikingly absent from such work. Carnap's underappreciated theory of explication provides such a theory. Analyses of complex concepts in empirical sciences illustrates and supports (...) this claim, and counteracts the charge explication is only suitable for highly mathematical, axiomatic contexts. Explication is also defended against the influential criticism it is “philosophically unilluminating”. Content Type Journal Article Category Original paper in Philosophy of Science Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0027-5 Authors James Justus, Philosophy Department, Florida State University and University of Sydney, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912. (shrink)