Alexander George has put forward a novel interpretation of the Quine-Carnap debate over analyticity. George argues that Carnap's claim that there exists an analytic-synthetic distinction was held by Carnap to be empty of empirical consequences. As a result, Carnap understood his position to be empirically indistinguishable from Quine's. Although George defends his interpretation only briefly, I show that it withstands further examination and ought to be accepted. The consequences of accepting it undermine a common understanding of Quine's criticism of Carnap, (...) and I argue that it is difficult to find a perspective from which Quine can criticize Carnap in a non-question-begging way. (shrink)
Within the epistemology of the sciences, conventionalism has been the subject of regular criticism for over six decades. Critics such as W. V. Quine and Morton White, and more recently Nathan Salmon (1992), and Paul Boghossian (1996), have attacked even the most basic tenet of conventionalism, namely its claim that the truth of certain statements is fixed not by stipulation-independent facts, but by the conventions governing the meaning of those statements and their constituents.
Wittgenstein's Tractatus carefully distinguished the concept all from\nthe notion of a truth-function, and thereby from the quantifiers.\nI argue that Wittgenstein's rationale for this distinction is lost\nunless propositional functions are understood within the context\nof his picture theory of the proposition. Using a model Tractatus\nlanguage, I show how there are two distinct forms of generality implicit\nin quantified Tractatus propositions. Although the explanation given\nin the Tractatus for this distinction is ultimately flawed, the distinction\nitself is a genuine one, and the forms of generality that (...) Wittgenstein\nindicated can be seen in the quantified sentences of contemporary\nlogic. (shrink)