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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Rudolf Carnap and logical positivism


Rudolf Carnap (1891-1970) was a German philosopher best known for his contributions to logical positivism. Carnap was also a member of the Vienna Circle. Wikipedia says,


"From 1922 to 1925, Carnap worked on a book which became one of his major works... (translated as The Logical Structure of the World)... From 1928 to 1934, Carnap published papers... translated as Pseudoproblems in Philosophy) in which he appears overtly skeptical of the aims and methods of metaphysics." (Wikipedia: Rudolf Carnap, 7.27.21 UTC 20:53)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Carnap.




"By the logical syntax of a language, we mean the formal theory of the linguistic forms of that language - the systematic statement of the formal rules which govern it together with the development of consequences that follow from these rules." (Logical Syntax of Language, 1934)


"The task of making more exact a vague or not quite exact concept used in everyday life or in an earlier stage of scientific or logical development, or rather of replacing it by a newly constructed, more exact concept, belongs among the most important tasks of logical analysis and logical construction." (Meaning and Necessity, 1947)


" is the question of whether or not to accept the new linguistic forms. The acceptance cannot be judged as being either true or false because it is not an assertion. It can only be judged as being more or less expedient, fruitful, conducive to the aim for which the language is intended." (Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology, 1950)




"Philosophy is to be replaced by the logic of science - that is to say, by the logical analysis of the concepts and sentences of the sciences, for the logic of science is nothing other than the logical syntax of the language of science." (Logical Syntax of Language, 1934)


"Logic itself does not decide whether the first sentence is true, but surrenders that question to one or the other of the empirical sciences." (Quoted in The Language of Wisdom and Folly by Irving Lee)


Unified science


"Science is a system of statements based on direct experience, and controlled by experimental verification. Verification in science is not, however, of single statements but of the entire system or sub-system of such statements." (The Unity of Science, 1934)


"The function of logical analysis is to analyze all knowledge, all assertions of science and everyday life, in order to make sense of each such assertion and the connections between them." (Philosophy and Logical Syntax, 1935)


"If one is interested in the relations between fields which, according to customary academic divisions, belong to different departments, then he will not be welcomed as a builder of bridges, as he might have expected, but will rather be regarded by both sides as an outsider and troublesome intruder." (