Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. Rudolph Carnap. [In this essay Carnap is concerned with the question of the “reality” of the sorts of what he calls “abstract. Rudolf Carnap’s article “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology” deals with the implications of accepting language which refers to abstract entities. Empiricists. Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. Rudolf Carnap. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4 (): Reprinted in the Supplement to. Meaning and.
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A question of this kind may be either empirical or logical; accordingly a true answer is either factually true or analytic. As far as it is a principle of accepting certain entities and not accepting others, leaving aside any ontological, phenomenalistic and nominalistic pseudo-statements, there cannot be any theoretical objection to it.
To move on to this physical coordinate system is again a matter of decision of how to use language. He might, for example, tell him to imagine the atoms of a gas as small balls rushing around with great speed, or the electromagnetic field and its oscillations as quasi-elastic tensions and vibrations in an ether.
To construe the numbers as classes or properties of the second level, according to the Frege-Russell method, does, of course, not solve the controversy, because the first philosopher would affirm and the second deny the existence of the system of classes or properties of the second level.
This conception, which seems to deviate considerably from customary ways of thinking, is explained in his article “Semantics and Abstract Objects,” Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences80 Carnap provides the following example of this problem of proof: However, let us look at a few different examples. Internal questions are here, in general, empirical questions to be answered by empirical investigations.
History of Western Philosophy.
Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology
We accept the thing language with its framework caranp enables us to ask and answer internal questions like “Is there a white piece of paper on my desk? With the help of the variables, general sentences about the new entities can be formulated e. It is obvious that the apparent negation of a pseudo-statement must also be a pseudo-statement.
Rudolf Carnap – – Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4 They emphasize a distinction between dmpiricism data that which is ontoloyy given in consciousness, e. Thus, for example, the thing language contains certainly words of the type of “blue” and “house” before the framework of properties is introduced; and it may contain words like “ten” in sentences of the form “I have ten fingers” before the framework of numbers is introduced.
Therefore every sentence of the form “.
Richard Boyd – – Philosophical Studies 61 Therefore nobody who meant the question “Are there numbers? From these new language forms, one can formulate internal empirical or logical questions and possible answers to them. Or finally, it may be meant in the following sense: Let us learn from the lessons of history. Thus it is clear that the acceptance of a linguistic framework must not be regarded as implying a metaphysical doctrine concerning the reality of the entities in question.
The fact that in these statements no reference to a subject an observer or knower occurs nothing like: A physicist who is suspicious of abstract entities may perhaps try to declare a certain part of the language of physics as uninterpreted and uninterpretable, that part which refers to real numbers as space-time coordinates or as values of physical magnitudes, to functions, limits, etc.
To accept the thing world means nothing more than to accept a certain form kntology language, in other words, to accept rules for forming statements and for testing accepting or rejecting them. Some nominalists label the admission of variables of abstract types as “Platonism. Selected Bibliography of Logical Empiricism.
Let us take as example the natural numbers as cardinal numbers, i. In physics it is more difficult to shun the suspected entities because the language of physics serves for the communication of reports and predictions and hence cannot be taken as a mere calculus.
The restriction to rational coordinates would not sdmantics in conflict with any experimental knowledge we have, because the result of any measurement is a rational number. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4 Walid Saba – manuscript.
Here again there are internal questions, e. If, however, a reader should find these explanations more puzzling than clarifying, or even unacceptable, he may disregard them” p. Derogatory labels like “Platonic realism” “hypostatization,” or “‘Fido’-Fido principle” are attached to it.
An assertion of this kind empiriciem indeed be very dubious psychology. Brett Topey – forthcoming – Philosophical Studies: Now we may introduce new variables, say ” f ,” ” g ,” etc.
But the thesis of the reality of the thing world cannot be among these statements, because it cannot be formulated in the thing language or, it seems, in any other theoretical language. It seems to me due to a neglect of this important distinction that some contemporary nominalists label the admission of variables of abstract types as “Platonism.
The choice of using real numbers instead of rational numbers or integers empiricim coordinates is mainly due to considerations of mathematical simplicity, and is not influenced by facts of experience. The acceptance or rejection of abstract linguistic forms, just as the acceptance or rejection of any other linguistic forms in any branch of science, will finally be decided by their efficiency as instruments, the ratio of the results achieved to the amount and complexity of carnsp efforts required.
They are not yes-no questions but questions of degree.
Carnap, “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology”
Some semanticists say that certain expressions designate certain entities, and among these designated entities they include not only concrete material things but also abstract entities e. Ontolgy acceptance of new linguistic forms cannot be judged as being either true or false, since it is not an assertion, rather it can only be judged as being more or less expedient than with prior forms.
He says that the acceptance and use of thing language should not be interpreted as meaning that one believes in the reality of the thing world, but merely as an acceptance of emporicism certain form of language; to accept rules for forming statements and for testingaccepting, or rejecting them. It can only be judged as being more or less expedient, fruitful, semanticd to the aim for which the language is intended.