Rudolf Carnap: Philosophy of Science as Engineering Explications

In Uskali Mäki, Stephanie Ruphy, Gerhard Schurz & Ioannis Votsis (eds.), Recent Developments in the Philosophy of Science: EPSA13 Helsinki. Springer. pp. 293-303 (2015)
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Abstract

One way of explaining Rudolf Carnap’s mature philosophical view is by drawing an analogy between his technical projects—like his work on inductive logic—with a certain kind of conceptual engineering. After all, there are many mathematical similarities between Carnap’s work in inductive logic and a number of results from contemporary confirmation theory, statistics and mathematical probability theory. However, in stressing these similarities, the conceptual dependence of Carnap’s inductive logic on his work on semantics is downplayed. Yet it is precisely the conceptual resources made available to Carnap from his work on semantics which allows him to understand his work on inductive logic as a kind of conceptual engineering project. The aim of this paper is to elucidate this engineering analogy in light of Carnap’s mature views through the lens of both inductive logic and semantics.

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Christopher French
University of British Columbia

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