In R. Creath (ed.), Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook. Springer Verlag. pp. 37--56 (2012)

Matthias Neuber
University Tübingen
Rudolf Carnap’s role in the debate over scientific realism is fairly unclear. In a certain sense, Carnap must be regarded as the one who rendered the whole issue irrelevant. However, it cannot be ignored that Carnap sometimes spoke of himself as an ‘empirical realist.’ So the question to be answered is: in what sense, if at all, did Carnap play a constructive role in the scientific realism debate. It is the aim of the present paper to tackle this question by investigating the relationship between Carnap’s approach toward the realism issue, on the one hand, and the realist positions defended by his logical empiricist fellows Hans Reichenbach and Eino Kaila, on the other. It will be shown that Carnap agreed with Reichenbach that realism has essentially to do with language, but that he disagreed with him over the significance of probability in defending the scientific realist stance. My point will be that realism is not a ‘problem of language.’ Furthermore, it will be argued that Carnap was correctly criticized by Reichenbach for neglecting the role of probability in science. Nevertheless, what can be learned from Carnap’s approach toward the realism issue is that scientific realism cannot be defended in the way that Reichenbach himself suggested, namely by arguing inductively for the adequacy of the realistic ‘language form.’ Rather, scientific realism can only be defended on the ground that language itself is dependent on the ‘structure of the world.’ And this is exactly the point where, eventually, Kaila will enter the scene
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-3929-1_3
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,257
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4 (11):20-40.
Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology.Rudolf Carnap - 2011 - In Robert B. Talisse & Scott F. Aikin (eds.), The Pragmatism Reader: From Peirce Through the Present. Princeton University Press. pp. 249-264.
Replies and Systematic Expositions.Rudolf Carnap - 1963 - In Paul Arthur Schilpp (ed.), ¸ Iteschilpp:Prc. Open Court. pp. 859--1013.
Positivism and Realism.M. Schlick - 1948 - Synthese 7 (1):478 - 505.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Hegel's Proto-Modernist Conception of Philosophy as Science.Zeyad El Nabolsy - 2020 - Problemata: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 11 (4):81-107.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
48 ( #234,244 of 2,499,765 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #418,066 of 2,499,765 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes