Rudolf Carnap is widely regarded as one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century. Born in Germany and later a US citizen, he was a founder of the philosophical movement known as Logical Empiricism. He was strongly influenced by a number of different philosophical traditions, and also by the German Youth Movement, the First World War, and radical socialism. This book places his central ideas in a broad cultural, political and intellectual context, showing how he synthesised many different (...) currents of thought to achieve a philosophical perspective that remains strikingly relevant in the twenty-first century. Its rich account of a philosopher's response to his times will appeal to all who are interested in the development of philosophy in the twentieth century. (shrink)
It is generally thought that Carnap’s principle of tolerance cannot be integrated into a coherent overall conception of rationality. The doubts come from many sides, of which two are singled out. This paper argues that both are wrong, and that Carnapian rationality is a viable and perhaps quite interesting program for further development.
In Carnap’s autobiography, he tells the story how one night in January 1931, “the whole theory of language structure” in all its ramiﬁcations “came to [him] like a vision”. The shorthand manuscript he produced immediately thereafter, he says, “was the ﬁrst version” of Logical Syntax of Language. This document, which has never been examined since Carnap’s death, turns out not to resemble Logical Syntax at all, at least on the surface. Wherein, then, did the momentous insight of 21 January 1931 (...) consist? We seek to answer this question by placing Carnap’s shorthand manuscript in the context of his previous efforts to accommodate scientiﬁc theories and metalinguistic claims within Wittgenstein’s Tractatus theory of meaning. The breakthrough of January 1931 consists, from this viewpoint, in the rejection of the Tractatus theory in favor of the meta-mathematical perspective of Hilbert, Gödel, and Tarski. This was not yet the standpoint of the published Logical Syntax, as we show, but led naturally to the “principle of tolerance” and thus to Carnap’s mature philosophy, in which the inconsistencies between this ﬁrst view and the principle of tolerance, which survived into the published Syntax, were overcome. (shrink)
In 1929 Carnap gave a paper in Prague on Investigations in General Axiomatics; a briefsummary was published soon after. Its subject lookssomething like early model theory, and the mainresult, called the Gabelbarkeitssatz, appears toclaim that a consistent set of axioms is complete justif it is categorical. This of course casts doubt onthe entire project. Though there is no furthermention of this theorem in Carnap''s publishedwritings, his Nachlass includes a largetypescript on the subject, Investigations inGeneral Axiomatics. We examine this work here,showing (...) that it provides important insights intoCarnap''s development during this critical period, thetransition from Aufbau to Syntax,especially regarding the nature and motivation ofCarnap''s logicism. Moreover, we show how theAxiomatics influenced Carnap''s student Gödel inreaching the fundamental logical results that soonafterwards undermined Carnap''s project. (shrink)
One thing we have found out about logical empiricism, now that people are examining it more closely again, is that it was more a framework for a number of related views than a single doctrine. The pluralism of different approaches among various adherents to the Vienna and Berlin groups has been much emphasized. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the kind of speculative philosophy now often called "continental" (including, say, phenomenology) can be seen as falling within the (...) framework of views shared by the Vienna Circle. Much is made of Felix Kaufmann's membership in the Vienna Circle, for instance, or of its "Austrian" roots in the phenomenology of Brentano. (shrink)
Huw Price has sketched a program for a globalized expressivism in support of which he has repeatedly invoked Rudolf Carnap. This paper argues that this is entirely appropriate, as Carnap had something quite similar in mind. However, it also argues that Price’s recent attempts to integrate Robert Brandom’s inferentialism to this program are less successful, and that a more empirically-oriented descriptive pragmatics along Carnapian lines would be a better fit with his original program than Brandom’s explicitly hermeneutical agenda.
Die frühesten Zeugnisse zu Carnaps philosophischer Entwicklung bekunden einen klaren und bewußten Nonkognitivismus, wie vor allem an einem Vortrag aus dem Jahre 1911 gezeigt wird. Wie man weiß, bekannte sich Carnap nach etwa 1929 auch zum Nonkognitivismus, dem er 1963 als erster sogar diesen Namen gab. Zwei Dokumente werden aber manchmal als Gegenbeispiele angeführt, ein nichtveröffentlichter Aufsatz über „Deutschlands Niederlage“ aus dem Jahre 1918, und der skizzenhafte § 152 des Aufbau; es fragt sich also, ob es eine Episode zwischen seinen (...) philosophischen Anfängen und 1929 gab, in der Carnap seinen Nonkognitivismus zeitweise aufgab. Diese Frage wird anhand einer Interpretation dieser zwei Texte verneint. Es wird angedeutet, dass Carnaps Nonkognitivismus von Anfang an sich relativ geradlinig zu einem „Funktionalismus“ im weitesten Sinn entwickelte, in Richtung auf einen „globalen Funktionalismus“ wie ihn heute Huw Price vertritt. (shrink)
The revival of interest in Carnap’s philosophy over the past two decades has shed much light on particular aspects of his intellectual development and its context. We now have a better appreciation of the background and motivation of the Aufbau. 1 The radical nature of the Syntax program has fmally, more than half a century after its first publication, begun to be acknowledged.2 And the later Carnap has also been re-assessed; the previously widespread impression that Quine was “right” and Carnap (...) “wrong” in the analytic-synthetic debate has yielded to a more balanced view3, and the broad outlines of Camap’s late philosophy have begun to emerge. (shrink)