Abstract. The aim of this paper is to sketch a topological epistemology that can be characterized as a knowledge first epistemology. For this purpose, the standard topological semantics for knowledge in terms of the interior kernel operator K of a topological space is extended to a topological semantics of belief operators B in a new way. It is shown that a topological structure has a kind of “derivation” (its “assembly” or “lattice of nuclei”) that defines a profusion of belief operators (...) B. These operators are compatible with the knowledge operator K in the sense that the all the pairs (K, B) satisfy the rules and axioms of a (weak) Stalnaker logic of knowledge and belief. The family of belief operators B compatible with K is partially ordered such that different belief operators can be compared according to their strength or reliability. Thereby, for a given topological knowledge operator, a kind of intuitionist logic of belief operators B compatible with K is defined. In sum, the topological knowledge first epistemology presented in this paper amounts to a pluralist knowledge first epistemology that conceives the relation between knowledge and belief not as a 1-1-relation but as a pluralist 1-n-relation, i.e., one knowledge operator K gives rise to a numerous family of compatible belief operators B. (shrink)
We examine some of Connes’ criticisms of Robinson’s infinitesimals starting in 1995. Connes sought to exploit the Solovay model S as ammunition against non-standard analysis, but the model tends to boomerang, undercutting Connes’ own earlier work in functional analysis. Connes described the hyperreals as both a “virtual theory” and a “chimera”, yet acknowledged that his argument relies on the transfer principle. We analyze Connes’ “dart-throwing” thought experiment, but reach an opposite conclusion. In S , all definable sets of reals are (...) Lebesgue measurable, suggesting that Connes views a theory as being “virtual” if it is not definable in a suitable model of ZFC. If so, Connes’ claim that a theory of the hyperreals is “virtual” is refuted by the existence of a definable model of the hyperreal field due to Kanovei and Shelah. Free ultrafilters aren’t definable, yet Connes exploited such ultrafilters both in his own earlier work on the classification of factors in the 1970s and 80s, and in Noncommutative Geometry, raising the question whether the latter may not be vulnerable to Connes’ criticism of virtuality. We analyze the philosophical underpinnings of Connes’ argument based on Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, and detect an apparent circularity in Connes’ logic. We document the reliance on non-constructive foundational material, and specifically on the Dixmier trace −∫ (featured on the front cover of Connes’ magnum opus) and the Hahn–Banach theorem, in Connes’ own framework. We also note an inaccuracy in Machover’s critique of infinitesimal-based pedagogy. (shrink)
We seek to elucidate the philosophical context in which one of the most important conceptual transformations of modern mathematics took place, namely the so-called revolution in rigor in infinitesimal calculus and mathematical analysis. Some of the protagonists of the said revolution were Cauchy, Cantor, Dedekind,and Weierstrass. The dominant current of philosophy in Germany at the time was neo-Kantianism. Among its various currents, the Marburg school (Cohen, Natorp, Cassirer, and others) was the one most interested in matters scientific and mathematical. Our (...) main thesis is that Marburg neo-Kantian philosophy formulated a sophisticated position towards the problems raised by the concepts of limits and infinitesimals. The Marburg school neither clung to the traditional approach of logically and metaphysically dubious infinitesimals, nor whiggishly subscribed to the new orthodoxy of the “great triumvirate” of Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass that declared infinitesimals conceptus nongrati in mathematical discourse. Rather, following Cohen’s lead, the Marburg philosophers sought to clarify Leibniz’s principle of continuity, and to exploit it in making sense of infinitesimals and related concepts. (shrink)
Abstract. In Dynamics of Reason Michael Friedman proposes a kind of synthesis between the neokantianism of Ernst Cassirer, the logical empiricism of Rudolf Carnap, and the historicism of Thomas Kuhn. Cassirer and Carnap are to take care of the Kantian legacy of modern philosophy of science, encapsulated in the concept of a relativized a priori and the globally rational or continuous evolution of scientific knowledge,while Kuhn´s role is to ensure that the historicist character of scientific knowledge is taken seriously. More (...) precisely, Carnapian linguistic frameworks, guarantee that the evolution of science procedes in a rational manner locally,while Cassirer’s concept of an internally defined conceptual convergence of empirical theories provides the means to maintain the global continuity of scientific reason. In this paper it is argued that Friedman’s neokantian account of scientific reason based on the concept of the relativized a priori underestimates the pragmatic aspects of the dynamics of scientific reason. To overcome this short-coming, I propose to reconsider C.I. Lewis’s account of a pragmatic the priori, recently modernized and elaborated by Hasok Chang. This may be<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br&g t;<br><br><br><br><br><br>Keywords: Dynamics of reason, Paradigms, Logical Empiricism,Neokantianism, Pragmatism, Mathematics, Communicative Rationality. (shrink)
This paper intends to further the understanding of the formal properties of (higher-order) vagueness by connecting theories of (higher-order) vagueness with more recent work in topology. First, we provide a “translation” of Bobzien's account of columnar higher-order vagueness into the logic of topological spaces. Since columnar vagueness is an essential ingredient of her solution to the Sorites paradox, a central problem of any theory of vagueness comes into contact with the modern mathematical theory of topology. Second, Rumfitt’s recent topological reconstruction (...) of Sainsbury’s theory of prototypically defined concepts is shown to lead to the same class of spaces that characterize Bobzien’s account of columnar vagueness, namely, weakly scattered spaces. Rumfitt calls these spaces polar spaces. They turn out to be closely related to Gärdenfors’ conceptual spaces, which have come to play an ever more important role in cognitive science and related disciplines. Finally, Williamson’s “logic of clarity” is explicated in terms of a generalized topology (“locology”) that can be considered an alternative to standard topology. Arguably, locology has some conceptual advantages over topology with respect to the conceptualization of a boundary and a borderline. Moreover, in Williamson’s logic of clarity, vague concepts with respect to a notion of a locologically inspired notion of a “slim boundary” are (stably) columnar. Thus, Williamson’s logic of clarity also exhibits a certain affinity for columnar vagueness. In sum, a topological perspective is useful for a conceptual elucidation and unification of central aspects of a variety of contemporary accounts of vagueness. (shrink)
Nach gängiger Auffassung nahm das Thema „Werte” in Carnaps Philosophie nur einen geringen Stellenwert ein. In dieser Arbeit soll gezeigt werden, daß diese Einschätzung der Korrektur bedarf: So wird der im „Aufbau“ vorgetragene Entwurf eines Konstitutionssystems mit Werten als der höchsten Schicht des Konstitutionssystems abgeschlossen. Auch die Quasianalyse als allgemeine Konstitutionsmethode steht in enger Beziehung zur Unterscheidung zwischen „Sein“ und „Gelten“, die für den werttheoretisch orientierten Neukantianismus der südwest-deutschen Schule charakteristisch war. Allgemein erlaubt die Wertthematik einen Blick auf Unterströmungen des (...) carnapschen Denkens, die in den offiziellen logisch-empiristischen Darstellungen seines Denkens meist vernachlässigt werden. Die Wertthematik, so die These dieser Arbeit, eröffnet überdies eine neue Perspektive auf die spezifisch Jenaer Konstellation von Neukantianismus und Lebensphilosophie, die Carnaps Philosophie wesentlich geprägt hat. (shrink)
David Lewis famously argued against structural universals since they allegedly required what he called a composition “sui generis” that differed from standard mereological com¬position. In this paper it is shown that, although traditional Boolean mereology does not describe parthood and composition in its full generality, a better and more comprehensive theory is provided by the foundational theory of categories. In this category-theoretical framework a theory of structural universals can be formulated that overcomes the conceptual difficulties that Lewis and his followers (...) regarded as unsurmountable. As a concrete example of structural universals groups are considered in some detail. (shrink)
In this paper I want to show that topology has a bearing on the theory of tropes. More precisely, I propose a topological ontology of tropes. This is to be understood as follows: trope ontology is a „one-category”-ontology countenancing only one kind of basic entities, to wit, tropes. 1 Hence, individuals, properties, relations, etc. are to be constructed from tropes.
The notion of idealization has received considerable attention in contemporary philosophy of science but less in philosophy of mathematics. An exception was the ‘critical idealism’ of the neo-Kantian philosopher Ernst Cassirer. According to Cassirer the methodology of idealization plays a central role for mathematics and empirical science. In this paper it is argued that Cassirer's contributions in this area still deserve to be taken into account in the current debates in philosophy of mathematics. For extremely useful criticisms on earlier versions (...) I am grateful to B.P. Larvor and another anonymous journal referee. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Felix Klein and Abraham Fraenkel each formulated a criterion for a theory of infinitesimals to be successful, in terms of the feasibility of implementation of the Mean Value Theorem. We explore the evolution of the idea over the past century, and the role of Abraham Robinson's framework therein.
The aim of this paper is to elaborate a topological semantics of knowledge and belief operators that can be used for an epistemological characterisation of Gettier cases. Relying on this semantics it will be shown that in Stalnaker’s logic KB every topological knowledge operator K is accompanied with a partially ordered family of belief operators B compatible with K in the sense that the pairs (K, B) of modal operators K and B satisfy all axioms of KB (except the contentious (...) axiom (NI) of negative introspection). For most topological models of KB Gettier cases occur in a natural way, i.e., most models of KB contain sets of possible worlds that can be interpreted as Gettier cases where true justified beliefs obtain that are not knowledge. On the other hand, there exist a special class of models that lack Gettier cases. Topologically, Gettier cases are characterized as nowhere dense sets. This entails that Gettier cases are “epistemically invisible” and “doxastically invisible”, i.e., they can neither be known by K nor consistently believed by B. The proof that Gettier cases cannot be known by knowledge operators K is elementary, the proof that they cannot be believed by belief operators B relies, however, on a non-trivial theorem of point-free topology, namely, Isbell’s density theorem. -/- Keywords. Stalnaker’s logic KB of knowledge and belief; Topological epistemology; Nuclei; Epistemic Invisibility; Doxastic invisibility; Gettier cases; Isbell’s theorem. (shrink)
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, from the central position it (...) used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
Value judgments are meaningless. This thesis was one of the notorious tenets of Carnap's mature logical empiricism. Less well known is the fact that in the Aufbau values were considered as philosophically respectable entities that could be constituted from value experiences. About 1930, however, values and value judgments were banished to the realm of meaningless metaphysics, and Carnap came to endorse a strict emotivism. The aim of this paper is to shed light on the question why Carnap abandoned his originally (...) positive attitude concerning values. It is argued that his non-cognitivist attitude was the symptom of a deep-rooted and never properly dissolved tension between conflicting inclinations towards Neokantianism and Lebensphilosophie. In America Carnap's non-cognitivism became a major obstacle for a closer collaboration between logical empiricists and American pragmatists. Carnap's persisting adherence to the dualism of practical life and theoretical science was the ultimate reason why he could not accept Morris's and Kaplan's pragmatist theses that cognitivism might well be compatible with a logical and empiricist scientific philosophy. (shrink)
Husserl's mathematical philosophy of science can be considered an anticipation of the contemporary postpositivistic semantic approach, which regards mathematics and not logic as the appropriate tool for the exact philosophical reconstruction of scientific theories. According to Husserl, an essential part of a theory's reconstruction is the mathematical description of its domain, that is, the world (or the part of the world) the theory intends to talk about. Contrary to the traditional micrological approach favored by the members of the Vienna Circle, (...) Husserl, inspired by modern geometry and set theory, aims at a macrological analysis of scientific theories that takes into account the global structures of theories as structured wholes. This is set in the complementary theories of manifolds and theory forms considered by Husserl himself as the culmination of his formal theory of science. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to discuss the “Austro-American” logical empiricism proposed by physicist and philosopher Philipp Frank, particularly his interpretation of Carnap’s Aufbau, which he considered the charter of logical empiricism as a scientific world conception. According to Frank, the Aufbau was to be read as an integration of the ideas of Mach and Poincaré, leading eventually to a pragmatism quite similar to that of the American pragmatist William James. Relying on this peculiar interpretation, Frank intended to bring (...) about a rapprochement between the logical empiricism of the Vienna Circle in exile and American pragmatism. In the course of this project, in the last years of his career, Frank outlined a comprehensive, socially engaged philosophy of science that could serve as a “link between science and philosophy”. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to present a topological method for constructing discretizations of topological conceptual spaces. The method works for a class of topological spaces that the Russian mathematician Pavel Alexandroff defined more than 80 years ago. The aim of this paper is to show that Alexandroff spaces, as they are called today, have many interesting properties that can be used to explicate and clarify a variety of problems in philosophy, cognitive science, and related disciplines. For instance, recently, (...) Ian Rumfitt used a special type of Alexandroff spaces to elucidate the logic of vague concepts in a new way. Moreover, Rumfitt’s class of Alexandroff spaces can be shown to provide a natural topological semantics for Susanne Bobzien’s “logic of clearness”. Mainly due to the work of Peter Gärdenfors and his collaborators, conceptual spaces have become an increasingly popular tool of dealing with a variety of problems in the fields of cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence, linguistics and philosophy. For Gärdenfors’s conceptual spaces, geometrically defined discretizations play an essential role. These tessellations can be shown to be extensionally equivalent to topological tessellations that can be constructed for Alexandroff spaces in general. Thereby, Rumfitt’s and Gärdenfors’s constructions turn out to be special cases of an approach that works for a more general class of spaces, namely, for weakly scattered Alexandroff spaces. The main aim of this paper is to show that this class of spaces provides a convenient framework for conceptual spaces as used in epistemology and related disciplines in general. Weakly scattered Alexandroff spaces are useful for elucidating problems related to the logic of vague concepts, in particular they offer a solution of the Sorites paradox. Further, they provide a semantics for the logic of clearness that overcomes certain problems of the concept of higher-order vagueness. Moreover, these spaces help find a natural place for classical syllogistics in the framework of conceptual spaces. The specialization order of Alexandroff spaces can be used to refine the all-or-nothing distinction between prototypical and non-prototypical stimuli in favor of a gradual distinction between more or less prototypical elements of conceptual spaces. The greater conceptual flexibility of the topological approach helps avoid some inherent inadequacies of the geometrical approach, for instance, the so-called “thickness problem”. Finally, it is shown that the Alexandroff spaces offer an appropriate framework to deal with digital conceptual spaces that are gaining more and more importance in the areas of artificial intelligence, computer science and related disciplines. (shrink)
Carnap's quasi-analysis is usually considered as an ingenious but definitively flawed approach in epistemology and philosophy of science. In this paper it is argued that this assessment is mistaken. Quasi-analysis can be reconstructed as a representational theory of constitution of structures that has applications in many realms of epistemology and philosophy of science. First, existence and uniqueness theorems for quasi-analytical representations are proved. These theorems defuse the classical objections against the quasi-analytical approach launched forward by Goodman and others. Secondly, the (...) constitution of various kinds of structures is treated in detail: order structures, comparative similarity structures, mereological, mereotopological, and topological structures are considered. In particular, it is pointed out that there exist interesting relations between quasi-analysis and modern theories of pointless topology. (shrink)
Abstract: One of the institutional highlights of the encounter between Austrian “wissen¬schaftliche Philosophie” and French “philosophie scientifique” in the first half of the 20th century was the “First International Congress for Unity of Science” that took place 1935 in Paris. In my contribution I deal with an episode of the philosophical mega-event whose protagonist was the American philosopher and semiotician Charles William Morris. At the Paris congress he presented his programme of a comprehensive, practice-oriented scientific philosophy and, in a more (...) elaborated version he published it two years later in Logical Positivism, Pragmatism and Scientific Empiricism (Morris 1937). Morris aimed at a synthesis of formalism, pragmatism, and traditional empiricism that combined the virtues of these accounts while avoided their shortocmings. The core of approach was a comprehensive theory of the concept of meaning. Through an analysis of the concept of meaning he sought to sort out the existing differences and the options for a possible future rapprochment between logical empiricism and pragmatism. Against the overly narrow logical empiricist understanding of philosophy as the syntax of the language of science Morris argued for a “scientific pragmatism” that comprised four levels: (1) Philosophy as Logic of Science, (2) Philosophy as Clarification of Meaning (Peirce), (3) Philosophy as Empirical Axiology (Dewey), and (4) Philosophy as Empirical Cosmology (Whitehead). (shrink)
Abstract. Value judgments are meaningless. This thesis was one of the notorious tenets of Carnap’s mature logical empiricism. Less well known is the fact that in the Aufbau values were con-sidered as philosophically respectable entities that could be constituted from value experiences. About 1930, however, values were banished to the realm of meaning-less me-taphysics, and Carnap came to endorse a strict emotivism. The aim of this paper is to shed new light on the question why Carnap abandoned his originally positive (...) attitude concerning values. It is argued that Carnap’s non-cognitivist attitude was the symptom of a deep-rooted and never properly dissolved tension be-tween his conflicting inclinations towards Neokantianism and Lebensphilosophie. In America Carnap’s non-cognitivism became a major obstacle for a closer collaboration between lo-gical empiricists and American pragmatists. Carnap’s persisting ad---herence to the dualism of practical life and theoretical science was the ultimate reason why he could not accept Morris’s and Kaplan’s pragmatist the-ses that cognitivism might well are compatible with a logical and empiricist scientific philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper some classical representational ideas of Hertz and Duhem are used to show how the dichotomy between representation and intervention can be overcome. More precisely, scientific theories are reconstructed as complex networks of intervening representations (or representational interventions). The formal apparatus developed is applied to elucidate various theoretical and practical aspects of the in vivo/in vitro problem of biochemistry. Moreover, adjoint situations (Galois connections) are used to explain the relation berween empirical facts and theoretical laws in a new (...) way. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to elucidate the mereological structure of complex states of affairs without relying on the problematic notion of structural universals. For this task tools from graph theory, lattice theory, and the theory of relational systems are employed. Our starting point is the mereology of similarity structures. Since similarity structures are structured sets, their mereology can be considered as a generalization of the mereology of sets..
In this paper a solution of Whitehead’s problem is presented: Starting with a purely mereological system of regions a topological space is constructed such that the class of regions is isomorphic to the Boolean lattice of regular open sets of that space. This construction may be considered as a generalized completion in analogy to the well-known Dedekind completion of the rational numbers yielding the real numbers . The argument of the paper relies on the theories of continuous lattices and “pointless” (...) topology.
A possible world is a junky world if and only if each thing in it is a proper part. The possibility of junky worlds contradicts the principle of general fusion. Bohn (2009) argues for the possibility of junky worlds, Watson (2010) suggests that Bohn‘s arguments are flawed. This paper shows that the arguments of both authors leave much to be desired. First, relying on the classical results of Cantor, Zermelo, Fraenkel, and von Neumann, this paper proves the possibility of junky (...) worlds for certain weak set theories. Second, the paradox of Burali-Forti shows that according to the Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory ZF, junky worlds are possible. Finally, it is shown that set theories are not the only sources for designing plausible models of junky worlds: Topology (and possibly other "algebraic" mathematical theories) may be used to construct models of junky worlds. In sum, junkyness is a relatively widespread feature among possible worlds. (shrink)
In this paper it is shown that Heyting and Co-Heyting mereological systems provide a convenient conceptual framework for spatial reasoning, in which spatial concepts such as connectedness, interior parts, (exterior) contact, and boundary can be defined in a natural and intuitively appealing way. This fact refutes the wide-spread contention that mereology cannot deal with the more advanced aspects of spatial reasoning and therefore has to be enhanced by further non-mereological concepts to overcome its congenital limitations. The allegedly unmereological concept of (...) boundary is treated in detail and shown to be essentially affected by mereological considerations. More precisely, the concept of boundary turns out to be realizable in a variety of different mereologically grounded versions. In particular, every part K of a Heyting algebra H gives rise to a well-behaved K-relative boundary operator. (shrink)
According to general wisdom, Carnap's quasianalysis is an ingenious but definitively flawed approach to epistemology and philosophy of science. I argue that this assessment is mistaken. Rather, Carnapian quasianalysis can be reconstructed as a special case of a general theory of structural representation. This enables us to exploit some interesting analogies of quasianalysis with the representational theory of measurement. It is shown how Goodman's well-known objections against the quasianalytical approach may be defused in the new framework. As an application, I (...) sketch how the thesis of empirical underdetermination of theories may be elucidated in the framework of quasianalysis. (shrink)
The main thesis of this paper is that Pap’s The Functional A Priori of Physical Theory (Pap 1946, henceforth FAP) and Cassirer’s Determinism and Indeterminism in Modern Physics (Cassirer 1937, henceforth DI) may be conceived as two kindred accounts of a late Neo-Kantian philosophy of science. They elucidate and clarify each other mutually by elaborating conceptual possibilities and pointing out affinities of neo-Kantian ideas with other currents of 20th century’s philosophy of science, namely, pragmatism, conventionalism, and logical empiricism. Taking into (...) account these facts, it seems not too far fetched to conjecture that under more favorable circumstances Pap could have served as a mediator between the “analytic” and “continental” tradition thereby overcoming the dogmatic dualism of these two philosophical currents that has characterized philosophy in the second half the 20th century. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is make a contribution to the ongoing search for an adequate concept of the a priori element in scientific knowledge. The point of departure is C.I. Lewis’s account of a pragmatic a priori put forward in his "Mind and the World Order" (1929). Recently, Hasok Chang in "Contingent Transcendental Arguments for Metaphysical Principles" (2008) reconsidered Lewis’s pragmatic a priori and proposed to conceive it as the basic ingredient of the dynamics of an embodied scientific reason. (...) The present paper intends to further elaborate Chang’s account by relating it with some conceptual tools from cognitive semantics and certain ideas that first emerged in the context of the category-theoretical foundations of mathematics. (shrink)
In the philosophy of the analytical tradition, set theory and formal logic are familiar formal tools. I think there is no deep reason why the philosopher’s tool kit should be restricted to just these theories. It might well be the case—to generalize a dictum of Suppes concerning philosophy of science—that the appropriate formal device for doing philosophy is mathematics in general; it may be set theory, algebra, topology, or any other realm of mathematics. In this paper I want to employ (...) elementary topological considerations to shed new light on the intricate problem of the relation of qualities and similarity. Thereby I want to make plausible the general thesis that topology might be a useful device for matters epistemological. (shrink)
To explore the extent of embeddability of Leibnizian infinitesimal calculus in first-order logic (FOL) and modern frameworks, we propose to set aside ontological issues and focus on pro- cedural questions. This would enable an account of Leibnizian procedures in a framework limited to FOL with a small number of additional ingredients such as the relation of infinite proximity. If, as we argue here, first order logic is indeed suitable for developing modern proxies for the inferential moves found in Leibnizian infinitesimal (...) calculus, then modern infinitesimal frameworks are more appropriate to interpreting Leibnizian infinitesimal calculus than modern Weierstrassian ones. (shrink)
In the framework of set theory we cannot distinguish between natural and non-natural predicates. To avoid this shortcoming one can use mathematical structures as conceptual spaces such that natural predicates are characterized as structurally nice subsets. In this paper topological and related structures are used for this purpose. We shall discuss several examples taken from conceptual spaces of quantum mechanics (orthoframes), and the geometric logic of refutative and affirmable assertions. In particular we deal with the problem of structurally distinguishing between (...) natural colour predicates and Goodmanian predicates like grue and bleen. Moreover the problem of characterizing natural predicates is reformulated in such a way that its connection with the classical problem of geometric conventionalism becomes manifest. This can be used to shed some new light on Goodman's remarks on the relative entrenchment of predicates as a criterion of projectibility. (shrink)
Quine’s classical classic interpretation succinctly characterized characterizes Carnap’s Aufbau as an attempt “to account for the external world as a logical construct of sense-data....” Consequently, “Russell” was characterized as the most important influence on the Aufbau. Those times have passed. Formulating a comprehensive and balanced interpretation of the Aufbau has turned out to be a difficult task and one that must take into account several disjointed sources. My thesis is that the core of the Aufbau rested on a problem that (...) had haunted German philosophy since the end of the 19th century. In terms fashionable at the time, this problem may be expressed as the polarity between Leben and Geist that characterized German philosophy during the years of the Weimar Republic. At that time, many philosophers, including Cassirer, Rickert and Vaihinger, were engaged in overcoming this polarity. As I will show, Carnap’s Aufbau joined the ranks of these projects. This suggests that Lebensphilosophie and Rickert’s System der Philosophie exerted a strong influence on Carnap’s projects, an influence that is particularly conspicuous in his unpublished manuscript Vom Chaos zur Wirklichkeit. Carnap himself asserted that this manuscript could be considered “the germ of the constitution theory” of the Aufbau. Reading Chaos also reveals another strong but neglected influence on the Aufbau, namely a specific version of neutral monism put forward by the philosopher and psychologist Theodor Ziehen before World War I. Ziehen’s work contributed much to the invention of the constitutional method of quasi-analysis. -/-. (shrink)
The thesis of the empirical underdetermination of theories (U-thesis) maintains that there are incompatible theories which are empirically equivalent. Whether this is an interesting thesis depends on how the term incompatible is understood. In this paper a structural explication is proposed. More precisely, the U-thesis is studied in the framework of the model theoretic or emantic approach according to which theories are not to be taken as linguistic entities, but rather as families of mathematical structures. Theories of similarity structures are (...) studied as a paradigmatic case. The structural approach further reveals that the U-thesis is related to problems of uniqueness in the representational theory of measurement, questions of geometric conventionalism, and problems of structural underdetermination in mathematics. (shrink)