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. Carnap, “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology”. Major Premise: Accepting the existence abstract entities involves a pragmatic decision to use a certain linguistic.

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The nature and implications of the acceptance of a language referring to abstract entities will first be discussed in general; it will be shown that using such a language does not imply embracing a Platonic ontology but is perfectly compatible with empiricism and strictly scientific thinking.

Carnap and Ontological Pluralism. With the help of the new variables, general sentences semxntics be formed, e.

In a semantical meaning analysis certain expressions in a language are often said to designate or name or denote or signify or refer to certain extra-linguistic empiricosm. Let us grant to those who work in any special field of investigation the freedom to use any form of expression which seems useful to them; the work in the field will sooner or later lead to the elimination of those forms which have no useful function.

If the nominalists are right, Carnap says that they will have to offer better arguments than merely appealing to ontological insight. Find it on Scholar.

Sign in Create an account. Prospects for a Naturalist Theory of the a Priori. On Quine on Carnap on Ontology. Rudolf Carnap – – Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4 Let us learn from the lessons of history. To accept the thing world means nothing more than to accept a certain form of language, in other words, to accept rules empigicism forming empiriicsm and for testing accepting or rejecting them.

Then the special question of the role of abstract entities in semantics will be discussed.

Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. —

For those who want to develop or use semantical methods, the decisive question is not the alleged ontological question of the existence of abstract ontoology but rather the question whether the rise of abstract linguistic foms or, in technical terms, the use of variables beyond those for things empigicism phenomenal datais expedient and fruitful for the purposes for which semantical analyses are made, viz.


Within the system of propositionsthe very term “proposition” is introduced, where any declarative sentence may be substituted for a variable.

Carnap – – Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4: Added to PP index Total downloads 2, of 2, Recent downloads 6 months 1, of 2, How can I increase my downloads? They emphasize a distinction between the data that which is immediately given in consciousness, e. But, Carnap warns, it concerns a matter of degree, and a formulation in the form “real or not? The World of Things Take the world of things – the simplest kind of entities we deal with in everyday language.

Certain early British empiricists e. In fact, of course, the semanticist does not in the least assert or imply that the abstract entities to which he refers can be experienced as immediately given either by sensation or by a kind of rational intuition. This involves introducing new types of variables, expressions substitutable for them, and the general terms “integer” and “rational number. Marc Alspector-Kelly – – Philosophical Studies 1: Let us be cautious in making assertions and critical in examining them, but tolerant in permitting linguistic forms.

Carnap, “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology”

The critics will have to show that it is possible to construct a semantical method which avoids all references to abstract entities and achieves by simpler means semantice the same results as the other methods. In physicsit is much more difficult to eliminate these dreaded entities.

This gives me the right to use the linguistic forms of the numerical framework and to make semantical statements about numbers as designata of numerals. Let us take as an example the statement:. But this must not be interpreted as if it meant his acceptance of a belief in the reality of the thing world; there is no such belief or assertion or assumption, because it is not a theoretical question.

However, within certain scientific contexts it seems hardly possible to avoid them. Can Semantics Guide Ontology? Those who raise the question of the reality of the thing world itself have perhaps in mind not a theoretical question as their formulation seems to suggest, but rather a practical question, a matter of a practical decision concerning the structure of our language. He stresses that no theoretical justification is needed for our linguistic frameworks because they do not imply a belief or assertion.

Darren Bradley – – Synthese 5: To the question “Are there numbers? New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Carnap provides the following example of this problem of proof: The acceptance cannot be judged as being either true or false because it is not an assertion.


The latter is the name given by Gilbert Ryle 8 to the criticized belief, which, in his view, arises by a naive inference of analogy: Each is an ordered quadruple of four real numbers, called its coordinates, consisting of three spatial and one temporal coordinates. Thus, for example, Ernest Nagel in his review 9 asks for “evidence relevant for affirming with warrant that there are such entities as infinitesimals or propositions.

Rudolf Carnap, Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology – PhilPapers

Many philosophers regard a question of this kind as an ontological question which must be raised and answered before the introduction of the new language forms.

It is not a question simply of yes or no, but a matter of degree. Majid Davoody Beni – – Philosophia Scientiae 19 1: They usually feel much more in sympathy with nominalists than with realists in the medieval sense. Science Logic and Mathematics. If suitable rules for this term are laid down, the following is likewise analytic:.

Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology

In order to understand more clearly the nature of these and related problems, it is above all necessary to recognize a fundamental distinction between two kinds of questions concerning the existence or reality of entities. In a semantical meaning analysis certain expressions in a language are often said to designate or name or denote or signify or refer to certain extra-linguistic entities. A general term, a predicate of a higher level, is introduced into the framework, so we can say of any particular entity that it belongs to this kind e.

An assertion of this kind would indeed be very dubious psychology.

Again, Carnap feels that the questions of the reality of physical space and physical time are pseudo-questions. In fact, onology, all that can accurately be said about atoms or the field is implicitly contained in the physical laws of the theories in question. Among those philosophers who have carried out semantical analyses and thought about suitable tools for this work, beginning with Plato and Aristotle and, in a more technical way on the basis of modern rmpiricism, with C.

They are not yes-no questions but questions of degree.