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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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New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. 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.

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Quine was the first to recognize the importance of the introduction of variables as indicating the acceptance of entities. The system of thing properties The thing language contains words like “red,” “hard,” “stone,” “house,” etc.

I will briefly summarize this framework again: A look at the rules shows us that they are not, because otherwise existential statements would be of the form: For him, the numerals may still be used as meaningful expressions, but they are not names and there are no entities designated by them. Derogatory labels like “Platonic realism” “hypostatization,” or “‘Fido’-Fido principle” are attached to it.

Therefore the answers are here analytic, i. On Quine on Carnap on Ontology.

These questions are to be answered by empirical investigations. Therefore, for him, the word “number” and numerical variables must not be used – unless there was a way to use them as merely abbreviating devices; i.

First, the introduction of a general crnap, a predicate of higher level, for the new kind of entities, permitting us to say for any particular entity that it belongs to this kind e. It leads to the absurd consequence, that the position of everybody who accepts the language of physics with its carnzp number variables as a language of communication, not merely as a calculus would be called Platonistic, even if he is a strict empiricist who rejects Platonic metaphysics.


The belief criticized is thus a case of hypostatization, catnap. Therefore the word “number” and numerical variables must not be used unless a way ohtology found to introduce them as merely abbreviating devices, a way of translating them into the nominalistic thing language. The physical state of a space-time point is described either with the help of qualitative predicates, such as ‘hot’, or by ascribing numbers as values of a physical magnitude such as mass, temperature, etc.

Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. —

Rather, it is a question whether numbers have a certain metaphysical fmpiricism called reality – an ideal reality, different from the material world. A brief historical remark may here be inserted.

This acceptance is not in need of a theoretical justification except with respect to expediency and fruitfulnessbecause it does not imply a belief or assertion. The latter fact shows that the occurrence of constants of the empricism in question — regarded as names of entities of the new kind after the new framework is introduced — is not a sure sign of the acceptance of the new kind of entities.

Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology

Problems and Changes in the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning. Designation Another strong hang-up empiricists have is with the concept of designation.

History of Western Philosophy. 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. Further, the general term “proposition” is introduced. On the other hand, the external questions of the reality of physical space and physical time are pseudo-questions. To move on to this physical coordinate system is again a matter of decision of how to use language. The psychological question as to which kinds of entities do and which do not occur as immediate data is entirely irrelevant for semantics, just as it is for physics, mathematics, economic;, etc.

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We could choose to not continue using the ordinary thing language, instead using a language of sense-data or “phenomenal” entities, or to construct another language structure entirely – or we could just refrain from speaking!

If these philosophers regarded the acceptance of a system of entities as a theory, an assertion, they were victims of the same old, metaphysical confusion. Nevertheless, we may regard it as a matter of decision in this sense: Science Logic and Mathematics.

Those who criticize these statements do not, of course, reject the use of the expressions in question, like “red” or “five”; nor would they deny that these expressions are meaningful. For example, if the whole of mathematics were treated as a mere calculus, a formal system where no interpretation can be given, then the mathematician speaks not about numbers, functions and infinite classes, but about meaningless symbols and formulas manipulated according to given formal rules.

If suitable rules for this term are laid down, the following is likewise analytic:. 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.

From the internal questions we must clearly distinguish external questions, i.