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. Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology. Rudolf Carnap. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 4 (): Reprinted in the Supplement to. Meaning and.

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The demand for a theoretical justification, correct in the case of internal assertions, is sometimes wrongly applied to the acceptance of a system of entities. Ontology in 20th Century Philosophy.

Prinz – – In Brian L Keeley ed. If the latter condition is not fulfilled, the expression is not a statement. An internal question “Are there really space-time points? The fact that in these statements no reference to a subject an observer or knower occurs nothing like: Within the system of propositionsthe very term “proposition” is introduced, where any declarative sentence semantkcs be substituted for a variable.

In the case of this particular example, there is usually no deliberate obtology because we all have accepted the thing language early in our lives as a matter of course. To decree dogmatic prohibitions onrology certain linguistic forms instead of testing them by their success or failure in practical use, is worse than futile; it is positively harmful because it may obstruct scientific progress.

The acceptance cannot be judged as being either true or false because it is not an assertion.

Maybe Ryle is historically right with respect to those whom he mentions as previous representatives of the principle, viz. Thus it is clear that the acceptance of a linguistic framework must not be regarded as implying a metaphysical doctrine concerning the reality of the entities in question.

However, if we look at the basic anti-metaphysical and pro-scientific attitude of most nominalists and the same holds for many materialists and realists in the modern sensedisregarding their occasional pseudo-theoretical formulations, then it is, of course, true to say that the Vienna Circle was much closer to those philosophers than to their opponents.


Since these empiricists found no abstract entities within the realm of sense-data, they either denied their existence, or else made a futile attempt to define universals in terms of particulars. They reject the belief, which they regard as implicitly presupposed by those semantical statements, that to each expression of the types in question adjectives like “red,” numerals like “five,” etc.

Let us be cautious in making assertions and critical in examining them, but tolerant in permitting linguistic forms.

This entry has no external links. The two essential steps are rather the following.

In spite of this, the controversy concerning the external question of the ontological reality of the system of numbers continues. The statement “There are propositions” may be meant in the sense of d ; in this case it is analytic since it follows from a and ongology trivial. But it is certainly wrong to regard my semantical method as involving a belief in the reality of abstract entities, since I reject a thesis of this kind as a metaphysical pseudo-statement.

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 sfmantics a proxy. Therefore, he regards the external question as a pseudo-question, until both parties offer empificism common interpretation of the question as a cognitive question; one that would indicate possible evidence regarded as relevant by both sides.

Quine was the first to recognize the importance of the introduction of variables as indicating the acceptance of entities. This conception, which seems to deviate considerably from customary ways of thinking, is explained in his article “Semantics and Abstract Objects,” Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences80 The history of science shows carnao of such prohibitions based on prejudices deriving from religious, mythological, metaphysical, emporicism other irrational sources, which slowed up the developments for shorter or longer periods of time.

Rudolf Carnap, Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology – PhilPapers

But these questions cannot be identified with the question of realism. The system of thing properties The thing language contains words like “red,” “hard,” “stone,” “house,” etc.


From the internal questions we must clearly distinguish external questions, i. Richard Boyd – – Philosophical Studies 61 1: He stresses ontolofy no theoretical justification is needed for our linguistic frameworks because they do not imply a belief or assertion.

Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology

Let us now summarize the essential characteristics of situations involving the introduction of a new carjap of entities, characteristics which are common to the various examples outlined above.

The restriction to rational coordinates would not be in conflict with any experimental knowledge we have, because the result of any measurement is a rational number.

The use of three spatial coordinates is not forced on us, but is strongly suggested by common observation. Each is an ordered quadruple of four real numbers, called its coordinates, consisting of three spatial and one temporal coordinates.

Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology

After all, semantics in the technical sense is still in the initial phases of its development, and we must be prepared for possible fundamental changes in methods. Therefore ssemantics who meant the question “Are there numbers? Their doubts refer rather to the system of entities itself; hence they mean the external question. Kit Fine – – Philosophical Issues 27 1: As far as possible they try to avoid any reference to abstract entities and to restrict themselves to what is sometimes called a nominalistic language, i.

And the questions concerning these qualities are indeed of a theoretical nature. For example, the choice of real numbers rather than rational numbers or integers as coordinates is not much influenced by the facts of experience but mainly due to considerations of mathematical simplicity.

The physical state of a spatio-temporal point or region is described either with the help of qualitative predicates e. Then the special question of the role of carnapp entities in semantics will be discussed.

Further, the general term “proposition” is introduced. Therefore every sentence of the form “.