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 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. After the new forms are introduced into the language, it is possible to formulate with their help internal questions and possible answers to them. Marc Alspector-Kelly – – Philosophical Studies 1: However, it would be wrong to describe this situation by saying: And it cannot be solved because it is framed in a wrong way.

With the help of the new variables, general sentences may be formed, e. Therefore the introduction of such constants is not to be regarded as an essential step in the introduction of the framework.

And now we must distinguish two kinds of questions of existence: History of Western Philosophy. Internal questions and possible answers to them are formulated with the help of the new forms of expressions.

Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology

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.

John Stuart Mill, Frege, and Russell.

However, none of those alternatives are practical, and that is Carnap’s point. Because of space, I will not go into further details Carnap discusses about the systems of integers, rational numbers and real numbers that is a little too heavy for evening philosophy anyway!

However, let us look at a few different examples. More probably he will just speak about all these things like anybody else but with an uneasy conscience, like a man who in his everyday life does with qualms many things which are not in accord with the anx moral principles he professes on Sundays.


Are there properties classes, numbers, propositions?

Senantics, the introduction of a general term, 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. The acceptance cannot be judged as being either true or false because it is not an assertion.

Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology

Thus it is clear that if someone accepts the framework of numbers, emporicism he must acknowledge c and b and hence a as true statements. Once we have empiricixm the thing language with its framework for things, we can raise and answer internal questions, e.

Derogatory labels like “Platonic realism” “hypostatization,” or “‘Fido’-Fido principle” are attached to it. Another strong hang-up empiricists have is with the concept of designation. 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.

This question is here neither decided nor even discussed.

We apply the term ‘proposition’ to any entities of a certain logical type, namely, those that may be expressed by declarative sentences in a language” p.

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. Darren Bradley – – Synthese 5: In the case of mathematics some empiricists try to find a way out by treating the whole of mathematics as a mere calculus, a formal system for which no interpretation is given, or can be given.

This evaluation is usually carried out, of course, as a matter of habit rather than a deliberate, rational procedure. The efficiency, fruitfulness, and simplicity of the use of the thing language may be among the decisive factors.

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 logic, with C. In a semantical meaning analysis certain expressions in ontoloogy language are often said to designate or name or denote or signify or refer to certain ad entities.


They believe that only after making sure that there really is a system of entities of the kind in question are we justified in accepting the framework by incorporating the linguistic forms into sematics language.

Some semanticists say that certain expressions designate certain entities, and among these designated entities they include not only concrete material things but also abstract entities e.

References onntology space-time points, the electromagnetic field, or electrons in physics, to real or complex numbers and their functions in mathematics, to the excitatory potential or unconscious complexes in psychology, to an inflationary trend in economics, and the like, do not imply the assertion that entities of these kinds occur as immediate data.

In spite of this warning, it seems that some of those readers who were puzzled by the explanations, did not disregard them but thought that by raising objections against them they could refute the theory.

Rudolf Carnap, Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology – PhilPapers

Peirce and Frege, a great majority accepted abstract entities. The acceptance of new linguistic forms cannot be judged as being either true or empirocism, since it is not an assertion, rather it can only be judged as being more or less expedient than with prior forms. Ontology, Analyticity, and Meaning: Quine does not acknowledge the distinction which I emphasize above, because according to his general conception there are no sharp boundary lines between logical and factual truth, between questions of meaning and questions of fact, between the acceptance of a language structure and the acceptance of an assertion formulated in the language.

An assertion of this kind would indeed be very dubious psychology. Carnap thinks there is no possible evidence that would be regarded as relevant by both philosophers to decide this controversy.