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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Carnap, “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology”

To be real in the scientific sense means to be an element of the system; hence this znd cannot be meaningfully applied to the system itself.

It is not a question simply of yes or no, but a matter of degree. If they ssemantics given, they should be understood, not as ingredient parts of the system, but merely as marginal notes with the purpose of supplying to the reader helpful hints or convenient pictorial associations which may make his learning of the use of the expressions easier than the bare system of the rules would do. Each is an ordered quadruple of four real numbers, called its coordinates, consisting of three spatial and one temporal coordinates.

He might, for example, tell him to imagine the atoms of a gas as small balls rushing around with great speed, or the electromagnetic field and its oscillations as quasi-elastic tensions and vibrations in an ether. A brief historical remark may here be inserted.

This involves introducing new types of variables, expressions substitutable for them, and the general terms “integer” and “rational number. Find it on Scholar. Others object, claiming that this designation violates the basic principle of empiricism and leads back to a metaphysical ontology of the platonic kind. History of Western Philosophy. The system of propositions.

Into a language containing the framework of natural numbers we may introduce first the positive and negative integers as relations among natural numbers and then the rational numbers as relations among integers.

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And indeed, if we were to ask them: Quine was the first to recognize the importance of the introduction of variables as indicating the acceptance of entities. One philosopher thinks numbers are real entities and that gives him the right to use the linguistic forms of the numerical framework and to make semantical ontoligy about numbers as designata of numerals.

Thus it is clear that if someone accepts the framework of numbers, then he must acknowledge c and b and hence a as true statements. Unless and until they supply a clear cognitive interpretation, we are justified in our suspicion that their question is a pseudo-question, that is, one disguised in the form of a theoretical question while in fact it is a non-theoretical; in the present case it is the practical problem whether or not to incorporate into the language the new linguistic forms which constitute the framework of numbers.

I will briefly summarize this framework again: Here again there are semanitcs questions, e. Thus, for example, the thing language anc certainly words of the type of “blue” and “house” before the framework of properties is introduced; and it may contain words like “ten” in sentences semantic the form “I have ten fingers” before the framework of numbers is introduced.

Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology

It is therefore not correct to classify the members of the Vienna Circle as nominalists, as is sometimes done. Sign in to use this feature. It is an empirical, factual nature. Then the special question of the role of abstract entities in semantics will be discussed.

Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology

Only entities belonging to a type of which examples were to be found within immediate experience could be accepted as ultimate constituents of reality. The decision of accepting the thing language, although itself not of a cognitive nature, will nevertheless usually be influenced by theoretical knowledge, just like any other deliberate decision concerning the acceptance of linguistic or other rules.

By granting freedom to use any form of expression which is useful, the work will sooner or later lead to the elimination of those forms which have no useful function. Sign in Create an account. In spite of this, the controversy concerning the external question of the ontological reality of the system of numbers continues.

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These are answered by carna investigations, their results evaluated according to certain rules as confirming or disconfirming evidence for possible answers. While ‘Fido’ designates the dog Fido, ‘red’ and ‘five’ are not names and do not designate anything. Problems and Changes in the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning.

Nevertheless, we may regard it as a matter of decision in this sense: Realists give an affirmative answer, subjective idealists a negative one, and the controversy goes on for centuries without ever being solved. Influenced by ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein, the Circle rejected both the thesis of the reality of the external world and the thesis of its irreality as pseudo-statements; 6 the same was the case for both the thesis of the reality of universals abstract entities, in our present terminology and the nominalistic thesis that they are not real and that their alleged names are not names of anything but merely flatus vocis.

While “Fido” is a name, expressions like “red,” “five,” etc. As far as it is a principle of accepting certain entities and not accepting others, leaving aside any ontological, phenomenalistic and nominalistic pseudo-statements, there cannot be any theoretical objection to it.

Are there really numbers, properties, space-time points, propositions, and even things themselves?

But controversy of the external question of the ontological reality of the system of numbers continues. This shows again the confusion mentioned, because a superstition or myth is a false or dubious internal statement. Copyright by Susan J.

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