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Rudolf Carnap – – Philosophy of Science 4 (4) Testability and Carnap – – Philosophy of Science 4 (1) Testability and Meaning: Rudolf Carnap: Career in Vienna and Prague: in full detail in his essay “Testability and Meaning” (–37). Carnap argued that the. Testability and meaning. Citation. Carnap, R. (). Testability and meaning. Philosophy of Science, 3,

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Rudolf Carnap, a German-born philosopher and naturalized U. He made significant contributions to philosophy of science, philosophy of language, the theory of probability, inductive logic and modal logic. He rejected metaphysics as meaningless because metaphysical statements cannot be proved or disproved by experience. He asserted mdaning many philosophical problems are indeed pseudo-problems, the outcome of a misuse of language.

Some of them can be resolved when tesatbility recognize that they are not expressing matters of fact, but rather concern the choice between different linguistic frameworks. Thus the logical analysis of language becomes the principal instrument in resolving philosophical problems. Since ordinary language is ambiguous, Carnap asserted the necessity of studying philosophical issues in artificial languages, which are governed by the rules of logic and mathematics.

In such languages, he dealt with the meaninb of the meaning of a statement, the different interpretations of probability, the nature of explanation, and the distinctions between analytic and synthetic, a priori and a posteriori, and necessary and contingent statements. Rudolf Carnap was testzbility on May 18,in Ronsdorf, Germany. Inafter his father’s death, his family moved to Barmen, where Carnap studied at the Gymnasium.

From to he studied philosophy, physics and mathematics at the universities of Jena and Freiburg. Carnap took three courses from Gottlob Frege inand Frege was professor of mathematics at Jena. During those courses, Frege expounded his system of logic and its applications in mathematics. His studies were interrupted by World War I and Carnap served at the front until He meanjng moved to Berlin and studied the theory of relativity.

At that time, Albert Einstein was professor of physics at the University of Berlin. After the war, Carnap developed a new dissertation, this time on an axiomatic system for the physical ,eaning of space and time. Both found the work interesting, but Wien told Carnap the dissertation was pertinent to philosophy, not to physics, while Bauch said it was relevant to physics.

Carnap then chose to write a dissertation under the direction of Bauch on the theory of space from a philosophical point of view.

Entitled Der Raum Spacethe work was clearly influenced by Kantian philosophy. Submitted init was published the following year in a supplemental issue of Carna.

Testability and Meaning | essay by Carnap |

Carnap’s involvement with the Vienna Circle developed over the next few years. He met Hans Reichenbach at a conference on philosophy held at Erlangen in Reichenbach introduced him to Moritz Schlick, then professor of the theory of inductive science at Vienna. Carnap visited Schlick—and the Vienna Circle—in and the following year moved to Vienna to become assistant professor at the University of Vienna.

InCarnap published The Logical Structure of the Worldin which he developed a formal version of empiricism arguing that all scientific terms are definable by means of a phenomenalistic language.

The great merit of the book was the rigor with which Carnap developed his theory. In the same year he published Pseudoproblems in Philosophy asserting the meaninglessness of many philosophical problems. He was closely involved in the First Conference on Epistemology, held in Prague in and organized by the Vienna Circle and the Berlin Circle the latter founded by Reichenbach in The following year, he and Reichenbach founded the journal Erkenntnis.


At the same time, Carnap met Alfred Tarski, who was developing his semantical theory of truth. Carnap was also interested in mathematical logic and wrote a manual of logic, entitled Abriss der Logistik InCarnap moved to Prague to become professor of natural philosophy at the German University.

It was there that he made his important contribution to logic with The Logical Syntax of Language His stay in Prague, however, was cut short by the Nazi rise to power. He became an American citizen in From toCarnap was a professor at the University of Chicago with the year spent as a visiting professor at Harvard University.

In the s, stimulated by Tarskian model theory, Carnap became interested in semantics. He wrote several books on semantics: A Carnapp in Semantics and Modal Logic In Meaning and NecessityCarnap used semantics to explain modalities. Subsequently he began to work on the structure of scientific theories. His main concerns were i to testabilkty an account of the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements and ii to give a suitable formulation of the verifiability principle; that is, to find a criterion tfstability significance appropriate to scientific language.

The latter sets out Carnap’s definitive view on the analytic-synthetic distinction. Carnap was also interested in formal logic Introduction to Symbolic Logicand in inductive logic Logical Foundations of Probability; The Continuum of Inductive Methods The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnaped.

Philosophical Foundations of Physicsmeaniny. Carnap was working on the theory of inductive logic when he died on September 14,at Santa Monica, California.

Testability and Meaning

In Carnap’s opinion, a scientific theory is an interpreted axiomatic formal system. The sets of meaning postulates and rules of correspondence may be included in the set of non-logical axioms. Indeed, meaning postulates and rules of correspondence are not usually explicitly distinguished from non-logical axioms; only one set of axioms is formulated. One of the main purposes of the philosophy of science is to show the difference between the various kinds of statements.

Among the symbols of the language are logical and non-logical terms. The set of logical terms include logical symbols, e. Non-logical terms are divided into observational and theoretical.

They are symbols denoting physical entities, properties or relations such as ‘blue’, ‘cold’, ‘ warmer than’, ‘proton’, ‘electromagnetic field’.

Formulas are divided into: Observational language contains only logical and observational statements; theoretical language contains logical and theoretical statements and rules of correspondence.

The distinction between observational and theoretical terms is a central tenet of logical positivism and at the core of Carnap’s view on scientific theories.

In his book Philosophical Foundations of PhysicsCarnap bases the distinction between observational and theoretical terms on the distinction between two kinds of scientific meanibg, namely empirical laws and theoretical laws.

An empirical law deals with objects or properties that can be observed or measured by means of simple procedures. This kind of law can be directly confirmed by empirical observations. It can explain and forecast facts and be thought of as an inductive generalization of such factual observations. Typically, an empirical law which deals with measurable physical quantities, can be established by means of measuring such quantities ttestability suitable cases and then interpolating a simple curve between the measured values.

Rudolf Carnap, Testability and meaning – PhilPapers

A theoretical law, on the other hand, is concerned with objects or properties we cannot observe or measure but testabiilty infer from direct observations. A theoretical law cannot be justified by means of direct observation. It is not an inductive generalization but a hypothesis reaching beyond experience. While an empirical law can explain and forecast facts, a theoretical law can explain and forecast empirical laws. The method of justifying a theoretical law is indirect: The distinction between empirical and theoretical laws entails the distinction between observational and theoretical properties, and hence between observational and theoretical terms.


The distinction in many situations is clear, for example: Carnap admits, however, that the distinction is not always clear and the line of demarcation often arbitrary.

Testabiluty some ways the distinction between observational and theoretical terms is similar to that between macro-events, mezning are characterized by physical quantities that remain constant over a large portion of space and time, and micro-events, where physical quantities change rapidly in space or time.

To the logical empiricist, all statements can be divided into two classes: There can be no synthetic a priori statements. A substantial aspect of Carnap’s work was his attempt to give precise definition to the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements.

In The Logical Syntax of LanguageCarnap studied a formal language that could express meanihg mathematics and scientific theories, for example, classical physics. He was, therefore, aware of the substantial difference between the two concepts of proof and consequence: These circumstances explain how Carnap, in The Logical Syntax of Languagegave a meaaning syntactic formulation of the concept of logical consequence. However, he did define a new rule of inference, now called the omega -rule, but formerly called the Carnap rule:.

From the infinite series of premises A 1A 2Carnap defines the notion of logical consequence in the following way: In the definition of the testabiliyy of provablehowever, a statement A is provable by means of a set S of statements if and only if there is a proof of A based on the set S, but the omega -rule is not admissible in the proof of A.

Carnap then proceeded to define some kinds of statements: Carnap thus defines analytic statements meaninng logically determined statements: Thus, analytic statements are a priori while synthetic statements are a posteriori, because they are not logically determined.

Rudolf Carnap (1891—1970)

In any other case, the statement is synthetic. In Meaning and Necessity. Carnap first defines the notion of L-true a statement is L-true if carnp truth depends on semantic rules and then defines the notion of L-false a statements if L-false if its negation is L-true. A statement is L-determined if it is L-true or L-false; analytic statements are L-determined, while synthetic statements are not L-determined. This is very similar to the definitions Carnap gave in The Logical Syntax of Language but with the change from syntactic to semantic concepts.

InQuine published the article “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” in which he disputed the distinction made between analytic and synthetic statements. In response, Carnap partially changed his point of view on this problem. His first response to Quine came in ans postulates” where Carnap suggested that analytic statements are those which can be derived from a set of appropriate sentences that he called meaning postulates.

Such sentences define the meaning of non logical terms and thus the set of analytic statements is not equal to the set of logically true statements.

Later, in “Observation language testabilihy theoretical language”he expressed a general method for determining a set of meaning postulates for the language of a scientific theory.

Suppose the number of non-logical axioms is finite. Let T be the conjunction of all purely theoretical axioms, and C the conjunction of all correspondence postulates and TC the conjunction of T and C.


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