[hist-analytic] Reichenbach, Carnap, Positivism
Baynesr at comcast.net
Baynesr at comcast.net
Sat Nov 7 11:07:04 EST 2009
I'm going to reply to Roger's post piece meal.
"I thought we were talking about the philosophies of Carnap and
Reichenbach, and I don't believe that either of them subscribed to that
kind of metaphysics."
You can have a theory where it is believed by the theorizer that there is
no reality. One can have an atomic theory without believing atoms are real.
The idea goes back as far as the early astronomers who held that the
Copernican theory was only a calculational device. So I reject th eidea
that a theory must be a theory of "reality" even when it is scientific.
I don't think I ever suggested that a model is a claim. You do with
a model what you will in order to arrive at novel predictions that
will confirm the theory suggesing the model. A theory can be, and has
been, regarded as a set of laws.
You persist in denying that Carnap's views were, at least at one point,
very metaphysical. You need to look at the Aufbau. It is a phenomenalist
approach to constructionism. Later he took physical objects as fundamental
but during this period he did not. The work is one of ontology, not
semantics. That comes after Tarski. Reichenbach would deny being a
metaphysician, but so did Kant. What these guys say and what they do are
different, sometimes, especially when "metaphysics" is involved.
Nor did Carnap abandon his metaphysical approach in the Aubau. Oh, he
would say it wasn't metaphysics, but it clearly is; his use of relation;
his denial of any difference between objects and events etc. Moreover,
Carnap says of the Aufbau:
"I still agree with the philosophical orientation which stands behind this
book." This was in 1961!
The basic elements of his system are "elementary experiences," not
physical objects (whatever those are). He is, essentially, a Machian; who
of course was a neutral monist and held highly metaphysical views on
such things as the unreality of atoms etc. So forget Schillp; look at the
text. I'm not saying Carnap was exactly a Machian; indeed he was far
more metaphysical than Mach. One might quibble with the word, but
forget that approach. Look at the text; look at the Aufbau; it is a great
work in reconstructive metaphysics!
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