[hist-analytic] Carnap and Grice on 'beyond science'
Roger Bishop Jones
rbj at rbjones.com
Wed Mar 3 11:23:46 EST 2010
On Tuesday 02 Mar 2010 22:55, Jlsperanza at aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 3/2/2010 rbj at rbjones.com writes:
> "I have the impression that [Carnap] regards synthetic
> propositions as always belonging to science, He does
> not follow Aristotle in allowing "demonstrative
> science" (perhaps he thought this referred only to
> metaphysics). There is a fairly naive use of language
> with very clean lines, he feels no obligation (as
> scientists usually do not) to pay homage to ordinary
> usage, it would probably not occur to him as an
> objection to his use of the term "scientific" that it
> is not the same as "normal usage",
> Thanks. I was referring (I FOUND IT!) to footnote 1 on
> this essay indexed below. The phrase is "convenience
> for science". The writer says that this is so for
> QUINE. But he is unclear that 'science' has to be
> understood as 'implicated' as it were, by Carnap. The
> writer's argument: It is NOT clear, or Carnap does not
> make it explicit, that 'convenience' has to be ALWAYS
> 'convenience for SCIENCE'. What the author is trying to
> show is that the pluralism of Carnap, while not
> ontological, and not dogmatic, etc., is about the
> internal ontologies brought by the choice of this or
> that language. And that thus one can, say, introduce a
> language(*), say, as per below:
This doesn't sound to me like quite the same issue.
It sounds like a discussion of the kinds of pragmatic
criteria which are involved in acceptance of a "language
framework" (just guessing).
If so, and it he is correct, then that is good for the
possibility of Carnap being happy with formal discourse
However, even in that case, and supposing that he allowed P-
rules in that context (P-rules in science capture synthetic
truths), or rather let us say E-rules (for Ethical), then
Its moot whether he would count them as synthetic.
I think he would still want to deny "cognitive context"
subject to possible change of words, and actually synthetic
might be a better word to use (synthetic content).
So the possibility here which I am contemplating (modulo
changes in concept names) is that Carnap would admit moral
reasoning in two possible ways. First, if one can give
meaning to moral terms, then one can reason to analytically
true moral claims by capturing those meanings in A-rules and
then deducing results from them.
This is all within his very strict conception of philosophy
as logic, and the only issue is whether these languages are
pragmatically acceptable (on which I would expect Carnap to
allow us to make up our own minds).
The second method would allow A-rules capturing the meanings
of moral terms, and also E-rules capturing moral principles
over and above those which are analytic. In this case the
results are not philosophical or scientific in Carnap's
conception, and lack cognitive content. But the meta-
theoretic claim that such and such a principle is provable
in that context will be analytic and might possibly count as
I am puzzled by the reluctance to call Carnap an ontological
pluralist. If this is because it is thought that this would
make him a metaphysician, then I think this is mistaken.
A metaphysician should hold that ontological truths
objective (rather than conventional) and therefore cannot be
a pluralist. Either some entity exists or it doesn't
there's surely no two ways about it for a metaphysician?
I note here, though it really belongs somewhere else where
Grice is in the picture, that "conventional" as here
contrasted with "objective" is a very weak term and does not
carry much of the usual ordinary connotation of
One thinks of the many case where there are different ways of
describing the same thing, and notes that this shows that
some features of the description cannot therefore be known
to be features of the object described. One seeks to
distinguish between what is an "objective" feature or
reality from what is just a feature of the language with
which we talk about reality.
(I think this is the distinction which Strawson draws when
he talks of descriptive and revisionary metaphysics,
possibly; the one just exhumes the language, the other
purports to reveal the reality)
To talk about something as being "conventional" in this
sense says nothing about how the language got its structure
and meaning. It just says that the thing under
consideration comes from the language rather than some
aspect of reality.
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