[hist-analytic] Carnap and Grice on "meta-language"

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sun Mar 7 19:53:44 EST 2010


In a message dated 3/7/2010 5:36:47 P.M. Eastern  Standard Time, 
rbj at rbjones.com writes:
The whole area, using natural  languages as metalanguages for 
formal systems, is a case of pushing natural  languages into 
new territories  

It was my understanding that Carnap was pretty happy with English (or  
German) as the metalanguage. Seeing that he was a student of Esperanto, I  
wouldn't be surprised if he thought the latter too would do. As for Grice, while  
he seldom uses "English" -- he uses English all the time --, I would have 
less  of a doubt. His formal System Q -- which later Myro relabelled System 
G, has  even the syntax and semantics (we don't need the pragmatics -- we are 
assuming  that Logiclandian is implicature-free, to echo L. J. Kramer, 
elsewhere) (and  where does 'lexicon' or 'vocabulary' fit in? minor question) 
specified in  English. With the aid of Greek signs like phi and psu as 
variables for  propositions, etc. And references to 1 and 0 to indicate 
truth-value. So it's  regimented English, as you write, for which English was possibly 
never deviced.  But I wouldn't know. Think Boole on "nand" and we assume 
that he was no Martian!  ('nand', 'nor' -- and if I may add, the 'nor' of 
English, but the 'nif' of your  lovely "Boolean operators" pdf, at rbjones.com, 
and the 'neall' or 'nall' of Old  English (OED), so I wouldn't know.
 
So let's assume that we have FL (formal language) and MFL  
(meta-formal-language). Incidentally when you say 0=0 in PA I understand A to  stand for 
arithmetic, right? And the P for pure, perhaps, I assume. So we have  FL, 
formal language and a meta-language for FL which is also formal. So rather  than 
just "MLF" we may use "FMLF", right?
 
Finally, the incissive, I hope not, since it's silly: regressus ad  
infinitum. Do we need a FMLFMLF, or is the Bootrap to be of some use. Would a  
formal melanguage just do for our decision to deem this 'analytic' or not, or  
are we relying or trusting that our meta-language is self-entrenched, as it  
were?
 
Cheers,

JL Speranza




More information about the hist-analytic mailing list