Positive Philosophy and The Automation of Reason
Introduction
A presentation of the theoretical/analytic side of Positive Philosophy closely coupled with a contemporary conception of the research and development programmes of Leibniz and Carnap on the formalisation and automation of reason and its applications in science and engineering.
The idea is to further the projects of Leibniz and Carnap, as a synthesis of philosophical, logical and information engineering ideas.
I am at present working towards a book intended for publication as a print on demand paperback provisionally entitled "Positive Philosophy and The Automation of Reason".

This section provide access to drafts of the book in various forms and to other related materials.
This page links together the materials at rbjones.com relevant to the book of the same name.
Introductory Sketch
The idea is to further the projects of Leibniz and Carnap, as a synthesis of philosophical, logical and information engineering ideas.
Positive Philosophy

A principle aim of the work is to give an account of the theoretical side of positive philosophy, often referred to at RBJones.com as Metaphysical Positivism. This a positivistic analytic philosophy of which the closest predecessor is the Logical Positivism of Rudolf Carnap.

Carnap's philosophy was a philosophical contribution to a programme for the formalisation of science, and as such was related to the (otherwise rather dissimilar) philosophy of Leibniz insofar as it sought through the universal characteristic and calculus ratiocinator to reduce the whole of knowledge (but particularly of scientific and philosophical knowledge) to a calculus.

The book seeks to present Positive Philosophy through a contemporary interpretation of the projects or programmes of Leibniz and Carnap.

Graduated Scepticism
Metaphysical Positivism is a graduated scepticism. The word "scepticism" here should be read as "open minded" rather than "dogmatic", this entails regarding nothing as absolutely though not taking academic doubts to be significant. The word "graduated" tells us that rather than regardind everything as equally dubitable, we seek an understanding of the relative strength of conjectures. A key idea here is of "epistemic retreat", which involves a retreat from bald assertion to metatheoretic claims. Thus, the positivistic idea that scientific results should merely abbreviate rather than go beyond the experimental data, is supplanted by the abstention from asserting the truth of scientific theories in favour of making detailed claims about the evidential support for the theories, or about the accuracy and utility of the models they supply in various circumstances.

Analytic/Synthetic distinction

In this graduated scepticism the analytic/synthetic distinction becomes of considerable importance, because of its epistemic consequences, i.e. because of its connection with the notions of the a priori and the a posteriori (which are defined in metaphysical postivism in such a way as to reverse the relevant innovations in Kripke's philosophy). This distinction becomes key to the character of the programme of research and development which Positive Philosophy promotes as a successor to the ambitions of Leibniz and Carnap relating to formalisation and mechanisation of science (and whose scope I seek to extend and characterise).

The Automation of Reason

I regard the automation of reason as an essential element in the future progress of all fields of knowledge in which deduction plays any role, which of course includes analytic philosophy, and hence Metaphysical Positivism. At the same time, success in this enterprise depends upon an appropriate philosophical context which Metaphysical Positivism (and more generally Positive Philosophy) is intended to provide. It is therefore intended to weave together an account of the most relevant parts of the theoretical side of Positive Philosophy with a story about the automation of reason as not one but many related research programmes in information technology and in those disciplines in which deduction has a role (not only deductive sciences such as logic, mathematics, and parts of analytic phliosophy, but also nomologico-deductive science and aspects of engineering and technolgy).

The book
I am at present working towards a book intended for publication as a print on demand paperback provisionally entitled "Positive Philosophy and The Automation of Reason".

This section provide access to drafts of the book in various forms and to other related materials.
Presentations of The Book

Drafts of the book are available online as HTML and A4 two column PDF. The finished book will be published (print on demand) as a 8" x 5.25" single column paperback. A link for buying the book from Amazon will be included if and when it appears. Of course, the material is copyright. You may read the HTML drafts online, or download the PDF to read, but you may not redistribute in any way.

Discussions
If you want to discuss any aspect of this work in progress, then you may contact me directly by email (rbj at rbjones.com). Alternatively, if you want to post to a public forum (e.g. a mailing list or a group) on any matter connected with this work, then if you copy me I may respond either privately or in the forum.
Related Writings
This page links together the materials at rbjones.com relevant to the book of the same name.
Introduction
The Project
The distinction between matters of logic and matters of fact provides a starting point for analytic philosophy and sound reason.
Analyticity and Analysis
Computation and Deduction
An analysis of radical scepticism and its relation to positivist ideas in preparation for consideration of epistemic retreat and degrees of trust.
Certain ways of obtaining more certain knowledge may be seen as retreating from arguably speculative hypothese to more solid observations or claims which bear upon the same subject matter. The term "epistemic retreat" is used here to encompass a variety of such manoeuvers.
Language Planning
Foundationalisms
The Architecture of Knowledge
Metaphysical Positivism is systematic constructive positivist philosophy. We present here sketches of Metaphysical Positivism together with some related historical material which might possibly help the reader come to an understanding of this system and its place in the history of ideas.
The Page for The Book
A presentation of the theoretical/analytic side of Positive Philosophy closely coupled with a contemporary conception of the research and development programmes of Leibniz and Carnap on the formalisation and automation of reason and its applications in science and engineering.

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