carnap elimination of metaphysics
It is, indeed, conceivable that we might encounter animals who tell us about a new sense. Metalogic will be discussed elsewhere. Whether or not these questions can be answered, it is at any rate unnecessary to worry about them; let us devote ourselves entirely to the practical tasks which confront active men every day of their lives! The fault of our language identified here lies, therefore, in the circumstance that, in contrast to a logically correct language, it admits of the same grammatical form for meaningful and meaningless word sequences. Erkenntnis:60-81 (1932) Abstract This article has no associated abstract. It is thus that a pseudo-concept arises. It appears that in the Latin and the German If the person who uses the word says that all the same there are things which are teavy and there are things which are not teavy, only it remains for the weak, finite intellect of man an eternal secret which things are teavy and which are not, we shall regard this as empty verbiage. 1929. emotive and motivative, on the other. To this question too there is a ready answer: "The alleged sobriety and superiority of science becomes ridiculous if it does not take the Nothing seriously." The (supposedly) transcendent sources of knowledge of theology are here replaced by natural, yet supposedly trans-empirical If grammatical syntax corresponded exactly to logical syntax, pseudo-statements could not arise. To section 1, "meaning." To section 1, "metaphysics." Consequently, the alleged "metaphysical" meaning, which the word is supposed to have here in contrast to the mentioned empirical meaning, does not exist. They are therefore (true or false) empirical statements and belong to the domain of empirical science. Let us briefly summarize the result of our analysis. INTRODUCTION There have been many opponents of metaphysics from the Greek skeptics to the empiricists of the 19th century. RUDOLF CARNAP. If these beings were to prove to us Fermat's theorem or were to invent a new physical instrument or were to establish a hitherto unknown law of nature, then our knowledge would be increased with their help. But it does not include endeavors towards a synthesis and generalization of the results of the various sciences. What, now, is the meaning of a word? 3. ." But the word does not thereby become meaningful; and it remains meaningless as long as no method of verification can be described. In either case pseudo-statements are the inevitable product. And this presumption is further strengthened as we go on to read there that anxiety reveals the Nothing, that the Nothing itself is present as such in anxiety. well. Secondly there are the negations of such statements ("contradictions"). If the word is to receive an exact meaning, nothing less than the criterion of application must be given; but one cannot, on the other hand, give more than the criterion of application, for the latter is a sufficient determination of meaning. (see IIIA). ", We meet an illustration of this error in Descartes' "cogito, ergo sum." (Meaningful) statements are divided into the following kinds. Many people, now, feel a desire to create over and above these manifestations a special expression of their attitude, through which it might become visible in a more succinct and penetrating way. In view of the gross logical errors which we find in sentences IIB, we might be led to conjecture that perhaps the word "nothing" has in Heidegger's treatise a meaning entirely different from the customary one. Nevertheless (2) is meaningless. sources of knowledge. The combination of "only" and "nothing else" shows unmistakably that the word "nothing" here has the usual meaning of a logical particle that serves for the formulation of a negative existential statement. An existential statement does not have the form "a exists" (as in "I am," i.e. This sentence, therefore, is senseless for a twofold reason. The sentences under I are grammatically as well as logically impeccable, hence meaningful. If from the statement "P(a)" ("a has the property P") an existential statement is to be deduced, then the latter can assert existence only with respect to the predicate P, not with respect to the subject a of the premise. of the directive presence of an "entelechy" in organic processes, which supposedly cannot be understood in terms of physics; the question concerning the "essence of causality," transcending the ascertainment of certain regularities of succession; the talk about the "thing in itself"). In the strict sense, however, a sequence of words is meaningless if it does not, within a specified language, constitute a statement. is "x is a stone"; in sentences of this form some designation from the category of things occupies the place of "x," e.g. METAPHYSICS AS EXPRESSION OF AN ATTITUDE TOWARD LIFE. To section 6, realism and idealism. "general") and predicates of numbers ("prime number"). The fundamental rule of thinking commonly appealed to, the law of prohibited contradiction, general 'logic,' destroys this question." other lyrical poet; for they know they are in the domain of art and not in the domain of theory. or: what else can be said about this rain? Yet everywhere that Carnap* turns these days, there’s a philosopher espousing a metaphysical position—someone claiming to be a “realist” about this, or an “anti-realist” about that. "meaning" is always understood in the sense of "cognitive meaning." Has not every word been introduced into the language for no other purpose than to express something or other, so that it had a definite meaning from the very beginning of its use? The negative application of the method is necessary and important in the present historical situation. Such sentences are really meaningful, though they are pointless or false; for it is only meaningful sentences that are even divisible into (theoretically) fruitful and sterile, true and false. But here it rarely leads to nonsense. The following quotations (original italics) are taken from M. Heidegger, Was Ist Metaphysik? Therefore no god and no devil can give us metaphysical knowledge. In a logically correct language such forms cannot even be constructed. The truth-conditions for "S(a)" are fixed. The harmonious feeling or attitude, which the metaphysician tries to express in a monistic system, is more clearly expressed in the music of Mozart. That treatise is completely in the right in citing approvingly a statement by Hegel ("pure Being and pure Nothing, therefore, are one and the same"). 1. If the meaning of a word cannot be specified, or if the sequence of words does not accord with the rules of syntax, then one has not even asked a question. An elementary sentence would here have to be of the form "x is a God"; yet, the metaphysician either rejects this form entirely without substituting another, or if he accepts it he neglects to indicate the syntactical category of the variable x. First, the syntax of the word must be fixed, i.e. It is the indicated task of logical analysis, inquiry into logical foundations, that is meant by "scientific philosophy" in contrast to metaphysics. But the first sentence of the quotation at the beginning of this section proves that this interpretation is not possible. With reference to the so-called limitation of human knowledge an attempt is sometimes made to save metaphysics by raising the following objection: metaphysical statements are not, indeed, verifiable by man nor by any other finite being; nevertheless they might be construed as conjectures about the answers which a being with higher or even perfect powers of knowledge would make to our questions, and as such conjectures they would, after all, be meaningful. In reality, however, he has not asserted anything, but only expressed something, like an artist. The statements of a fairy tale do not conflict with logic, but only with experience; they are perfectly meaningful, although false. Having found that many metaphysical statements are meaningless, we confront the question whether there is not perhaps a core of meaningful statements in metaphysics which would remain after elimination of all the meaningless ones. languages the forms "ens" or "das Seiende" were, perhaps under the seductive influence of the Greek example, introduced specifically for use by metaphysicians; in this way the language deteriorated logically whereas the addition was believed to represent an improvement.