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Two Constants in Carnap’s View on Scientific Theories

Lutz, Sebastian (2020) Two Constants in Carnap’s View on Scientific Theories. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The received view on the development of the correspondence rules in Carnap’s philosophy of science is that at first, Carnap assumed the explicit definability of all theoretical terms in observational terms and later weakened this assumption. In the end, he conjectured that all observational terms can be explicitly defined in in theoretical terms, but not vice versa. I argue that from the very beginning, Carnap implicitly held this last view, albeit at times in contradiction to his professed position. To establish this point I argue that, first, Carnap’s ‘Über die Aufgabe der Physik’ is a contribution to the philosophy of science of logical empiricism, contrary to Thomas Mormann and in agreement with Herbert Feigl. Second, Michael Friedman misunderstands the ‘Aufgabe’ with his claim that it describes a method for arriving at explicit definitions for theoretical terms.

Another received view on Carnap’s philosophy of science is that it assumed a formalization of physical theories that was too detached from actual physics and thus justly disavowed in favor of the semantic view as, for example, developed by van Fraassen. But the ‘Aufgabe’ and related works including the Aufbau show that from the very beginning to his last works, Carnap suggested formalizing physical theories as restrictions in mathematical spaces, as in the state-space conception of scientific theories favored by van Fraassen.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Lutz, Sebastiansebastian.lutz@gmx.net0000-0003-4274-4174
Keywords: Rudolf Carnap; logical empiricism; logical positivism; received view; theory structure; correspondence rules; theoretical terms; Bas van Fraassen; constructive empiricism; state-space; phase space
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Sebastian Lutz
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2020 01:05
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2020 01:05
Item ID: 18325
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
General Issues > Structure of Theories
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 25 October 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18325

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