Christopher French


UBC, Vancouver

Engineering Gone Astray: A Short History of Carnap's Unsuccessful Explication Projects

Rudolf Carnap’s brand of scientific philosophy consisted in the use of technical frameworks, like formal syntax and semantics, to reconstruct (or better, to explicate) vague or inexact concepts. The aim was usually to make philosophical questions meaningful, especially questions about meaning itself, analyticity and necessity. Carnap also applied this method to the reconstruction of scientific concepts in order to resolve controversies in the empirical and mathematical sciences -- controversies typically arising from confusions about the meaning of scientific concepts (e.g.