Tuesday, 15 August 2017

An overview of Carnap's motivations for demarcation

It's appropriate that any criticisms of a position accurately reflect the position that has been advanced, rather than a pale imitation of the real thing.

Following this rather pablum observation that criticism must aim true, in this post, I set out what I think is a brief but fair reconstruction from some of my notes of a number of Carnap's motivations for his demarcationist programme. I then provide a short assessment of the Carnapian programme, cutting off at the legs two objections unfairly raised against it: (1) Carnap's criteria are self-refuting, for they are neither empirically meaningful nor analytic; (2) the criteria are parasitic on the analytic/synthetic distinction, and this distinction cannot be maintained.

In a later post, I'll show how the unstated differences between Carnap and Popper in the relatively neglected Carnap/Popper dispute is a core and open question in the demarcationist project, namely both Carnap and Popper present to different attempts at answering the question of what function demarcation criteria should serve.

Since I'm not a Carnap scholar, though, I'd like to preface my notes by making it clear that any corrections in my exegesis on Carnap are appreciated.

1. The decline and fall of logical empiricism

There is a story told within philosophical circles that follows a certain structure:

First: the logical empiricists concerned themselves with a problem, which we can call the demarcation problem. This problem was to set out the differences between empirically meaningful from empirically meaningless sentences. 

Second: intractable problems with these early formulations of criteria lead to more mature solutions to the problem of demarcation. These later solutions to this problem were best articulated in the writings of two Austrian philosophers, Rudolf Carnap and Sir Karl Popper (as well as the English philosopher A.J. Ayer). Carnap and Popper each proposed different solutions to the problem of demarcation--certain necessary and sufficient conditions--and engaged in a minor philosophical dispute over their respective criteria. 

Third: this dispute, as well as the entire demarcationist project, was mooted due to a number of arguments from philosophers like W.V.O. Quine and Carl Hempel (1950), which showed, in part, that this distinction was parasitic on the analytic/synthetic distinction, and the analytic/synthetic distinction could not be maintained. Other criticisms focused on other apparent problems, such as the purported self-refuting nature of the demarcation criteria: the proposed demarcation criteria were themselves not analytic nor empirically meaningful, and therefore were categorised as empirically meaningless.

Following Church’s (1949) devastating criticism of Ayer’s (1946) criterion of demarcation, this lead to, as Soames (2003, 291) concludes, ‘the end of attempts to formulate the empiricist criterion… A few attempts were made to reformulate Ayer’s criterion to save it from objections… However, none proved successful.’ 

Fifth: Hempel lamented in 1951, ‘It now seems that this type of approach offers little hope for the attainment of precise criteria’ (1951, 64). After these mounting problems had accumulated, this distinction between empirically meaningful and empirically meaningless sentences could no longer stand, and collapsed like a house of cards. Consequently, there could be no solution to the demarcation problem.

In sum, the demarcationist project progressed through the stages of (i) an immature research programme, (ii) a mature research programme, (iii) a regressive research programme faced with overwhelmingly strong criticisms, (iv) finally, a defunct research programme. Demarcationism died from a thousand cuts on all fronts, and was buried forever.

In what follows, I briefly explain how this story does not bear much resemblance to the facts, specifically examining the second point: the supposed minor dispute between Carnap and Popper. While there was a dispute over whether to prefer Carnap or Popper's proposed demarcation criteria, there is a far greater, and far more interesting dispute that has been overlooked, and reframes much of the criticism raised against Carnap and Popper: both have fundamentally different motivations for adopting demarcation criteria that remain unchallenged by criticisms of their respective demarcation criteria, and exist unstated in the background of their dispute. Furthermore, these motivations remain unchallenged in the face of criticism from Quine and other critics. In fact, by understanding their motivations, we see that a number of objections to Carnap and Popper's respective criteria are misdirected.

Their disagreements over their motivations for formulating the demarcation problem can be understood as a metaphilosophical problem that is implicit in their motivations for accepting either of their formulations: we have the choice to frame the demarcation problem and solutions to demarcation as Carnap did, and frame them in ways that consequently deflate traditional philosophical discourse to be merely talk about different forms of talking (and nothing more) . This roughly tracks the general empiricist attitude to traditional metaphysics. Or we can choose to frame the demarcation problem and solutions to demarcation as Popper did--more neutrally--to treat traditional philosophical discourse as not necessarily deflated if demarcation criteria were available. This roughly tracks the motivations seen in Kant's critical philosophy. Both these approaches to traditional philosophy survive intact.

2. Why focus on Carnap and Popper?

Unpacking the thesis that there is some important prima facie distinction to be found in our ways of speaking (e.g. analytic/synthetic, a priori/a posteriori, necessary/contingent, empirically significant/empirically non-significant), we can see that one could argue for this demarcation criterion in one of two ways, one which we can call ‘Carnapian’ and the other ‘Popperian’, and for purposes that are at odds with one another. 

Furthermore, it is also worth examining their respective metaphilosophical approaches because it helps clear the air over the internal disagreements between demarcationists, as well as where their demarcation criteria may, on occasion, be reconciled without any deleterious effects to their metaphilosophical aims.

Lastly, comparing Carnap and Popper’s views on the role of the demarcation criterion in a systematic way, as well as their respective proposals, helps clarify exegetical issues in reading Carnap and Popper if we are interested in giving a fair reading to philosophical positions, for it is oftentimes not clear what their respective motivations and criteria are when first reading their work: Carnap and Popper, although at times antagonistic towards one another’s metaphilosophical views of the purpose of demarcation criteria (cf. Popper 1962a, and Carnap 1936), intentionally downplay their influences on one another on more mundane matters and over-emphasise their philosophical differences (e.g. Popper 1962a).

3. Possible purposes of demarcation

In coming to understand this metaphilosophical dispute, it is better to begin with a question about the role, function or purpose of different kinds of sentences: what functional purpose, in the broadest strokes imaginable, would any demarcation criterion serve?

There is the intuitive idea that demarcation criteria serve the function of separating different ways of speaking: some sentences are analytic, others synthetic; some sentences are a priori, others a posteriori; and so on. Some speech-acts seek to be empirically informative and others fall short: they are empirically uninformative. These ways of carving up our language do not fully map on to one another, but our focus begins with the distinction between empirically informative and empirically uninformative speech-acts.

This way of approaching the demarcation problem of the logical empiricists is imperfectly analogous to H.P. Grice’s conversational maxim of quantity: one’s speech must be informative. A violation of a conversational norm may give no information, even though--and this is key here--the corresponding sentence may be synthetic.

For example, consider the synthetic sentence, 'For every person, upon their birth, there exist a immaterial, invisible guardian angel that follows them throughout their life, subtly guiding them towards desirable ends and away from undesirable ends'. The sentence appears to say a great deal (the existence of guardian angels), is synthetic and truth-apt (either immaterial, invisible guardian angels exist or do not exist)/ However, the sentence is compatible with any state of affairs (any unfortunate state of affairs is easily explained by merely due to the inattentiveness of a guardian angel, for example).

Understood in this way, the problem of demarcation is somewhat similar to setting out what speech-acts can in principle give information about the world intersubjectively accessible to members of an epistemic community, and conversely what we can in principle learn about the world.

We can think of the problem of demarcation in a more rigorous sense, as a question about whether it is possible to map the boundaries of what we can learn in principle through empirical inquiry. The sentence, 'All bachelors are unmarried men' is not empirically informative, for it is analytic, but (so claimed Popper), neither is the synthetic existential statement, 'There exists a pearl which is ten times larger than the next largest pearl' (Popper 1962b, S.2).

As James Justus frames this understanding of the problem of the criterion, ‘significance criteria simply attempt to indicate whether two domains are epistemically connected, for example, whether one statement class (e.g. observation statements) bears on the truth-values of another (e.g. hypotheses of theoretical science)’ (Justus 2014, 417).

With this framing of what function demarcation criteria generally serve, it now helps to examine Carnap overall motivations for adopting his demarcation criteria.

4. Carnap’s metaphilosophical approach

Some preliminaries: oftentimes it does not do a service to give philosophers labels, as if labeling them will provide insight to their views. However, is appropriate to produce a few helpful labels for Carnap’s approach as a loose conceptual scaffolding that rests upon itself, thereby reinforcing itself: we can say that Carnap adopted (in a sense, or something roughly like) a
pragmatist theory of truth, conventionalism, linguistic pluralism. These three pillars help support metaphysical deflationism. These rough and ready labels will be elaborated on below in a way that helps fill in this conceptual scaffolding.

5. Carnap's pragmatist theory of truth

Carnap notes the similarities between, in his eyes, the empiricist project and American pragmatism (1936, 26), and does not disagree when he says, ‘Morris considers the two movements as complementary in their views, and as convergent in the directions of their present development.’

With Carnap's interest in the similarities between the American pragmatist and logical empiricist movements in mind, Pierce’s pragmatic maxim is important to cover briefly, since it helps clarify Carnap’s metaphilosophical stance: ‘Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object’ (1878). This is appropriate, since Carnap was faced with the problems that plagued much of Enlightenment philosophy, specifically the realisation that confidence in a theory, be the theory empirical or philosophical, did not track truth (understood under a more traditional Aristotle-inspired correspondence theory of truth).

The origins of this theory of truth within logical empiricist circles is in question, however. Quine traced this theory of truth--‘the meaning of a statement is the method of empirically confirming or infirming it’--back to Peirce (1961, 37); other philosophers trace this back to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (cf. 4.114, 4.11, 4.111 by way of Waismann 1930-1931). This criterion of meaning is extended to encompass a criterion of truth, for determining the meaning of a sentence will determine the conditions of its truth.

Whichever origin, pragmatist or Wittgensteinian, this is undoubtedly one intellectual pillar Carnap built on in constructing his aversion to metaphysical speculation. Consequently, Carnap attempted to provide a different route for theory-preference that did not rely on what was, at the time, thought to be deficiencies in correspondence theories of truth. 

The problem Carnap saw with correspondence theories of truth can be more or less put as follows: any preference for an attitude, theory or approach would be far better approached by what practical implications the concepts contained within that theory brings to the table. Truth-as-correspondence, however, simply did not carry with it any conceptual or practical weight in providing rational grounds for theory-preference, for it lacked any criteria for truth. This placed the theory of correspondence in a dubious category, especially for empiricists already adverse to speculation on hidden features of the world accessible through inner speculation. 

A pragmatist theory of truth, on the other hand, provided clear and distinct criteria for truth, and was applicable to itself: the pragmatist theory of truth was itself pragmatically useful in the construction of our concepts.

On this point, already it is clear that one traditional objection to Carnap may be made on spurious grounds: for example, if the analytic/synthetic distinction could not be maintained on metaphysical, extra-linguistic grounds, (as Quine claimed), then so much for metaphysical grounds (Carnap could reply): these linguistic categories need only be grounded in their pragmatic usefulness. There need not be anything over and above the demonstrated usefulness of a distinction in order to rationally adopt said distinction. If Quine is concerned over the fact that natural languages invite ambiguity, a Carnapian can easily respond that the existence of ambiguity does not demonstrate how these linguistic categories are no longer useful--they may simply be better than the alternative (that is, giving up on these linguistic categories).

In fact, if there exists ambiguity in natural languages, what of it? Our sights are not set merely on what we have, but what we can choose to do, that is, construct languages with a semantics and syntax that are less ambiguous than natural languages. This further addresses the important distinction that Carnap draws between the use of natural languages and artificially-constructed languages, which will be addressed in the next section on Carnap's conventionalism. 

6. Carnap’s conventionalism

Carnap’s conventionalism can be viewed as an approach to philosophical methodology that rested on (in part) Carnap’s rejection of a correspondence theory of truth. Without any correspondence between our concepts and features of the world independent of these concepts (or without any way to independently confirm whether there is a correspondence), there are no extra-linguistic criteria dictating the formulation of concepts. However, that does not entail that no criteria exist--we can choose whichever criteria best serve some ends, such as aiming at conceptual clarity.

When attempting to pin down a concept, we first figure out what we want the concept is to be used for, and then develop a concept that serves this function. Carnap refers to this as ‘explication’ (Carnap 1951, S.2-5). Carnap (1962, S.2) describes this process as follows: ‘The task of explication consists in transforming a given more or less inexact concept into an exact one or, rather, in replacing the first by the second. We call the given concept (or the term used for it) the explicandum, and the exact concept proposed to take the place of the first (or the term proposed for it) the explicatum. The explicandum may belong to everyday language or to a previous stage in the development of scientific language.’ 

There are no prior restrictions forbidding some course of action. In fact, Carnap (1934, S.17) states in ‘Principle of Tolerance’ that the logic of a language is entirely conventional, as well as our choice of logic (1928, S.107). Thus any approach to the categorisation of our language will not be justified by reference to ordinary language usage or intuitive judgments, but rather the construction of an artificial language system that helps clarify (or set boundaries on) the application of our own concepts (Carnap 1963, 938). The role of the philosopher is therefore (primarily) the exploration of explications, aimed towards refinement and conceptual rigour. 

Any formation of a concept will refer to ordinary language use and language intuitions and conventions, as well as pragmatic concerns. What is not made, however, is a justificatory bridge between ordinary language use and the formation of a concept such that ordinary language use provides a justification for adopting an explication. Assuming such a justificatory bridge would be a mistake similar to attempts to justify ethical norms in terms of cultural or social norms.

Accordingly, an inference to the best explanation does not play any role in Carnap’s choice to adopt or reject certain explicatums; rather, they are free choices based on whether they presently satisfy the task of explication: the applicability and fecundity of an explicatum proves its worth up until it no longer does, that is, until a rival explicatum is available that proves it worth even better or it were to be discovered that the explicatum fails at its task, and a new explicatum must be developed. 

This approach to philosophical methodology must be contrasted with methodologies of philosophy based on intuition, ordinary language, experimental philosophy or naturalised philosophy. Carnap's artificial language philosophy relies on the choice between language systems to solve philosophical problems (or puzzles or quiddles). The choice of language determines which sentences are to be treated as analytic and synthetic in that language, while the choice of logic determines the strength of logical implication. 

Carnap's motivation for artificial languages is explicitly a mimicry of approaches in the natural sciences. Indeed, ‘[p]hilosophers, scientists, and mathematicians make explications very frequently’ (Carnap 1962, S.3). Examples in the sciences are legion (e.g. Chang 2004). As Chang notes (mirroring Carnap) in his gloss of operationalism, ‘The first thing we need to do is lose the habit of thinking of in terms of simple correctness. … we need to keep in mind that those values are products of the operationalization in question, not independent standards against which we can judge the correctness of the operationalization itself’ (206-208). Similarly, Stotz (2009, S.3) states, ‘Empirical science is a powerhouse of conceptual innovation because scientists use and reuse their terminology in a truly “exuberant” way. … This only makes sense if we think of concepts as tools of research, as ways of classifying the experience shaped by experimentalists to meet their specific needs. Necessarily these tools get reshaped as the scientists’ needs change.’ 

This produces a division of labour between the philosopher and scientist: the role of philosophy is to solve a conceptual problem once empirical inquiry has been excluded as a fruitful endeavour. The philosopher is not irrelevant per se, for they serve an important role in the empirical sciences; their purpose is not in competition with empirical science, either (Carnap 1934, forward); it is not even an extension of the general empirical or critical methods of the natural sciences. Rather, the philosopher’s job consists of a clarification and extension of the conceptual methods of the natural sciences, prescribing a new language that is to be used by extending the general methods of explication conducted by natural scientists into new domains.

This Carnapian shift away from thinking ‘in terms of simple correctness’ and towards of ‘concepts as tools of research, as ways of classifying the experience’ underpins Carnap’s own shift towards treating the role of the philosopher as engaged in an analysis of formal language rather than engaged in the attempt to solve philosophical problems (which will be addressed in the next section).

As with the previous section, we can see that objecting the Carnap's conventionalist approach to demarcation on the grounds that any proposed demarcation criteria do not map on to the use of natural languages carries with it no threat to Carnap's criteria. Natural languages are likely to be inchoate and incoherent, hence the very desire that Carnap saw in aiming towards the construction of artificial languages in the natural sciences and his choice to emulate them in philosophy.

It would be just as much an objection to claim that failures to intuitively group together the shapes and sizes of certain blocks (say, depending on the person, sometimes by colour, then by shape, but at other times by shape, then by colour) undermine a wholly different, coherent scheme.

To put this reply more precisely: while criticisms from Putnam (1962) and others attempt to undermine this bipartition of language on the grounds that the vocabulary of science cannot be bipartitioned, Suppe (1971) notes Putnam’s criticism relies on an analysis of our ordinary language, while the introduction of a bipartition in a formalised language is possible (Suppe 1972). In other words, Putnam criticises the artificial construction of languages as failing to adhere to the norms set out in ordinary language philosophy. But such a criticism is predicated on the assumption that a formalised language is impossible.

While there may exist more exact criticisms of Carnap's overall approach, just by coming to understand Carnap's motivating reasons for adopting demarcation criteria, we can see that the more traditional narrative carries with it less argumentative force than before--to the point that the supposed culprit for the supposed death of logical empiricism could not be charged with the purported murder in a court of law: while there was motivation, the means and opportunity to kill Carnap's programme by way of dismantling the analytic/synthetic distinction were lacking.

7. Carnap’s linguistic pluralism

To understand Carnap’s reasons for adopting linguistic analysis as the role of the philosopher requires addressing Carnap’s concept of a linguistic framework. Briefly, a linguistic framework sets the rules governing the use of predicates in some artificial language, for example, the terms used when speaking about observables or numbers. These speech-acts usually brings with it implicit ontological methods and questions, ‘internal’ to this form of discourse, which guides the division between these domains of discourse (Carnap 1947). If one were to ask, 'Are there numbers?' the answer is trivial: if we are operating with a linguistic framework that uses numbers, the answer is trivial: yes. These just are the predicates and terms used in the linguistic framework. However, Carnap thought these ‘internal’ questions do not extend to questions about the ontological status of predicates, such as ‘Are there really numbers?’ Carnap, instead, considers these questions ‘external’ to the linguistic framework. The question, 'Are there really numbers?' is better understood as the question, 'Should we adopt the linguistic framework that uses numbers?' The legitimate ‘external’ questions about the linguistic content of this framework extend only to whether we should adopt a framework, as one would adopt a mode of speaking.

Carnap finds immense explanatory and instrumental use in this domain-carving: it explains why, for example, moral norms are not like laws of nature or the validity of an argument cannot be declared by fiat. The usefulness in setting out this distinction satisfies Pierce’s maxim. Consequently, Carnap sets out to provide a robust demarcation criterion between these apparent domains of discourse.

Carnap's aim in setting out a demarcation criterion is not value-neutral, however: he wants ‘to explicate the boundary… between the empirical realm, which comprises both science and pseudo-science, and the realm of meaningless pseudo-statements’ (1963, 878).

Understood within the context of Carnap’s early work, as Carnap put it, ‘...the [Vienna] Circle rejected both the thesis of the reality of the external world and the thesis of its irreality as pseudo-statements; the same was the case for both the thesis of the reality of universals… and the nominalistic thesis that they are not real’ (Carnap 1950, in 1956, 215).

These views are not unlike Carnap’s own, although there is a subtle but important difference: if we approached the problem of articulating the extent of this apparent distinction between these domains, it must be approached first without assuming that the predicates and terms in each domain have referents, and that the sentences in each domain are truth-apt. With one blow Carnap does away with much of traditional metaphysics. The question, 'Are there really numbers?' no longer has to do with questions about the ontological status of numbers, realism, nominalism, and so on.

Once we examine a linguistic framework that makes reference to objects that are subject to empirical inquiry, and are intersubjectively observable, it makes immense practical sense to continue using a pre-theoretical understanding of ‘true’ and ‘false’ when speaking within this particular linguistic framework, for there remains a suitable criterion of truth, but this application of the terms ‘true’ and ‘false’ is not obviously so when our interest shifts to other linguistic frameworks. The criterion of pragmatic truth is lacking.

(N.B. It should be noted that Carnap’s approach is not a criterion explicating the meaning of a linguistic structure, only whether it is empirically significant, because the meaning of a sentence is accepted to be determined by both its empirical consequences and rules governing its use (Carnap 1939, section 25). This is in line with Popper’s notion of a criterion demarcating between empirical and non-empirical sentences (Popper 1934/35, S.4, S.9; cf. Carnap 1963, S.6.A). Thus it only creates obfuscation to treat Carnap’s criterion as that of meaning, although Carnap repeatedly uses the term 'empirically meaningful' in his writings. A more neutral way of framing this is to remove any discussion of criteria of meaning from an analysis of Carnap’s motivations and criteria. However, since Carnap speaks frequently of issues relating to meaning and sense, whenever Carnap uses terms like ‘meaningless’ or ‘pseudo-statement’, there should be pause. Further explanation for what Carnap means by ‘meaningless’ will be covered in the next section.)

Teasing out the differences between Carnap's use of the phrase 'empirical meaning' from more everyday use of the term 'meaning' shows how the oft-repeated objection that demarcation criteria are self-refuting (seen in, for example, Popper 1935) targets a position never held by Carnap, and is in fact fundamentally at odds with Carnap's position.

With these three pillars of pragmatism, conventionalism and linguistic pluralism, Carnap's criteria of confirmability and disconfirmability are instead a proposal or convention for how to proceed in our choice of differing linguistic systems, rather than a statement embedded within the linguistic systems we choose. It would be as fruitful to object to, for example, the biologist's criteria for sorting between different types of cells by noting the criteria are themselves not cells. The only appropriate response to this kind of objection would be pursed lips and a furrowed brow, since it reveals that a person has misunderstood some fundamental concept.

8. Carnap’s metaphysical deflationism

In a rough way of viewing Carnap, Carnap could be seen as a pluralist about ontological commitment, yet remains deflationary about whether there exists any corresponding domains beyond their use; consequently, Carnap should be understood as more of a linguistic pluralist. If Carnap were to be an ontological pluralist, then Carnap’s views would collapse into a form of realism or anti-realism about the existence of entities outside a linguistic framework. Carnap, however, is simply disinterested in that discussion, as one would be disinterested in answering the question of whether there did or did not exist intangible, invisible guardian angels. Without any way to determine whether or not they exist, questions such as 'Do intangible, invisible guardian angels exist?' are rephrased as questions such as 'Should we adopt a framework in which there are predicates and terms such as "guardian angels"?'

It is helpful to frame Carnap’s metaphysical speculation in light of the use-mention distinction. Carnap believed the legitimate use of terms like ‘number’ are 'internal', and its use are dictated by the rules of the linguistic framework. Questions over whether or not numbers exist would be to commit a use-mention fallacy, since external questions outside a linguistic framework mention the terms in question, rather than use them.

In Carnap’s eyes, we should treat much of traditional metaphysics as ‘meaningless’ as a matter of convention, as ‘meaningless’ when attempting to express them in whatever formalised language is adopted. This preserves much of applied ethics, mathematics and logic, but eliminates talk about these fields, specifically whether their content is truth-apt. The same is true, naturally, of talk about whether there is any inaccessible truth or falsity to some synthetic proposition external to that language. In sum, motivations for accepting Carnap’s demarcation problem rests on accepting the pragmatic usefulness of a theory of separate language domains.

It should be emphasised here that Carnap has not thrown much of traditional philosophy on the pyre: Carnap’s target is only the forms of philosophical discourse that inquire into whether there exist truth-makers for sentences and referents for these predicates and terms from a higher-order linguistic framework that applies to differing linguistic frameworks. Much of the realism/anti-realism debates in philosophy are simply asking the wrong sorts of questions.

Take, for example, Feigl’s sentence, ‘Everything is doubling in size every ten minutes’. We cannot learn through experience that the sentence is true or false. Therefore, according to Carnap, the sentence, like its negation, simply ought not to be of the concern of scientists or philosophers, since, while it may be synthetic, it is not empirically significant.

These sorts of sentences, as well as sentences about our predicates that surreptitiously ask whether a predicate corresponds to some fact of the world, are to be considered on par with much of traditional metaphysics, that is, simply not analysable in a way that permits robust and informative explication.

By way of a tortured metaphor, Carnap believes we are caught within the linguistic prison, and thus our focus should be on mapping the walls of this prison; we can, however, shift these walls to accommodate our needs by introducing a rigorous floor plan; any shift to the inner structure, though, should be done only on principled grounds. In this way, Pierce’s pragmatist criterion of truth holds on both the level of what criterion of demarcation should be accepted but also on the level of on what grounds a criterion of demarcation is to be accepted.

8. A summary

Carnap's pragmatist theory of truth, conventionalism and linguistic pluralism are separate pieces of a broader programme that, when resting upon each other, mutually supports and motivates Carnap's metaphysical deflationism. 

By setting out what these positions are in the best available light, two commonplace arguments against Carnap's demarcation criteria--(1) the criteria are self-refuting; (2) the criteria are parasitic on the analytic/synthetic distinction, and the distinction does not unambiguously apply to natural languages--reveal more about the misunderstandings of Carnap's critics than they reveal any viable objections to Carnap's programme. 

I must repeat myself here: I am not a scholar on Carnap, and could be completely off the mark; however, after reading Carnap's work more and more, and reading some modern defences of Carnap that are in line with my own assessment and interpretation of Carnap, it is difficult to see how Carnap's critics could have both voiced these criticisms seriously and read Carnap charitably.


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