Carnap and Quine on Analyticity

Title: Carnap and Quine on Analyticity
Authors: Moosavi Karimi, Seyed Masoud
Date: 2012
Abstract: This dissertation examines the Carnap-Quine debate on analyticity with the objective of identifying exactly what is at stake. Close scrutiny of Quine’s criticism of the definitions of analyticity reveals that most of his objections are convincing only if they are considered in relation to the definitions of analyticity in natural language. Carnap, however, defines analyticity in artificial languages. The dissertation also shows that Carnap can meet the objections to his definitions by using a perspective based within his own philosophy. After examining the presumptions of each party to the debate, the dissertation concludes that the disagreement between Carnap and Quine on the notion of analyticity is rooted in their different approaches to empiricism and that there is nothing said by either philosopher which proves that one approach has ultimate advantages over the other. It is thus impossible to identify a winner in the Carnap-Quine debate on analyticity. The process of arriving at this conclusion starts with a discussion in the first three chapters of Carnap’s philosophy followed by a critical and detailed discussion of his syntactical and semantical definitions of analyticity and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Chapter Four examines Quine’s objections to Carnap’s definitions of essential predication and shows that his objections do not undermine Carnap’s definitions of this notion in artificial languages. It also shows how vital providing a proper definition of essential predication in natural language is for Carnap’s philosophy and examines whether or not he is able to do so. Chapter Five analyzes Quine’s objections to Carnap’s definitions of logical truth and demonstrates that Carnap is able to respond to all of them when the discussion is situated within his philosophical system. Again, Quine’s objections to definitions of logical truth are meaningful only if they are considered in relation to natural language, which is not Carnap’s concern. The dissertation concludes by showing that both Carnap and Quine arrived at their conclusions with respect to the nature of logical sentences, based not on the arguments in their debate on analyticity, but on their philosophical considerations regarding the principle of empiricism: for Carnap, logical sentences are out of the realm of knowledge and independent of matters of fact whereas, for Quine, these are as empirical as other sentences. Nothing either says in their debate can convince the other to accept a different viewpoint.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -