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Reason's Nearest KinPhilosophies of Arithmetic from Kant to Carnap$
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Michael Potter

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252619

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199252619.001.0001

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(p.261) 11 Carnap
Reason's Nearest Kin

Michael Potter (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In Vienna during the 1920s there emerged a group of philosophers — the logical positivists — who wished to deny that any metaphysical questions were meaningful. Although they held much of the Tractatus in high regard, they took the parts of it which gestured towards the unsayable — especially the mystical sections near the end of the book — to embody a straightforward mistake on Wittgenstein's part. If they accepted the Tractarian conception of language, even in outline, their position thus amounted to a denial of the concept of the self. This chapter examines the extent to which the positivists' account of arithmetic, the locus classicus for which is Carnap's Logical Syntax of Language, survives their denial of metaphysics.

Keywords:   logical positivists, Logical Syntax of Language, Tractatus, language, arithmetic, metaphysics

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