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Second PhilosophyA Naturalistic Method$
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Penelope Maddy

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273669

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273669.001.0001

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Carnap's rational reconstruction

Carnap's rational reconstruction

(p.65) I.5 Carnap's rational reconstruction
Second Philosophy

Penelope Maddy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Like Kant, Carnap holds that many traditional philosophical controversies are actually ill-posed pseudo-problems. In Carnap's eyes, for example, there's no fact about which the skeptic and the non-sceptic are disagreeing. The only real question in the vicinity concerns the best kind of linguistic framework to adopt — in particular, whether or not to adopt evidential rules strong enough to allow the existence of physical objects to be confirmed — and this is a matter of conventional, pragmatic choice, not of truth or falsity. When the Second Philosopher insists she has good evidence for the existence of ordinary objects, and even of unobservable atoms, Carnap's response echoes Kant's: for her purposes, operating inside the linguistic framework of science, she's quite right, but there is another inquiry, the Logic of Science, where other concerns (ending the pseudo-debate between the sceptic and his opponent or the scientific realist and his opponent) are addressed by other methods (rational reconstruction). Like Kant, Carnap sees two distinct levels of inquiry, the Second Philosopher only one.

Keywords:   Carnap, conventionalism, linguistic framework, Logic of Science, pseudo-problems, rational reconstruction, scientific realism, scepticism

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