The Jowett Society (Friday - Week 9, TT21)

Philosophical Society

Carnap is known as a great anti-metaphysician. For good reason, as he made numerous derogatory remarks about metaphysics and metaphysicians. But what does Carnap reject when he rejects metaphysics? I argue that Carnap does not reject a specific set of questions or views. Rather, he rejects a particular methodology that he regards as being in conflict with empiricism. For example, in "Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology" (1956 (1950)), Carnap does not reject the thesis that numbers exist as meaningless. Instead, he defends the thesis that numbers exist against empiricist scruples. But if merely the methodology and not the subject matter is the problem, then metaphysics can perhaps be saved by fixing the methodology. Indeed, I contend, much of contemporary metaphysics is, from Carnap's perspective, in good standing.

Jowett Society Organising Committee: Sophie Nagler | Jowett Society Website