By A. W. Carus

Rudolf Carnap (1891-1970) is largely considered as the most vital philosophers of the 20th century. Born in Germany and later a US citizen, he was once a founding father of the philosophical flow often called Logical Empiricism. He was once strongly stimulated by means of a couple of diverse philosophical traditions (including the legacies of either Kant and Husserl), and in addition through the German formative years stream, the 1st global struggle (in which he used to be wounded and decorated), and radical socialism. This booklet locations his critical principles in a vast cultural, political and highbrow context, displaying how he synthesised many alternative currents of proposal to accomplish a philosophical standpoint that is still strikingly suitable within the twenty-first century. Its wealthy account of a philosopher's reaction to his instances will attract all who're drawn to the advance of philosophy within the 20th century.

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The outcome depends on the quality of this engineering. Occasionally a perfect synthesis can be found, but usually the solution in such cases is something of a compromise, which in practice fails to satisfy at least a few disputants on the fringes. These can then go on arguing, demanding that the compromise be reviewed, or they can walk out and start a new discipline. Such an engineering failure can always be attributed to the impossibility of the task, but it can never be known for certain whether better engineering might not after all have done the trick in the end.

We should not regard it as an argument over what is, but as an argument over how we want to set things up (1934a, p. 42; PT pp. 46–7). And once we have left the illusory safe harbour of ‘correctness’, ‘the open sea of free possibilities’ lies before us (1934a, p. vi; PT p. xv). To understand the full scope and revolutionary implications of this idea, we have to go beyond Carnap’s own explicit formulations, and perhaps even beyond anything he actually thought. Certainly he did not immediately recognise (and never made quite explicit) the mutual feedback introduced by the principle of tolerance – the ‘dialectic’, in a different sense from Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s21 – between the theoretical and the practical.

Philosophical papers and books that have generated significant discussion over the past two decades include Kitcher (1989), broadly on the side of unity; Dupr´e (1993) and Giere (1999), with rather different positions, broadly against unity. A sense of the range of issues involved can be gained from Galison and Stump (1996), most of whose contributors are against unity. 30 That it is not used in ordinary life? 31 That the distinction does not ‘exist’, in some ultimate sense? Carnap would heartily have agreed (Awodey and Carus 2004, p.

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