Carnap's ramseyfications defended

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This paper seeks to evaluate the potential of the Newman objection to function as an immanent critique of Carnap's use of the Ramsey method of regimenting scientific theories. Stress is laid on the distinctive way in which ramseyfications are used by Carnap to formulate the analytic/synthetic distinction for the theoretical language and on the difference between the ontological and the epistemic readings of the Newman objection. While the former reading of the Newman objection is rejected as trading on an assumption that Carnap did not share, the latter is accepted as critical. It is argued to turn on overlooking that the Ramsey sentence constitutes an idealization concerning which our normal expectations of what theories are like are bound to be frustrated. This idealisation need not reflect Carnap's considered view but can be regarded as adopted solely for the project of semantic explication. The distinctions drawn in the course of the argument also help to motivate Carnap's abstention from the discourse of realism and its denial. © 2010 Springer Science + Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • Analytic/synthetic distinction
  • Carnap sentences
  • Empirical adequacy
  • Ramsey sentences
  • Rudolf Carnap
  • Underdetermination


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