Rudolf Carnap

Rudolf Carnap (kär´näp, –năp), 1891–1970, German-American philosopher. He taught philosophy at the Univ. of Vienna (1926–31) and at the German Univ. in Prague (1931–35). After going to the United States he taught at the Univ. of Chicago (1936–52) and at the Univ. of California at Los Angeles (1954–62). Carnap was one of the most influential of contemporary philosophers; he is known as a founder of logical positivism and made important contributions to logic, semantics, and the philosophy of science. In Logische Syntax der Sprache (1934; tr. The Logical Syntax of Language, 1937) he defined philosophy as "the logic of the sciences" and considered it a general language whose only legitimate concern could be to describe and criticize the language of the particular sciences. All propositions were held to be either tautological (embodying logical or mathematical systems), scientific (embodying philosophy properly understood), or nonsensical (embodying the nonverifiable propositions of traditional philosophy). Through an analysis of scientific, logical, and mathematical language he revealed the inadequacies of everyday speech. Carnap later modified this extreme view, which rejects almost all of traditional philosophy. His other works include Introduction to Semantics (1942), Meaning and Necessity (1947, 2d ed. 1956), Logical Foundations of Probability (1950), and Einführung in die symbolische Logik (1954; tr. Introduction to Symbolic Logic and its Applications, 1958).

See studies by P. A. Schilpp, ed. (1963, repr. 1984) and R. Butrick (1970).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Rudolf Carnap: Selected full-text books and articles

The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap By Paul Arthur Schilpp Open Court, 1963
American Philosophers at Work: The Philosophic Scene in the United States By Sidney Hook Criterion Books, 1956
Librarian’s tip: "Meaning and Synonymy In Natural Languages" by Rudolf Carnap begins on p. 58
Meaning and Truth: Essential Readings in Modern Semantics By Jay L. Garfield; Murray Kiteley Paragon House, 1991
Librarian’s tip: Excerpt from "Meaning and Necessity" by Rudolf Carnap begins on p. 136
Contemporary Readings in Logical Theory By Irving M. Copi; James A. Gould Macmillan, 1967
Librarian’s tip: "Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology" an excerpt from "Meaning and Necessity" by Rudolf Carnap begins on p. 178
The New Wittgenstein By Alice Crary; Rupert Read Routledge, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Conceptions of Nonsense in Carnap and Wittgenstein"
Philosophy and the Modern World By Albert William Levi Indiana University Press, 1959
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IX "The Passion for Logic: Bertrand Russell and Rudolph Carnap"
Inquiry into Inquiries: Essays in Social Theory By Arthur F. Bentley; Sidney Ratner Beacon Press, 1954
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 18 "Carnap's "Truth" Vs. Kaufmann's "True""
Future Pasts: The Analytic Tradition in Twentieth-Century Philosophy By Juliet Floyd; Sanford Shieh Oxford University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Tolerance and Analyticity in Carnap's Philosophy of Mathematics" and Chap. 11 "The Defensible Province of Philosophy: Quine's 1934 Lectures on Carnap
Language and Ontology By Jack Kaminsky Southern Illinois University Press, 1969
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Carnap on Ontological Commitment: Thing and Property" and Chap. 6 "Carnap on Ontological Commitment: Intensions"
An Examination of Logical Positivism By Julius Rudolph Weinberg Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1936
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