Inquiry into Inquiries: Essays in Social Theory

By Arthur F. Bentley; Sidney Ratner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
Carnap's "Truth" vs. Kaufmann's "True"

The renewed discussion1 by Felix Kaufmann and Rudolf Carnap of the technical status of "truth" in logical construction brings the issues closer home than we commonly have them. The two logicians are in agreement that logical implication is not involved in the immediate argument and that it can be set to one side. Kaufmann finds Carnap still making use of "notions of absolute certainty or perfect knowledge or unalterable factual truth" (total coherence) and still treating these as constitutive rather than as regulative principles. Carnap, replying, gives his assurance that he can get along without employing the absolute viewpoint in any of these forms (except that he seems to have said nothing about "alterability") but nevertheless still maintains the need and the factual presence of "truth" as a logical component, distinct both from "fact" and from "knowledge," in all logical inquiry and construction. In Kaufmann's view, however, there is here left only a shadowy wraith of truth, which should be as fully rejected as is the "absolute" truth of which it is remainder and reminder; and his proposal is to restrict "truth" -- now reduced in effect, one may feel, to the word "true" -- to the region of warranted assertibility as this may be developed on the basic of Dewey's construction of logic as inquiry. Kaufmann thus locates truth within the finding processes, against which Carnap holds that truth, while it may be found or known, is something for itself which has nothing to do with the processes of its finding or its knowing. Or, in still another phrasing, Carnap assigns to "semantic" truth in his system an essential

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1
Felix Kaufmann, "Rudolf Carnap's Analysis of 'Truth'"; Rudolf Carnap, "Reply to Felix Kaufmann": Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. IX ( Dec. 1948), pp. 294-299; 300-304.
This manuscript essay, written in January 1949, was not put in finished form, or intended for publication. The reader should consider the substance, not the wording, of this essay, which is published because of the editor's belief in its value for critical analysis of the issues discussed.

-325-

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