Download PDF by Gustav Bergmann: The metaphysics of logical positivism

By Gustav Bergmann

Comprises bibliographical references and index.

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Most of them are formalists. Scientism and formalism, we shall see, tend to go together. Second. Philosophers maintain in all seriousness such propositions as that time is not real or that there are no physical objects. But they also assure us that we do not in the ordinary sense err when, using lan­ guage as we ordinarily do, we say, for instance, that some event preceded some other in time or that we are perceiving physical objects such as stones and trees. Outside their studies, philosophers themselves say such things.

The word principle is unfortunate; for description knows no favorites. The feature in question is indeed a prin­ ciple only in that quite a few other explications are found to depend on it. What it asserts is that all undefined descrip­ tive signs of the ideal language refer to entities with which we are directly or, as one also says, phenomenally acquainted. Notice the difference from sensationism. Relational and higher-order undefined predicates are not excluded. The in­ dispensability of at least one of these two categories is be­ yond reasonable doubt.

One of the reasons why it is philosophically absurd to consider truth as a syntactical property is that one can assert a sentence to be true if and only if one knows (a) what it says or means and (b ) whether what it says is the case (which, of course, is a matter of fact, not of words, syntax, or what have you). Philosophers refer to this piece of common sense as the correspondence view of truth. Real­ ists, grounding this view in their peculiar conception of objective fact, sometimes claim that Logical Positivists can­ not consistently adopt it.

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The metaphysics of logical positivism by Gustav Bergmann


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