Chapter

Carnap and the Caterpillar

Kitcher Philip

in Preludes to Pragmatism

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199899555
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980154 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199899555.003.0009
Carnap and the Caterpillar

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This chapter shows how Carnap's conception of the proper goals and methods of philosophy can be used to support a pragmatist critique of some current tendencies in the philosophy of science. Carnap takes an important project of scientific philosophy to be the construction of systems of exact concepts that can better serve the purposes toward which older, vaguer, more confused forms of language have been directed. The author believes that Carnap's advice is worth taking seriously both in contemporary general philosophy of science and in current philosophy of biology. He uses Carnap's ideas about explication as a perspective from which to examine some discussions in which philosophers of biology have recently engaged.

Keywords: proper goals; philosophical methods; pragmatism; philosophy of science; philosophy of biology; explication

Chapter.  8782 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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