, Ramsey sentences
refer to an attempt by logical positivist
philosopher Rudolf Carnap
to reconstruct theoretical propositions
such that they gained empirical content.
For Carnap, questions such as: “Are electrons
real?” and: “Can you prove electrons are real?” were not legitimate questions implying great philosophical/metaphysical
import. They were meaningless "pseudo-questions without cognitive content,” asked from outside a language framework ofscience. Inside this framework, entities such as electrons or sound waves
, and relations such as mass
not only exist and have meaning, but are "useful" to the scientists who work with them. To accommodate such internal questions in a way that would justify their theoretical contentempirically – and to do so while maintaining a distinction between analytic
propositions – Carnap set out to develop a systematized way to consolidate theory and empirical observation in a meaningful language formula.
Carnap began by differentiating observable things from non-observable things. Immediately, a problem arises: neither the German
nor the English language
naturally distinguish predicate terms on the basis of an observational categorization. As Carnap admitted, "The line separating observable from non-observable is highly arbitrary." For example, the predicate "hot" can be perceived by touching a hand to a lighted coal. But "hot" might take place at... Read More