Ramsey sentences

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In philosophy, 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 and force 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 and synthetic 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...
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