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Carnap and Quine on the analyticsynthetic distinctions
Lieven Decock
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
HYPERLINK mailto:LB.Decock@ph.vu.nl LB.Decock@ph.vu.nl
Draft version:
part of a longer text, but my Berlin lecture only deals with the issues in this version
footnotes and references are not finished (especially references to secondary literature)
Introduction
The story has often been told. Carnap was one of the first philosophers to apply the new logic in philosophy. The construction of logical frameworks led to a distinction between logical statements and descriptive statements. This was called the analyticsynthetic distinction, and it can be regarded as the successor of both the Kantian analytic/synthetic and a prioria/posteriori distinctions. Quine questioned the viability of this distinction, and argued for its dismissal. He convincingly won the debate, and the analyticsynthetic distinction was anathema in philosophy for a long time after. Only in recent years, various philosophers have revisited the CarnapQuine debate, and a much more balanced picture has emerged. If one fully appreciates that Carnaps distinction is not absolute, but dependent on the conventional choice of a linguistic framework, one must conclude that Carnap and Quines position are in fact quite close, and it becomes hard to understand why Quines victory has been so crushing.
In this paper I will focus on one aspect of the debate, namely analyticity as truth by virtue of meaning, or rather truth by virtue of the rules of a chosen linguistic framework. This characterisation best conforms to the original Kantian use of the word analytic. I will argue that it is a perfectly respectable philosophical concept, which both Carnap and Quine could accept. Even if, as could be argued, the central issue at stake in the QuineCarnap controversy were the distinction between empirical truths and logical truths, which is rather the a priori/a posteriori distinction, yet the collateral damage for the traditional analytic/synthetic distinction has been immense. I will demonstrate that for Quine and Carnap, the concept of analyticity need not be problematic, but that they would certainly disagree over the range of term analytic. An analytic/synthetic distinction depends on the conventional choice of a logical or linguistic framework, and therefore it is worthwhile to study the various linguistic frameworks Carnap and Quine have introduced, and to scrutinise the arguments both authors have used in favour of these frameworks. These pragmatic arguments for choosing particular linguistic frameworks have immediate repercussions for the analyticity of the nonfactual statements in these frameworks. It will transpire that the class of statements Quine would accept as analytic is much more restricted than what Carnap would allow. Nevertheless, Quines most convincing argument against Carnap is that Carnaps notion of analyticity may be too narrow. I will conclude, pace Quine and Carnap, that a broad notion of analyticity may be philosophically useful.
In the next section I start by clarifying the analyticsynthetic distinction to be employed in the historical analysis, and to eliminate some bothersome confusions. In the third section, I will discuss the statements of first order logic, and argue that throughout Quines work, first order logic sentences have always been regarded as analytic (in the sense explained in section 2). In the fourth section, I discuss mathematical statements. I point out that Carnap considers most mathematical statements as analytic, with the exception of some geometrical statements. Carnaps analyticsynthetic distinction splits up geometry into physical geometry and pure mathematical geometry, and only the latter can be considered as expressing analytic truths. For Quine, all mathematical statements are reducible to set theory, and therefore in the next section the analyticity of settheoretical statements is discussed. Quine does not regard set theoretical statements as analytic. This rather remarkable position can be explained on the basis of Quines own work in set theory. Quine draws a sharp distinction between first order logic and set theory, and does not believe that there is one single settheoretic axiom system that could be incorporated in the overall linguistic framework. In the sixth section, I discuss the analyticity of the laws of nature. Neither Carnap nor Quine does accept that these statements are analytic, though for different reasons. Carnap does not want to accept that laws discovered empirically might become analytic, while Quine points out that nearly every statement could become analytic. This difference has played an important role in the historical development of the controversy. In the seventh section, I will briefly describe the most heavily discussed notion of analyticity, namely analyticity as synonymy between extralogical predicates, and indicate that Quines rejection is based on his behaviourism in linguistics. Next, In the penultimate section, I discuss the analyticity of statements expressing logical probability. In his later work, Carnap made a distinction between logical probability and statistical probability, which is in fact a distinction between logical and empirical statements. Quine has never been interested in Carnaps later work on probability. It can be argued that the existence of an analyticsynthetic distinction was vital for Carnaps later work. In the last concluding section, I with point out some seldom noticed historical facts, I will defend the viability of the here portrayed analyticsynthetic distinction, and I will briefly hint at possible contemporary use of the distinction.
True by virtue of meaning
One of the major problems in the CarnapQuine debate on analyticity has been the sloppy and inconsistent use of various terms by the protagonists and even more so by commentators. There are a list of pairs of opposite concepts that have been used by Quine and Carnap, such as analytic/synthetic, logical/factual, logical/descriptive, a priori/a posteriori, internal/external, necessary/contingent, which in one way or another have all been equated to the general analytic/synthetic distinction. It would lead to far to analyse the differences and interplay between the various pairs. In order to avoid confusion over the terminology, I want to give a more precise characterisation of the analyticsynthetic distinction as it will be used in the remainder of this paper, and which conforms with at least one of the more precise characterisations given by Carnap.
After Carnap abandoned his project of a complete reconstruction of all knowledge on the basis of sensory experience, he studied logicolinguistic frameworks in books such as The Logical Syntax of Language, Introduction to Semantics, Formalisation of Logic, and Meaning and Necessity. In all these works, Carnap analysed statements that were true or false by virtue of the meaning of the terms in the statement only, and not on the basis of extralinguistic facts. These statements were called Ldeterminate, i.e. either Ltrue or Lfalse. In the remainder of this paper, the term analyticity will be used in the sense of Carnaps Ldeterminacy. However, this does not precisely pin down the meaning of the term. Carnap used the term both in purely syntactical systems (1937a) and in semantical systems (1942), so that Ldeterminacy can be characterised by means of syntactic or semantic rules. Moreover, the term can be used in general semantics as an overarching concept useful in all acceptable linguistic frameworks; or, in special semantics, and in that case acquire a precise meaning in a particular logical or linguistic framework S, whereby Ldeterminacy is relativised to the system S (Ldeterminate in S).
I will accept most of Carnaps uses of the notion of Ldeterminacy, but I want to impose one important restriction. In a discussion of semantical systems in Introduction to Semantics, there is an interesting passage (1942, 8488) on how to characterise the term more generally in general semantics. Carnap distinguishes a characterisation of Ldeterminacy in a metalanguage on the basis of concepts describing logical deduction from a characterisation of the basis of a distinction between descriptive and logical in the metalanguage. I will assume that Ldeterminacy is not based on the latter characterisation. Deciding whether an expression is Ldeterminate or analytic should only be based on the syntactical and semantic deduction rules of the system. In many cases, the two characterisation are equivalent, but when not, the use of the term analytic will be restricted to true by virtue of meaning, or more precisely, true by virtue of the rules of a linguistic framework.
Four further caveats are in place to set the scene for the further discussion. All four issues have caused considerable confusion in the actual CarnapQuine exchange, but a (lengthy) scholarly analysis of their precise role in the CarnapQuine exchange goes beyond the scope of this paper. I will just formulate them and briefly indicate that they are justifiable both from Carnap and Quines point of view.
Analyticity does not imply unrevisability.
Quines claim that all the statements in science are revisable in the light of new empirical data, including the laws of logic (see e.g. Quine 1953, 43), has long been considered as one of Quines most forceful arguments against Carnap. However, as several authors have recently stressed (e.g. Friedman, Burgess, Richardson, ...), Carnaps conventionalism already excludes the possibility of unrevisable statements. Carnaps principle of tolerance, most forcefully expressed in The Logical Syntax of Language: In logic, there are no morals. Everyone is at liberty to build up his own logic, i.e. his own form of logic, as he wishes. (1937a, 52), leaves room for the pragmatic choice of linguistic frameworks, on condition that the rules of the framework are clearly stated. Hence, it is always possible, at some stage in scientific research, to countenance a new framework, if there are compelling pragmatic reasons for doing so. Since the notion of Ldeterminacy can only be rigorously be defined in a particular linguistic framework, there are no analytic statements that are immune to revision; in a new framework some analytic statements might be false, or meaningless (not wellformed). Furthermore, even when Carnap discusses a more general notion of Ldeterminacy, e.g. in general semantics, there remains room for revision. This general concept does not imply precise definitions for particular notions Ldeterminate in S, but at most leads to an adequacy condition (1942, 84). In addition, there are pragmatic considerations that may restrict the scope of linguistic frameworks one wants to consider. One such possible restriction is most relevant in the CarnapQuine controversy, namely whether one wants to study intensional systems or only extensional systems. Thus, even the already vague general notion of Ldeterminacy is to a considerable extent open to revision on pragmatic grounds. This observation brings the positions of Quine and Carnap quite close. Neither Carnap nor Quine have room for a metaphysical distinction between analytic and synthetic statements. Rather, the controversy was based on pragmatic arguments concerning the expediency of choosing a fixed linguistic framework in scientific research.
Analyticity cannot be postulated arbitrarily
Already in Quines very early comments on Carnaps philosophy, one can trace an adversity against Carnaps principle of tolerance. For example, in Truth by convention (1936), Quines major complaint is not against laying down explicit conventional rules for (a part of) the language of science, but against the seemingly unrestricted freedom of choice of such frameworks. Quine has always stressed that the choice of such frameworks must be clearly embedded in behaviourist practices, and can only be a formal explicitation of such practices. Although there is certainly a difference in philosophical temper, Carnap being far more liberal than Quine, there is no principled difference of opinion here. Also for Carnap, the choice of linguistic frameworks must be argued for, and must be compatible with the normal scientific practice.
Analyticity is relative to a formal language
Analytic is here employed in the sense of true by virtue of the linguistic rules in a formal linguistic framework. Also another notion of analytic is conceivable, namely true by virtue of meaning in the natural or ordinary language. It is clear that Carnaps notion of analyticity is always relative to some formal framework, and defined by the syntactic or semantic rules of the framework. These languages can be meaningful relatively independent of the natural language, i.e. English. For Quine, this issue is more problematic. Quine regularly stresses that the formal frameworks must be interpreted, and often gives the impression that he believes that this is only possible by borrowing their meaning from the natural language in which they are embedded. Both in Two dogmas of empiricism and Carnap on logical truth, he demands that the notion of analyticity be clear in the natural language before application of the notion to artificial languages be feasible (1953, 36; 1976, 127). On the other hand, in the introduction to the chapter on regimentation, i.e. the transformation of a scientific theory expressed in natural language into a theory expressed in first order logic, in Word and Object, Quine writes:
Opportunistic departure from ordinary language in a narrow sense is part of ordinary linguistic behavior. Some departures, if the need that prompts them persists, may be adhered to, thus becoming ordinary language in the narrow sense; and herein lies one factor in the evolution of language. Others are reserved for use as needed. (Quine 1960, 157).
The passage illustrates Quines ambivalence versus artificial languages. However, for the present discussion, it suffices to point out that Quine avows that artificial languages can be (or become) meaningful (if needs be as a new subdomain of ordinary language).
Analytic need not be a priori
This is the most contentious of the preliminary remarks. While for Quine a distinction between the analytic and the a priori is rather unproblematic, it is hard to say whether Carnap would countenance this philosophical distinction. Carnaps concept Ltrue was used both for true by virtue of meaning and true independent of empirical facts, which Carnap believed were equivalent. This is plausible in view of Carnaps empirical theory of meaning, i.e. meaning as verification of testability. Carnap also rejected Kants synthetic a priori, so that all a priori statements are analytic and vice versa. Nevertheless, in one of the later sections the argumentation will hinge on a distinction between the analytic and the a priori. As indicated above, there is a passage where Carnap distinguishes several characterisations of Ldeterminacy, and therefore my use of the term analyticity is in accordance with at least one of Carnaps characterisations. Moreover, in a discussion on Kants synthetic a priori, he clearly distinguished the logical analyticsynthetic distinction from the epistemological a prioria posteriori distinction. (1966, 177) In the remainder, I will assume that there is at least a principled distinction between true by virtue of meaning and true independent of empirical facts.
Analyticity of first order logic
The first class of statements that can be Ldeterminate are the theorems and contradictions of first order logic. Unsurprisingly, in most of Carnaps linguistic frameworks, first order logic is taken for granted, and its theorems are Ldeterminate. Statements in first order logic are therefore analytic. Avowedly, in view of the principle of tolerance, Carnap does admit that one can have more restricted logical systems, such as intuitionism, in which the law of the excluded middle is not Ldeterminate, or Wittgensteins system not containing identity (1937a, 16). Another example of a restricted logical framework is Carnaps Language I in The Logical Syntax of Language. The interesting feature of Language I is that it does not contain unlimited quantifiers ((x) and (x), but only restricted quantifiers, i.e. quantifiers with an expression limiting the scope of the quantifiers to a finite number of objects (1937a, 21). This Language I was intended as a formal system characterising wellformed formulas for the extended Language II, the language of first order logic, and one can therefore doubt whether this is really a separate language. His tolerant attitude notwithstanding, Carnap has de facto always encompassed standard first order logic in his linguistic frameworks for pragmatic reasons.
Perhaps more surprisingly, Quines attitude is quite similar to Carnaps, only less tolerant for deviant logic. If one carefully reads Quines writings, one must conclude that Quine has always believed that the theorems of first order logic are analytic. In a remarkable passage in an interview with Lars Bergstrm and Dagfinn Fllesdal in 1993, Quine says: Yes so, on this score I think of the truths of logic as analytic in the traditional sense of the word, that is to say true by virtue of the meaning of the words. Or as I would prefer to put it: they are learned or can be learned in the process of learning to use the words themselves, and involve nothing more (Quine et al. 1994, 199; see also 1992, 55). This is not a slip of the tongue, but is in accordance with everything Quine has written about logic since the midthirties.
In his first critical paper on Carnap, Truth by convention (1936), Quine took issue with the conviction that logic and mathematics are purely analytic or conventional, while the physical sciences are destined to retain always a nonconventional kernel of doctrine (Quine 1976, 77). The central point in Quines argument is that mathematics cannot be conventional in the way propositional or predicate logic can be conventional. To this end, Quine gives a neat explanation of how the theorems of propositional logic can indeed be true by convention (1976, 9297). On the basis of Aukasiewicz s three postulates for the propositional calculus, Quine formulates three conventions for the truth of statement. One such convention, the modus ponens inference rule, is formulated as Let any expression be true which yields a truth when put for q in the result of putting a truth for p in If p then q (92). Quine concludes that all theorems which can be derived on the bases of these linguistic rules become true by convention (96). He continues that this procedure can be extended, e.g. by adding conventional rules for the use of quantifiers, so to obtain first order logic. In a next step, he argues that further additional rules can be formulated, e.g. Huntingtons postulates in geometry, but the drawback is that also conventions for empirical parts of science can be formulated analogously. In other words, adopting extralogical conventions blurs the initial analytic/synthetic distinction. However, throughout the whole article, the fact that logical statements can be conventional or analytic is entirely unproblematic. Moreover, the caveats formulated in the previous section, that analytic statements are not unrevisable, and should be grounded in common usage, and are not necessarily a priori are all clearly expressed.
Similarly, in Two dogmas of empiricism, Quine distinguishes two classes of possible analytic statements (1953, 2223). The first class of statements may be called logically true, e.g. No unmarried man is married. The second class of statements is based on synonymy between extralogical predicates, e.g. No bachelor is married. Quine concludes Our problem, however, is analyticity; and here the major problem lies not in the first class of analytic statements, the logical truths, but rather in the second class, which depends on the notion of synonymy. (1953, 54) Again, the notion of analyticity is unproblematic for statements of first order logic, but using the distinction for synonymy between extralogical predicates leads to unclarity.
In his contribution to the Schilpp volume on Carnap, Carnap and logical truth, Quine explicitly addressed the problem of Ltruth. Again, the notion of Ltruth, restricted to predicate logic is not problematic (1976, 128). Rather, what is striking is the extent to which first order logic is unassailable. For Quine, elementary logic not true by virtue of meaning in a technical language, i.e. the formation and deduction rules in an axiomatic system of first order logic, but it is already true by virtue of meaning in the natural language. Elementary logic is obvious (1976, 111113); it is so deeply entrenched in natural language that translations that do not comply with logical theorems and logical deduction rules are said to be wrong translations. Quine concludes that alternative logics, such as intuitionism, use the familiar particles such as and, and all in other than the familiar senses (1976, 109; 120). Even stronger, Quine excludes the possibility of prelogical peoples, which had been claimed to be discovered by some anthropologists such as LvyBruhl: We are left with the meaninglessness of the doctrine of there being prelogical peoples; prelogicality is a trait injected by bad translators. (1976, 109, see also 1960, 59) In conclusion, for Quine, by 1954 standard first order logic was analytic, and it was the only system of elementary logic that could be considered as analytic.
In conclusion, in Quines central papers on Carnaps notion of analyticity, theorems of first order logic are always analytic. As will be argued in the following section, Quines critique on Carnap is that one cannot extend analyticity beyond first order logic. Before turning to these arguments, it worthwhile to fix the precise boundary of first order logic. This boundary only gradually crystalled out, but eventually became one of the few very sharp distinctions in Quine s work. It is noteworthy that in Truth by convention , Quine used Aukasiewicz s axiomatic system for propositional logic in order to illustrate a viable notion of truth by convention. In the 1930s, Quine experimented with all kinds of axiomatic systems for logic. Quine countenanced several logical frameworks, with different (strange) logical primitive ideas, and with different boundaries. In his doctoral thesis, which was a generalisation of Principia Mathematica, the logical primitives were catenation, superplexion, predication and assertion (1990, 10). Superplexion was an operation from which negation and implication could be derived. Quantification was not a primitive idea, but at each type in the hierarchy there was a quantitative function U (1990, 61). In the reworked version A System of Logistic, the logical primitive ideas are ordination, congeneration and abstraction. Only since 1936 (e.g. Quine 1936; 1937a) did Quine opt for the logical primitives implication, negation, and quantification. In view of these competing frameworks, it is not surprising that in Truth by convention, Quine picked out the most minimal axiomatic system, namely the system for propositional logic, and left the question about the boundary open. Already in Carnap on logical truth, the problem was settled; logic comprising truthfunction theory, quantification theory and identity theory (1976, 110). Importantly, membership was no longer a logical term (1976, 111), as it had been in the 1930s. Later, Quine also dropped identity theory. In Philosophy of Logic, Quine dedicated a complete chapter to the issue of the scope of logic. Though Quine admitted that there are several good arguments to count identity theory as part of logic, yet he favoured the construal of identity statements as schematic abbreviations of the indiscernibility they express (1970, 64 ?? check edition) In the same chapter, also set theory and second order logic are excluded. Quines characterisation of logic had become very precise and narrow, and hence also the notion of analyticity.
Analyticity of mathematical statements
So far, we have Quine and Carnap agreeing on the analyticity of theorems of first order logic, perhaps Carnap being slightly more open to deviant logics. At first blush, one might think that also settheoretical and mathematical statements should be Ldeterminate. Both in Quines and Carnaps work, this issue is more complex. Roughly speaking, it is indeed the case that Carnap regards most mathematical domains as analytic, with the exception of physical geometry. According to Quine, there is a clear gap between logic and mathematics; mathematics is even closer to empirical science than to logic.
An appropriate passage to start the exposition of Carnaps view can be found at the end of his Introduction to Logic and its Applications. Here Carnap discusses several axiom systems, such as the axiom systems of ZF for set theory, the Peano axioms for the natural numbers, Tarskis axioms for the real numbers, axioms, Hausdorfs axioms for topology, and furthermore axioms systems for different geometries, physics, and even biology. In the introduction to the axiomatic method, Carnap writes:
Two ways of treating AS [axiom systems] are now at hand. 1. The way just described; here axioms are counted as primitive sentences, and the theorems are obtained by proofs, i.e. without premisses. 2. The axioms are not counted as primitive sentences, and the theorems are obtained by derivations in which the axioms appear as premisses. (1958, 171)
It is a matter of choice whether one extends ones language with new primitives, or whether one uses the axiom systems in the ifthenist way. This attitude seems to based on the principle of tolerance. However, there is reason to doubt that this choice is inconsequential, because it would mean that the various axioms can be true by virtue of the linguistic rules, or that their truth depends on the truth of extralinguistic premises. In other words, choosing method 1 turns the axioms into analytic truths, while method 2 does not necessarily do so. In other texts, Carnap is more outspoken with regard to the analyticity of mathematical statements.
In Foundations of Logic and Mathematics, Carnaps contribution to the Encyclopedia of Unified Science, Carnap discusses mathematics also from a semantic point of view. To begin with, it transpires that elementary number theory, as expressed by Peanos axioms is Ldeterminate. Carnaps argumentation is intriguing, as he argues that the various interpretations of Peanos axioms can be translated in the logical calculus so that they correspond to what he calls the signs 0, 1, or + of the logical language. The natural numbers are already part the language of logic, as the names of zero, zero prime, zero double prime, etc. in the coordinate language; thus number theory is analytic. With the natural numbers, one can construct higher mathematical calculi, so that Carnap concludes: In a customary interpretation of a mathematical calculus every sign in it is interpreted as a logical sign, and hence every sentence consists only of logical signs and is therefore Ldeterminate. (1937b, 43)
Interestingly, Carnap separates geometry from the rest of mathematics. He states that the various geometrical models can be constructed as mathematical calculi, but these should be distinguished from real geometry of the actual world. He thus divides geometry into two different parts, namely mathematical and physical geometry. Physical geometry is not Ldeterminate or analytic, but descriptive:
It is to be noticed that the words point etc., are here signs of the physical calculus in its customary interpretation. Hence we may think of a point as a place in the space of nature; straight lines may be characterized by reference to light rays in a vacuum or to stretched threads; congruence may be characterized by referring to a method of measuring length, etc. Thus the specific signs of a geometrical calculus are interpreted as descriptive signs. (1937b, 52)
Physical geometry is thus on a par with other physical properties, and is descriptive.
The distinction between physical geometry and mathematical geometry was quite important in Carnaps philosophy. It goes back to his earliest work at the beginning of the 1920s. In his doctoral thesis, Der Raum, and in subsequent publications (1922, 1924, 1925), he tried to save the Kantian space and time intuitions from the difficulties related to Einsteins relativity theory. The nonEuclidean geometry that was used in general relativity theory jeopardised Kants Euclidean space and time intuitions. Although Carnap gradually lost interest in (neo)Kantian epistemology, this work shaped his ideas about geometry. Four decades later, in Philosophical Foundations of Physics, Carnap concludes a long exposition on geometry, dealing with Euclids axioms, the rise of nonEuclidean geometries, Poincars conventionalism, and the advantages of nonEuclidean physical geometry, with some remarks on Kants synthetic a priori. According to Carnaps, Kant major error was a failure to realize that there are two essentially different kinds of geometry one mathematical, the other physical. (1966, 181) In physical geometry, the words refer to actual structures in physical space; and we can use approximations of points, lines, etc. Mathematical geometry, on the other hand, is based on axiomatic systems. In geometrical axioms systems, terms such as point or line need not be interpreted but may have an infinity of possible interpretations (1966, 182). If one incorporates the geometrical axioms in the linguistic framework, mathematical geometry can proceed by means of logical derivation, and thus be regarded as a part of logic.
Quines philosophy of mathematics is quite different. Quine soon gave up the belief that mathematics is a part of logic. Similarly, whereas Quine initially discussed axiomatic approaches in geometry, he soon abandoned this approach. He came to the view that one can characterise geometrical entities, points or spacetime points, by means of their coordinates, i.e. triplets or quadruples of real numbers. Geometry is thus applied mathematical analysis. Mathematical analysis and other mathematical disciplines such as number theory, group theory, etc. can all be reduced to set theory. The question whether according to Quine mathematical statements are analytic is thus decided if we have an answer with regard to set theory. In the next section, I will argue that this largely unnoticed but nevertheless central question in the QuineCarnap debate must be answered in the negative.
Analyticity of settheoretic statements
In order to understand Quines philosophy, one cannot neglect his early work in set theory, and certainly not for the topic at hand, namely analyticity. Quines work in set theory differs from contemporary mainstream set theory. At present, the basic axioms of ZFC are rather uncontroversial. One might argue that these axioms (partially) characterise the meaning of the word set. Hence, we could encompass the axioms in the linguistic framework we want to use in science, rendering set theory analytic. Of course, there is room for debate over large cardinal axioms, but at least there is a wide consensus over the basic axioms. Quine however never joined this consensus during Carnaps lifetime.
There have two major traditions in history of set theory, the one based on collections, the other on classes. The former goes back to Cantors work on collections of real numbers, the other to the logical theories of Frege, Russell, and Whitehead. Eventually, the axiomatisation of Cantors ideas in the system of Zermelo and Fraenkel became standard set theory. At the start of his career, Quine was deeply involved in the other tradition, namely the type theory of Principia Mathematica. Very soon, Quine abandoned type theory and elaborated his own settheoretic systems, but he never fully embraced the combinatorial idea of set. The result is that Quine had quite idiosyncratic ideas about set theory.
After studying philosophy and mathematics at Oberlin College in Ohio, where he studied Principia Mathematica very thoroughly, Quine went to Harvard, and wrote a Ph.D. thesis, The Logic of Sequences. A Generalization of Principia Mathematica under the supervision of Whitehead. The work contained two major innovations. First, by means of the introduction of sequences, he could avoid that each theorem in PM, e.g. the law of double negation, had to be derived for each type of predicate. This was a technical and rather unsurprising innovation. In addition, he used extensional propositional functions, i.e. classes, instead of the propositional functions of PM. This idea of set, namely a set as an extensional propositional function would remain central in Quines philosophy of set theory in later years and decades. In the following year, on a trip to Europe, he learned that extensionalism had become commonly accepted. The discussion with the logicians of the Warsaw school, especially Le[niewski, determined his research in the next couple of years; he tried to formulate logical systems without quantification of universals, i.e. classes. In Carnap 1936b, he came close to a solution, but there were still difficulties with the truth predicate. He soon gave up the project, but the nominalistic project of constructing a logical framework without quantification over abstract classes remained a lingering concern, coming to the surface in discussions with Tarski and Carnap in Harvard in 1940 (see Mancosu 2005), and in a joint paper with Nelson Goodman (1947). Quine become convinced that quantification over classes is indispensable if one wants to save mathematics, and especially mathematical analysis, and thus that logic without sets or classes is not feasible. Subsequently, he elaborated logicosettheoretical frameworks deviating from type theory. First, he elaborated an axiomatic framework combining the axioms of first order logic with the axioms of ZFC, obtaining a framework in which logic and ZFC were smoothly combined. Not entirely pleased with this result, he transformed the system PM radically into his own notorious NF. He retained the stratification formulas of PM, but instead of using them as a criterion of meaningfulness the typetheoretical order is reflected in the syntactical structure of meaningful expressions in PM he used stratification as an ontological abstraction (or comprehension) axiom. The result is a viable but counterintuitive settheoretical system. Quine could avoid some inconveniences of type theory, such as the reduplication of quantifiers and the natural numbers at each level of the type theory, and could suffice with a single universal quantifier, a single settheoretic universe, a single number zero, etc. On the other hand, NF is a quite strange system, containing a universal set, i.e. a set of all sets, and in which the axiom of choice and Cantors theorem are not true. These oddities might have been accepted if NF would have been a convenient system, but the major problem with Quines NF is that it is based on a grammatical abstraction principle, and not on an intuitively clear picture of the settheoretical universe, so that proofs in NF are not insightful and often laborious. For example, even the proof of the axiom of infinity in NF took fifteen years. Still displeased with some features of NF, especially the occurrence of predicates not determining a set, he transformed his own system NF to ML in Mathematical Logic by adding proper classes. He borrowed the idea of proper classes from Bernays and von Neumann, who had added proper classes to ZFC. After solving some difficulties related to BuraliFortis paradox, also the system ML was a viable settheoretical framework. In 1956, he could demonstrate that one of his earlier misgivings against ZFC was not a problem after all. Finally, in 1963, he wrote his major work on set theory, Set Theory and its Logic. Quines personal development in settheory has two important repercussions for his view on the analyticsynthetic issue.
The first consequence of this peregrination through set theoretical universes is that Quine did not believe that one axiomatic system is beyond dispute better than the others. On the contrary, in Set Theory and its Logic, he explained why there could be no consensus in set theory, and discussed several alternatives:
Because the axiomatic systems of set theory in the literature are largely incompatible with one another and no one of them clearly deserves to be singled out as standard, it seems prudent to teach of panorama of alternatives. (Quine, 1969, x)
Set Theory and its Logic is a handbook in set theory and contains a broad outline of the results in set theory of the preceding decades. The last part of the book (1969, 239329) is particularly relevant; a comparison of various axiom systems in set theory, such as Russells type theory, Ramseys type theory, Quines NF and ML, ZFC, and the von Neumann Bernays system is given. Quine gives a detailed assessment of the pros and cons of each of the axioms of the various systems, and presents a continuous transformation of the various systems into one another. It transpires that Quine thinks that no axiom system is really superior, and that one can choose between the axiom systems, depending on pragmatic and aesthetic preferences, and depending on the role the system has the play in science as a whole. As a result, from a pragmatic point of view, it is not useful to regard one system as stable for a longer period of time, so that it is not useful to add the axioms of some system to the logicolinguistic framework. In Quines view, there is no natural set theory, and each of the alternatives has only the most bleakly pragmatic claims to attention. (1960, 268) In other words, the multiplicity and variety of settheoretical axiom systems precludes the choice of one single analytic set theory.
The second consequence of Quines early work in set theory is that it shaped his ideas on the relation of logic, set theory and mathematics. For Quine, set theory was always the intermediary step between logic and mathematics. Mathematics is applied set theory, and set theory is strongly related to logic. This can already be gleaned from the title of Set Theory and its Logic; the relation between logic and set theory is fully elaborated in its first chapter. Quine stresses the relation between logic and set theory and he even presents of virtual theory of classes, i.e. a surrogate theory of classes in first order logic. Although Quine gradually came to believe in a neat cleavage between logic and set theory, he could never discuss them in isolation. As a result, the fact that set theory is fundamentally different from logic gained extra weight. In Carnap on logical truth the distinction between logic and set theory was crucial in the argumentation (1976, 111). Quines line of argumentation is that logic is obvious, which is stronger than true by convention or analytic, and that no good proposal for generally accepted conventions for set theory or mathematics is at hand, so that set theory and mathematics are not analytic.
It is difficult to compare the views of Quine and Carnap on set theory because Carnap has almost written nothing on set theory. He has presented ZFC as an axiomatic system in Introduction to Symbolic Logic and its Applications, but for the rest Carnap has hardly written anything on set theory. In most of Carnaps work, type theory taken for granted, though seldom really discussed or explained, even not in his technical works. In his autobiography, Carnap wrote that in his Abriss der Logistik for 1929, he might have presented ZF as the set theory one should use. (ref ??) This is pretty Orwellian, because a year later, he wrote that the two major innovation of the modern logic were the theory of relations and type theory. In conclusion, Carnap does not have an elaborate view on set theory, and for most of his career the type theory of Principia Mathematica was not really abandoned.
The lack of an elaborate Carnapian reply to Quines arguments against the analyticity of set theory is a missed opportunity, which made Carnaps position weaker than it had to be. Carnap, or any other philosophers, might have attacked Quines exceedingly narrow conception of analyticity with considerable impact.
Analyticity of scientific laws
Analyticity as synonymy between extralogical predicates
Analyticity of probability statements
Conclusions
In progress/Beyond the scope of the Berlin lecture
References
Carnap, R., 1922, Der Raum, KantStudien, Ergnzungheft 56.
Carnap, R., 1924, Dreidimensionalitt des Raumes und Kausalitt, Annalen der Philosophie und philsophischen Kritik, 4, 105130.
Carnap, R., 1925, ber die Abhngigkeit der Eigenschaften des Raumes von denen der Zeit, KantStudien, 30, 331345.
Carnap, R., 1930, Der alte und der neue logik, Erkenntnis, 1, 1226.
Carnap, R., 1937a, The Logical Syntax of Language, Kegan Paul, London.
Carnap, R., 1937b, Foundations of Logic and Mathematics, University of Chicago Press, Chicago (??)
Carnap, R., 1942, Introduction to Semantics, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.
Carnap, R., 1947, Meaning and Necessity, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Carnap, R., 1958, Introduction to Symbolic Logic and its Applications, Dover, New York.
Carnap, R., 1966, Philosophical Foundations of Physics, Basic Books, New York.
Decock, L., 2002, Trading Ontology for Ideology; Kluwer, Dordrecht.
Decock, L., 2004, Inception of Quines ontology, History and Philosophy of Logic, 25, 111129.
Goodman, N. & Quine, W.V.O., Steps toward a constructive nominalism, Journal of Symbolic Logic, 12, 105122.
Mancosu, P., 2005, Harvard 19401941: Tarski, Carnap and Quine on a Finitistic Language of Mathematics for Science, History and Philosophy of Logic, 26, 2005, 327357.
Muller, F.A., 2004, The implicit definition of the setconcept, Synthese, 138, 417451.
Quine, W.V.O., 1936, Settheoretic foundations for logic, Journal of Symbolic Logic, 1, 4557.
Quine, W.V.O., 1936b, A theory of classes presupposing no canons of type, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 22, 320326.
Quine, W.V.O., 1937a, New foundations for mathematical logic, American Mathematical Monthly, 44, 7080.
Quine, W.V.O., 1937b, Logic based on inclusion and abstraction, Journal of Symbolic Logic, 2, 145152.
Quine, W.V.O., 1953, From a Logical Point of View, Harvard, Cambridge MA.
Quine, W.V.O., 1956, Unification of universes in set theory, Journal of Symbolic Logic, 21, 267279.
Quine, W.V.O., 1960, Word and Object, MIT Press, Cambridge MA.
Quine, W.V.O., 1969, Set Theory and its Logic, 2nd revised ed., Harvard, Cambridge MA.
Quine, W.V.O., 1969b, Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, Columbia University Press, New York.
Quine, W.V.O., 1970, Philosophy of Logic, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.
Quine, W.V.O., 1976, The Ways of Paradox and Other Essays, 2nd enlarged ed., Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.
Quine, W.V.O., 1976b, Whither physical objects? in R. Cohen et al. (eds.), Essays in Memory of Imre Lakatos, Reidel, Dordrecht, 497504.
Quine, W.V.O., 1979, Facts of the matter, in R. Shahan & C. Swoyer (eds.), Essays of the Philosophy of W.V. Quine, Harvester Press, Hassocks, 155169.
Quine, W.V.O., 1991, Immanence and validity, Dialectica, 45, 219230.
Quine, W.V.O., 1992, Pursuit of Truth, Harvard, Cambridge MA.
Quine, W.V.O., 1995, From Stimulus to Science, Harvard, Cambridge MA.
Quine, W.V.O. & Ullian, J.S., 1970, The Web of Belief, Random House, New York.
Quine, W.V.O. et al., 1994, Interview with Willard Van Orman Quine in November 1993, by Lars Bergstrm and Dagfinn Fllesdag, Theoria, 60, 193206.
References: Friedman, Richardson, Burgess, ...
Carnap also uses the term contradictory for Lfalse. It seems more appropriate to use analytic as whose truthvalue is determined by the rules of the linguistic framework, so that we could speak of statements that are analytically true or analytically false. The distinction between Ldeterminate and Ltrue will however be rather inconsequential in the remainder of the paper.
In Carnap 1947, only the following more ambiguous requirement is mentioned, see 2.1: Convention: A sentence ?? is Ltrue in system S if and only if ?? is true in S in such a way that its truth can be established on the basis of the semantical rules of the system S alone, without any reference to (extralinguistic) facts.
Much to Quines astonishment, Carnap abandoned his extensional position defended in The Logical Syntax of Language, and studied the broad outlines of intensional systems in Introduction to Semantics and actually elaborated intensional frameworks in Meaning and Necessity. Though Carnap describes both extensional and intensional systems, he believes that this controversy is not decided, and could only be settled by much more investigation (see Carnap 1942, 118, Carnap 1947 ??, Creath, ??)
Carnap was even actively involved in the attempts to streamline natural language by means of the construction of new artificial languages such as Esperanto (ref autobiography ??)
In a forthcoming article, I analyse the interdependency of the analyticsynthetic distinction as here defined and the a priori a posteriori distinction in Carnaps work. In view of the distinction between the two pairs, one could repeat the comparison here presented for Carnap and Quine on the a priori a posteriori distinctions.
There are some complicating factors though in the text. Quine rejects epistemological doctrines underlying logical truth (1976, 110; 128), so there is reason to think that analytic and a priori are to some extent mixed up. More disturbing from my point of view, Quine seems to exclude the possibility of artificial languages having meaning; he balks at disinterpreted formal systems (116117; 126127). At least, for first order logic this is not a problem, since the meaning of elementary logic in natural language and in axiomatic systems coincides. As for the other cases, as indicated in section 2, I will neglect Quines possible objection that postulated formal systems might not have meaning if this meaning is not directly borrowed from natural language.
Third method
Horsten & Halbach ref.
A more thorough analysis of analyticity in Carnaps early work goes beyond the scope of this paper. The notion of analyticity I discuss hinges on the use of a linguistic framework, and therefore it is only relevant to focus on Carnaps work after his linguistic turn at the beginning of the 1930s. In recent years, Carnaps early work on geometry been intensely studied by among other Friedman, Richardson (exact references ??)
For an overview of some geometrical (and topological) axioms systems, see Carnap 1958, 186212.
In Truth by convention (1936), Quine still believed that Whitehead and Russells logicist project was or could be successful, though he left the question open for the sake of the argument, see Quine 1976, 87; 99. In later work Quine is adamant that mathematics is not logically deducible from selfevident logical truths, see e.g. Quine 1995, 9.
In Truth by convention (1936), Huntingtons postulates for Euclidean geometry play a crucial role in the argumentation, see Quine 1976, 82ff. He argues that adding geometrical axioms is very different from the logical reduction of mathematics to logic as carried out in Whitehead and Russells Principia Mathematica.
In the midseventies, Quine went even much further and suggested that not only the spacetime regions could be described as sets of quadruples of real numbers, but that in view of the proxy function argument, the physical objects contained in these regions could be replaced by these sets of quadruples of real number. Quine thus ended with a hyperPythagorean universe whose ontology contained pure sets only, see Quine 1976b; 1979.
In Decock 2002 and 2004 I have argued that Quines settheoretic work also to a great extent shaped his ontological views.
For a recent defence of this view, see Muller 2004. Also the iterative concept of set relates the meaning of the word set to the basic axioms of ZFC.
In later publications, when mentioning set theory, Quine mostly referred to ZFC. Since the response to Wangs paper in the Quine volume in the Library of Living Philosophers, Quine did endorse minimalist set theories, such as ZFC together with the axiom of constructibility V=L, or Fefermans predicative set theory, see e.g. Schilpp volume ??; Quine 1991, 220; 1992, 95.
Cantors theorem states that the set of subsets of an infinite set A is strictly larger than the set A. In NF the is for example not true for the universal set V.
Quine often complained that set theory lacks naturalness or obviousness, see e.g. Quine 1969 x; Quine 1969b, 6970; Quine 1976, 111; 120; ??
See Carnap 1930, 15. It is remarkable that Carnap did not mention Freges use of the existential (or universal) quantifier. For Quine, this was the major innovation of modern logic, see Quine ??
In CarnapQuine controversy, two other Quinean settheoretical idiosyncrasies have played an important role. First, the fact that Quine believed that set theory is not a priori but depends on empirical facts is important for the CarnapT # $ ~
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In Carnap on logical truth Quine even avows that the linguistic conventionalist doctrine of truth for set theory might be sensible (1976, 113; 115), so that set theory might actually be analytic in the sense laid down in section 2. It is a pity that nobody has pressed this issue in the analyticity debate.
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