, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 599-600
Date: 06 Apr 2011

Pierre Wagner (ed.): Carnap’s logical syntax of language. Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009, 288pp, £57.00 HB

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Rudolf Carnap’s The Logical Syntax of Language is one of those troubling books in the history of philosophy—it is clearly of great importance in setting the agenda of analytic philosophy in the middle third of the twentieth century, but it is both technically formidable and strangely idiosyncratic. The reader might have the feeling that he is reading a strangely obscure logic textbook but one that makes very far-reaching philosophical claims. A guide to Syntax is very much to be craved, but we are so far from possessing such a guide that the current volume is, to the best of my knowledge, the very first anthology in any language dedicated wholly to Carnap’s great book.

The volume is divided into five parts, though only four of those parts are explicitly noted in the table of contents. The unmentioned part is a roughly 50-page introduction to Syntax by the volume’s editor, Pierre Wagner. This is a highly useful piece of work that summarizes both Carnap’s own work in Syntax and the main i ...