Explication Defended


How can formal methods be applied to philosophical problems that involve informal concepts of ordinary language? Carnap answered this question by describing a methodology that he called “explication." Strawson objected that explication changes the subject and does not address the original philosophical problem; this paper shows that Carnap’s response to that objection was inadequate and offers a better response. More recent criticisms of explication by Boniolo and Eagle are shown to rest on misunderstandings of the nature of explication. It is concluded that explication is an appropriate methodology for formal philosophy.

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Correspondence to Patrick Maher.

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Special Issue Formal Epistemology I. Edited by Branden Fitelson

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Maher, P. Explication Defended. Stud Logica 86, 331–341 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11225-007-9063-8

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  • explication
  • formal methods
  • formal philosophy
  • Carnap