, Volume 194, Issue 1, pp 121–141 | Cite as

A forgotten strand of reception history: understanding pure semantics

  • Peter Olen


I explore a strand of reception history that follows Rudolf Carnap’s shift from a purely syntactical analysis of constructed languages to his conception of pure semantics. My exploration focuses on Gustav Bergmann’s and Everett Hall’s interpretation of pure semantics (as centered around Carnap’s notion of ’rules of designation’), their understanding of what constitutes a ’formal’ investigation of language, and their arguments concerning the relationship between expressions and their extra-linguistic referents. I argue that Bergmann and Hall strongly misread Carnap’s semantic project and, subsequently, their misunderstanding is passed down through colleagues and students (found most notably in Wilfrid Sellars’ early philosophy).


Logical empiricism Rudolf Carnap Wilfrid Sellars Pure semantics History of analytic philosophy 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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