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Introduction

  • Pierre Wagner
Chapter
Part of the History of Analytic Philosophy book series

Abstract

The Logical Syntax of Language (LSL) is indisputably one of the landmarks in the history of analytic philosophy. Indeed, this remarkable achievement by one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Circle contributed to the constitution of the analytic tradition, and may be considered as a paradigm of scientific philosophy. Epitomizing high standards of clarity and precision, it introduced a bold philosophical project grounded on the most recent results in logic, and it advanced a large part of the way toward its realization. This was not achieved through hasty generalizations over approximate understanding of a piece of scientific knowledge. Quite the contrary: Carnap not only had an astonishing scientific erudition, but also a deep understanding of modern logic and its implications, and the book was praised as a monument both in the history of philosophy, and in the history of logic. Karl Popper considered that ‘if ever a history of the rational philosophy of the earlier half of this century should be written, this book ought to have a place in it second to none’ (1963, p. 203). Alfred Tarski, to whom the modern concept of logical consequence is usually attributed, acknowledged that the first attempt to give a precise definition of this concept was due to the author of LSL (1936b, p. 5). Evert Beth, well-known among logicians for his definability theorem, made the following comment: ‘I expect Carnap’s Logical Syntax to remain one of the classics in logical literature and hence to be read and studied by many generations of future logicians’ (1963, p. 482).

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© Pierre Wagner 2009

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  • Pierre Wagner

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