Carnap’s Criterion of Logicality

  • Denis Bonnay
Part of the History of Analytic Philosophy book series


Characterizing in a principled manner the distinction between logical and non-logical expressions has been a longstanding issue in the philosophy of logic. In The Logical Syntax of Language, Carnap proposes a syntactic solution to this problem, which aims at grounding the claim that logic and mathematics are analytic. Roughly speaking, his idea is that logic and mathematics correspond to the largest part of science for which it is possible to completely specify by ‘syntactic’ means which sentences are valid and which are not. Despite a renewed interest in the notion of analyticity, both inside and outside of Carnap scholarship, Carnap’s definition of logical expressions has not received all the attention that it deserves. I shall argue that it is well worth a second look. More precisely, my aim will be to defend Carnap’s idea against some technical problems that Carnap’s original definition faces and against wider Quinean attacks on syntax-based conventionalism.


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© Denis Bonnay 2009

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  • Denis Bonnay

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