Logical Syntax, Quasi-Syntax, and Philosophy
In his book, The Semantic Tradition from Kant to Carnap (1991), Alberto Coffa suggests that the Carnapian principle of tolerance, as it is defended in Logical Syntax of Language, has a major weakness. The weakness is constituted by the link the principle has with the complete rejection of what can be called ‘the factuality of meaning’. For the representatives of that position, there can be nothing factual about meaning, there can be meaning only by convention, and then there can be truth in virtue of meaning, but there cannot be truth about meaning and about the conditions of meaningfulness and meaninglessness in general. ‘The worst side of the principle [of tolerance] embodies’, says Coffa, ‘the semantic conventionalism that we have just encountered in Reichenbach and Popper, the idea that in matters of meaning there is nothing interesting to discover and everything to decide upon’ (Coffa 1991, p. 320).
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