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I am left quite confused at how Hilary Putnam showed that Carnap's response to the self-defeating objection of the verification principle was circular and hence unviable. Can anybody help explain it to me? Sorry - I am rather new to all this so I would prefer a simple explanation if possible!

  • "Carnap’s defense rests on tolerance, which in turn,rests on verificationism, at least according to Putnam’s interpretation; the defense presupposes that verificationism entails tolerance. But if verificationism is a cognitively meaningless proposal, then it has no entailments and cannot justify tolerance." See Carnap's Pragmatism by Surovel, pp. 79-82. – Conifold Feb 19 at 20:25
  • @Conifold Thanks for this. I am actually unclear on how tolerance rests on verificationism, however - that's what I wasn't sure about even after reading through a couple times. – Julian Cheng Feb 19 at 20:28
  • "Carnap, on Putnam’s reading, grants that verificationism is cognitively meaningless, but emphasizes that it is a practically oriented proposal... Putnam’s thought is that the claim that the verificationist’s decision to adopt an empiricist language is non-cognitive is a special case of tolerance’s more general thesis that language choice is non-cognitive." – Conifold Feb 19 at 20:33
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    There is not much here to understand given what the principle of tolerance is: anything goes, subject to pragmatic constraints, in the choice of linguistic frameworks:"In logic, there are no morals. Everyone is at liberty to build up his own logic, i.e. his own form of language as he wishes". Verificationism is just an instance of making such a choice. – Conifold Feb 19 at 21:49

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