Open Journal of Philosophy
2013. Vol.3, No.3, 429-433
Published Online August 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 429
Carnap Ponders Canberra: Creating a Theory of Meaning Based
on Carnap’s Criteria of Cognitive Significance and the Canberra
Andrew Whiteley Magrath
Department of Philosophy, Kent State University, Kent, USA
Received April 29th, 2013; revised May 29th, 2013; accepted June 7th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Andrew Whiteley Magrath. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative
Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited.
Although logical positivism has fallen out of favor within many philosophical circles, one might remain
sympathetic to the logical positivists’ critique of the meaningfulness of philosophical terms. In an attempt
to address this open problem, I will propose an updated theory of meaning by combining the Canberra
Plan methodology and Carnap’s four criteria of cognitive significance as explicated in “The Elimination
of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language”. I will argue that of Carnap’s original criteria, the
notion of protocol sentences (C2) and verification (C4) remain problematic. I will further argue that pro-
tocol sentences can be replaced by step-one of the Canberra Plan. This shift towards Lewis’ more robust
conception of O-terms as any known/old terms will still limit the types of terms that are meaningful yet
proven to be less problematic than Carnap’s notion of observation terms. Additionally, I will argue for the
replacement of verification with a modified version of step-two of the Plan. Due to the emphasis of locat-
ing a unique realizer within the Canberra Plan, I will propose two types of meaningful terms: meaningful
with a located unique realizer (MLR), and meaningful but an absent unique realizer (MAR).
Keywords: Canberra Plan; Rudolf Carnap; Frank Jackson; David Lewis; Logical Positivism; Logical
Empiricism; Theory of Meaning
Despite the failures of the logical positivists to bring about a
full working theory of meaning, closeted logical positivists (and
likely philosophers of other stripes) may nevertheless remain
sympathetic to the positivists’ original critique of the meaning-
fulness of many philosophical terms. If the positivists’ objec-
tions remain salient, then a positivist-esque theory of meaning
is a worthwhile project. I will attempt to lay the groundwork for
such a theory using the Canberra Plan.
The Canberra Plan originated with David Lewis, Frank
Jackson, and other philosophers primarily from the Philosophy
Program of the Research School of Social Sciences at the Aus-
tralian National University in Canberra. Although the Canberra
Plan shares many traits with logical positivism, the Plan repre-
sents a more flexible approach to philosophy and philosophical
analysis. Despite engaging many of the same problems that
interested the logical positivists, an attempt to create a theory of
meaning has not, to my knowledge, been put forward within the
Canberra Plan literature. Frank Jackson, in his text From Meta-
physics to Ethics (Jackson, 1998) asserts that that the Canberra
Plan can contribute to any problem of philosophy. Given these
qualities of the Plan and a still relevant critique of meaning as
left by the positivists, the solution I will put forward is a fusion
of Carnap’s criteria of meaningfulness (outlined in “The Elimi-
nation of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis”) and the
Canberra Plan’s two-step process.
Although I am not the first to reexamine logical positivism,1
I believe my approach is nevertheless novel. While many that
attempt to address some perceived problem of logical positiv-
ism do so within what can broadly be understood as a logical
positivistic framework, I am attempting to examine what I take
to be problems with Carnap’s criteria of cognitive significance
from a standpoint of a Canberra planner. This shift in frame-
works allows me to work towards two goals: First, address a
problem that I believe exists within Carnap’s original theory of
meaning. Second, address what I see as a deficiency within the
Canberra Plan—lack of a theory of meaning.
In “The Elimination”, Carnap proposes a systematized theory
of meaning broken into four criteria:
(C1) The empirical criteria for the term, ‘a’, are known;
(C2) It has been stipulated from what protocol sentences
‘S(a)’ is deducible;
(C3) The truth-conditions for ‘S(a)’ are fixed;
(C4) The method of verification of ‘S(a)’ is known (Carnap,
2003: p. 158).
I will argue that of Carnap’s original criteria of meaningful-
ness, C2 and C4 are philosophically weak, and will need to be
replaced. I further assert that C2 can be directly replaced with
step-one of the Canberra Plan, as the two play functionally
similar roles. Yet, despite these functional similarities, step-one
1For a noted contemporary example, see Michael Friedman’s Reconsi derin
ogical Positivism .
of the Canberra Plan is less problematic than C2. I will further
replace C4 with a version of the second step of the Canberra
The Strengths of C2 & C4
Of primary importance to the positivists was that sentences
contain terms that are as epistemically strong as possible.
Claims about sense impressions are often taken to be the
strongest epistemic claims and the most resilient to many forms
of skepticism since nothing is asserted beyond the existence of
experience. Historical empiricists, such as Locke, asserted that
basic atomic ideas entered the mind through the sense, and then
the mind compiled the atomic notions into complex sensations
and ideas. The positivists follow this line of thinking. The posi-
tivist’s conception of the protocol sentence is meant to express
the empirical data provided by sensory perception of the world
in its rarified raw form. The strength of this approach is that
one can potentially create sentences that are reduced to epis-
temically strong sense impressions. Using this approach within
a theory of meaning, Carnap is able to pronounce many terms
in philosophy as meaningless. Of particular interest to Carnap
are metaphysical concepts that are claimed to bypass experi-
Many empiricists have historically been uncomfortable with
concepts that are claimed to bypass experience. While attempts
have been made to demonstrate such concepts are inconsistent,
overly speculative, and/or false, the positivists’ unique ap-
proach was to assert that terms describing such concepts are
meaningless. From Carnap’s criteria of meaning it is clear that
for such terms to be meaningful, they must either be grounded
in sense impressions—i.e. have empirical content—or must be
derivable from analytic truths, else the term is meaningless.
Carnap asserts that there may be psychological reasons why a
concept is believed to reach around experience, but, upon close
inspection, such concepts often ultimately rely on empirical
content. With the illusion gone, and the term’s empirical nature
uncovered, Carnap argues that the concept the term described is
best left to the sciences to understand. If, on the other hand, the
term is derivable from analytic notions, then the term says
nothing about the synthetic world owing to the nature of the
positivist’s conceptions of the synthetic a posteriori and the
analytic a priori. In either case, for the term to be meaningful, it
cannot truly reach around experience.
I remain sympathetic to Carnap’s overall project and what I
take to be the driving forces behind C2 and C4. I agree with
Carnap that there should be a division of labor between science
and philosophy, which seems to be a motivating factor in C4.
While I will ultimately find the positivists’ particular concept-
tion of verification problematic, I will nevertheless attempt to
preserve Carnap’s balance between science and philosophy. I
also remain sympathetic to the attempt to ground terms in an
epistemically strong vocabulary set. While I remain uncon-
vinced that these terms need be fully reduced to the austere
language of sense impressions, I nevertheless agree with Car-
nap that meaning is closely related to the ability to reduce terms
to a familiar, tested, well-defined vocabulary set. My goal
moving forward is to preserve the relationships that C2 and C4
establish (terms and familiar vocabulary sets, science and phi-
losophy), but avoid what I consider to be problems with Car-
nap’s original execution.
The Troubles with C2 & C4
The epistemic strength of the sense data protocol comes from
its austerity. Yet, it may be the case that this sense data lan-
guage is so austere that it hinders its ability to describe. Imagine
a common object such as a chair. It is not clear that one could
describe a chair using only terms that refer to sense data. The
length of such a sentence that would be produced just to capture
the experience of the softness of the chair, the color impress-
sions, the act of sitting and experiencing the chair cradling
one’s weight, etc. is almost beyond comprehension. It is likely
one could always add another sense data term to the protocol
sentence to more completely or more accurately describe the
experience such that the sentence would never be complete, or
would be so complex as to obscure the very notion of a chair. If
producing a sense data protocol sentence is unlikely or impos-
sible for something as mundane as a chair, it seems even more
dubious that such a protocol sentence could be created to de-
scribe more complicated notions.
The logical positivists exported a great deal of philosophy’s
explanatory project to the natural science. The use of sense data
greatly compromises this project. It is often argued that a hall-
mark of good science (which the logical positivists are com-
mitted to believing is also the trait of good metaphysics and
epistemology) is public reproducibility. The reliance on terms
referring to sense data seems to violate this basic tenet of sci-
ence. While observations have the possibility of being public,
sense data are always private. For these reasons, most positive-
ists (Carnap eventually among them) abandoned protocol sen-
tences using only the austere language of sense data. Therefore,
I shall address the more plausible notion of a direct observation
protocol sentence throughout the remainder of the examination.
Protocol sentences involving direct observation terms—that
is to say sense data directly perceived by the senses with no
other structures or features inferred by the intellect. Although
more robust, direct observation protocol sentences are more
susceptible to skepticism than are protocol sentences involving
sense data. Nevertheless, the convincing attacks on sense data
protocol sentences caused many positivists to adopt direct ob-
servation protocol sentences. Unfortunately, this move is also
One of Carnap’s projects was an attempt to replace all theory
terms (T-terms) with observation terms (O-terms) through the
process of Ramsification. Theory terms were any term that
played a valuable role in a theory but whose references could
not be directly observed. By lacking referents that are directly
observable, these theory terms run the risk of failing the posi-
tivists’ criteria of meaning. Carnap attempted to solve this pro-
blem by linking all theory to direct observation.
Ideally Carnap wanted a relation of the form: For anything x,
x satisfies a given theory term T if and only if x satisfies the
agreed upon set of observation conditions Φ. For example,
assume there is some new proposed particle in nuclear physics
called the ‘pretendon’. Further suppose that positing the pre-
tendon has a great number of theoretical virtues and allows
useful predictions to be made, but the pretendon is not directly
observable. Under the positivists’ criteria, ‘pretendon’ would be
considered a theory term because the object it references cannot
be directly observed (a requirement of C2). Assume there is a
machine that can indirectly detect pretendons. Whenever a pre-
tendon enters the machine, a blue light is illuminated. The blue
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
light is directly observable,2 thus the positivists could freely
replace the theoretical particle term with terms relating to the
direct observations associated with the pretendon detector, in
this case, the blue light:
x Pretendon xBluelight x
Although more reasonable than the reliance on only language
of sense data, protocol sentences involving direct observation
seems to result in conflating the notions of what is being ob-
served and how it is being observed. Assume there are two
groups of scientists: a group of human scientists and similarly
advanced group of Martian scientists. The human and Martian
scientists have no contact with each other, but have identical
mathematics, sense organs, neurological systems, and scientific
theories. Both the Martian and human scientists have reason to
postulate the existence of the pretendon using identical axioms,
mathematical assumptions, and experimental results. The only
difference between the two groups is how their respective pre-
tendon detectors signal detection.
When a pretendon is detected, the human scientists’ machine
produces a blue light, while the Martian detector sounds a
chime. These different detectors would generate different direct
observation translations of the term ‘pretendon’:
Human Detector:
x Pretendon xBluelight x
Martian Detector:
x PretendonxChime x.
Eliminating the T-term ‘pretendon’ using observation terms
from the human detector, results in utilizing the O-term ‘blue
light’. Yet, the Martian detector replaces the T-te rm ‘preten-
don’ with ‘chime’. Ceteris paribus the two theories are identi-
cal; it therefore seems that the term ‘pretendon’ should be trans-
lated into the same expression in the language of O-terms. Un-
der C2, this does not seem to be the case.
C2 seems to commit the positivists to the belief that the Mar-
tian pretendon is a different particle than the human pretendon.
Yet, a human scientist would have no trouble understanding
what a Martian pretendon was because functionally the human
pretendon is identical. It is unlikely that the human (or Martian)
scientist would believe that their respective pretendons were
different based solely on a chime or light. It therefore seems
that the role of direct observation inherent to C2 is too limiting,
resulting in cases were intuitively identical objects must be
considered to be of different kinds. It seems that C2 therefore
C4 can be understood as following from C3. Where C3 es-
tablishes that there is fixed truth conditions for ‘S(a)’, C4 em-
phases how one would determine whether those conditions
obtain. Since the positivists asserted that all propositions were
either a priori analytic or a posteriori synthetic, the options of
verification were limited (by design). An important aspect of
C4 is the emphasis on knowing a method of verification, rather
than having a requirement of verification. One must be able to
show how ‘S(a)’ could be verified for ‘S(a)’ to be meaningful;
one need not actually verify ‘S(a)’. Problems emerge when
considering verification and universal claims.
The analytic a priori possesses relatively few problems viz.
verification, as proofs of mathematics and logic can appeal to a
priori rules to verify universal claims. A problem with verifica-
tion comes about with respect to claims about the synthetic a
posteriori. Universal claims, such as: all x are y, seem unveri-
fiable given the logical positivists’ commitment to the empirical.
It seems that the only method that could be used to verify that
all x are y would be to have access to every x in existence and
observe that each x is y.
The ideal scenario is one where it is known that there are a
finite number of objects to be examined. If one had some prior
knowledge of the number of xs that existed, then one could
potentially observe each x in an attempt to verify that it is y.
Unfortunately, the more likely scenario is when the number of
elements in the set is unknown. Verification is problematic
because one can never be sure if they have observed all of the
xs that exist. Therefore, according to the positivists, there is no
way to assert universal statements of the sort we take to be
supported by the types of observations typically made—par-
ticularly in the sciences. It may also strike one as intuitively
strange to assert that there is no sample size (short of the whole)
from which one can draw universal conclusions. Yet C4 com-
mits the positivists to the position that where the number of xs
is unknown, no amount of observations can verify a universal
For these reasons, I contend that C2 and C4 must be revised.
The Canberra Two-Step
The goal of the Canberra Plan is to analyze a group of related
concepts which, when taken together, form what is referred to
by practitioners of the Plan (referred to as planners) as a folk
theory. Planners use “folk” to refer to a collection of specified
individuals or a community of speakers, rather than in the sense
of the philosophically unsophisticated. The analysis of the folk
theory is accomplished, broadly speaking, by the “Canberra
two-step” (Nolan, 2009: p. 269).
The fist step of analysis consists of gathering the various
ideas, notions, and putative truths (which are all lumped to-
gether under the blanket term, ‘platitudes’) surrounding the
topic of inquiry. With the relevant platitudes gathered, the con-
cepts contained therein are analyzed. Analysis takes a different
form for various planners depending in part on their end goals
(obviously the type of platitudes and analysis surrounding the
concept of an undiscovered subatomic particle will be different
than those related to the concept of happiness). A restriction
placed upon analysis is that the platitudes are to be understood
in such a way that there is some confidence that, in the next
stage of the two-step, a suitable satisfier of the concept can be
found. Once analyzed, this analysis is handed off to an appro-
priate group of empirical researchers so that the item being
described can be “located” in the world.
The nature of terms that makeup the descriptive sentence ob-
tained by step-one has created an internal divide within the
Canberra Plan. The first tradition, forwarded by Lewis, is simi-
lar to Carnap’s treatment of theory terms (T-terms). Through
Ramsification, Carnap was able to replace all T-terms in a sen-
tence with observational terms (O-terms). Where Carnap spe-
cifically attempted to ground his O-terms, observation-terms, in
the realm of sense data/direct observation, Lewis asserts that
the O-terms need only be: “[A]ny other term, one of our origi-
nal terms an old term we already [understand] before the new
2For obvious reasons, we shall forgo the exercise of reducing the illumina-
tion of the blue light down to a direct observation protocol sentence level,
although a strong reading of the positivists’ philosophy would require that it
e done.
3I will ignore Hempel’s move towards confirmation as opposed to verifica-
tion. Suffice to say, I find Hempel’s attempts in “Studies in the Logic o
Confirmation” unsatisfying.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 431
theory T with its new T-terms…” (Lewis, 1983: p. 79) Under
Lewis’ conception, O-terms can take the form of any previously
understood notion that can be represented by a predicate. Lewis
hopes to formalize the relationships between T-terms and O-
terms into axioms and logical systems of first order theories.
The other Canberra Plan tradition, as forwarded by Jackson,
generates a descriptive sentence containing only platitudes. Un-
like Lewis, Jackson focuses on concepts. Shifting the focus
allows Jackson to avoid the formal process of Ramsification
and instead work with natural language statements that articu-
late the concept. As such, Jackson’s notion of analysis does not
involve the translation into a formal first order theory that the
Lewis’ tradition requires (although within Jackson’s philosophy,
he will often carry out Ramisification).
The newly generated sentence describing the analyzed con-
cept can be now handed off to the appropriate department to
attempt to identify a unique realizer—step-two of the Plan. The
nature of how a term is or might be realized often depends on
the nature of the concept that is analyzed. For example, the
notion of a theoretical particle in physics would be located dif-
ferently than the aesthetic notion of beauty. The nature of loca-
tion is dependent upon the nature of the concept analyzed and
the experts attempting location.
C2*: C2 & Step-One
To generate a Carnap-Canberra theory of meaning, I first
propose the replacement of C2 with what I shall call C2*.
(C2*) The folk theory containing the term has undergone
step-one of the Canberra Plan: a descriptive sentence con-
sisting of old terms (O-terms) or platitudes (depending
upon whether the Lewis or Jackson approach to analysis
has been used) has been generated for the folk theory.
The purpose of C2 was to give sentences involving the theo-
retical terms as much epistemic weight as possible. Converting
sentences involving these terms into protocol sentences was
hoped to ground the meaning of the terms in firm epistemo-
logical bedrock. Yet, protocol sentences, while philosophically
interesting and potentially useful, are likely too restrictive to
provide a plausible criterion of meaning.
Replacing protocol sentences with a demand for a Canberra
step-one descriptive sentence can effectively alleviate the prob-
lems associated with C2. The positivists’ slant on protocol sen-
tences effectively asked the question, from what direct observa-
tions/sense data did the use of this term arise? In principle this
is a very good question. The positivists erred in practice. We
should allow ourselves a great deal more flexibility than a pro-
tocol sentence could provide. We could conceptualize a C2-like
question: from what familiar notions did this theory arise? This
C2-like formulation captures the important aspect of C2, but is
now too broad. If the positivists critique is true—that there are
meaningless terms seemingly being meaningfully discussed in
familiar philosophical theories—then merely grounding terms
in such familiar theories is insufficient. What is required is a
controlling set of restrictions: not as limiting as protocol sen-
tences, but more binding than on open-ended appeal to merely
familiar notions. I propose that the descriptive sentence gener-
ated by step-one of the Canberra Plan is capable of providing
the needed controlling role.
Daniel Nolan has argued (and many planners would agree)
that, since one of the goals of step-one is a sentence capable of
having a suitable realizer located by relevant experts, it seems
that a planner can only seriously forward descriptive sentences
capable of physical realization (Nolan, 2009: p. 269). If it is the
case that the only claims that can pass from step-one to step-
two are inherently physicalistic,4 then the only types of claims
that can satisfy C2* will also be inherently physicalistic. This
will put a significant restriction on the type of terms that can
satisfy C2*. Although the positivists would likely agree with
such a physicalistic system, this may be too much for any with
non-physicalist intuitions.5
If, on the other hand, the Plan is not an inherently physicalis-
tic, then C1 plays an important role in the shaping of the de-
scriptive sentence. C1 requires that there be empirical criteria
for the application of the theoretical term. If physicalism is built
into the Plan, then this will likely not be a problem as physical-
ism is a more demanding principle than the need for empirical
criteria. Yet, if physicalism is not inherent to the Plan, then the
added requirement of empirical content will help to exclude
overly vague/ambiguous terms and notions of the sort that wor-
ried the positivists.
Despite the restrictive nature of C2*, if this were the only al-
teration to Carnap’s criteria of meaning, then it would likely be
insufficient. Step-one of the Canberra Plan likely still allows for
the analysis of a great many concepts that fail to apply to any-
thing that actually exists. Recall that the inclusion of protocol
sentences in the original C2 caused C2 to, in a sense, engage in
double duty. Protocol sentences sought to ground terms in the
world either through sense data or direct observation. To bor-
row from Canberra terminology, the inclusion of protocol sen-
tences in the original C2 both helped to define terms and to
locate their realizers given that, whenever one had the relevant
sense data (or made the direct observations), then the referent
of the term was present. A strength of the Canberra Plan is the
division of labor between description and location. My inclu-
sion of C2* formally separates analysis and location. C2*
represents the analyzing of the concept picked out by the terms,
where C4* will fill the role of the location phase.
The new C2* seems to follow in the general guiding prince-
ple set forward by C2. C2* still grounds the analysis of a con-
cept in a trusted vocabulary. Yet, while still restrictive, this
vocabulary is nevertheless more flexible and adaptable than the
positivists’ original conceptions of sense data and/or direct
C4*: C4 & Step-Two
It may be tempting to simply replace C4 with the location
step of the Canberra Plan. Yet, what is needed is a more sub-
stantial understanding than a simple substitution allows. As I
shall show, the second step of the Canberra Plan is contained in
what I will propose as C4*, but the second step by itself is not
sufficient—particularly given the possibility that a unique real-
izer of the descriptive sentence would not/could not be located.
4The Canberra planners typically diverge from the positivists’ meaning o
“physicalism”. The positivists took the central claim of physicalism to be
about language (all emerpical language could be reduced and/or translated
into the language of physics); planners take physicalism as a claim about
the objects, properties, and relations. The central claim of physicalism, as
used by Canberra planners, is a commitment to there being no objects,
properties, and relations over and above physical objects: the only obejcts
that exist are those that are described by the natural sciences.
5A comprehensive defense of physicalism of this sort is beyond the scope o
this project.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 433
(C4*) The descriptive sentence generated in C2* is either
classifiable as meaningful but absent a unique realizer
(MAR) or meaningful and with a located realizer present
(MLR), but not both.
There are many reasons why a folk theory may have a de-
scriptive sentence whose unique realizer (if any) cannot (or
should not) be located. Location may be unethical, too difficult
given modern technology, too expensive, physically impossible,
etc. In addition, the sentence generated in C2* may involve
terms that simply fail to denote existing objects. Location may
not be possible if the O-terms or platitudes denote objects that
do not exist in the actual world. Any attempt to provide criteria
for meaning must address these concerns.
With these accommodations, the new criteria of meaning are
still able to effectively winnow out many of the terms that trou-
bled the positivists: terms that are neither MAR terms nor MLR
terms have failed some previous criterion of meaning. Thus,
such terms are meaningless (just as it would be under Carnap’s
original construction).
Descriptive sentences produced during step-one (now incur-
porated into C2*) seem to have meaning whether or not they
are actually uniquely realized. It seems too much to demand
that all terms in the sentence generated at C2* must themselves
be analyzed (ala step-one) and then have a located unique real-
izer (ala step-two) located in the world in order to be meaning-
ful. One cannot discard as meaningless a term like ‘torture’
simply because one does not have the stomach to attempt to
locate the referent of the term. Yet, the preference for realiza-
tion cannot and should not be dismissed.
A Postitivist-esque Theory of Meaning: Carnap
& Canberra
By revising Carnap’s original criteria to reflect Canberra
Plan methodology, I have attempted to solve problems associ-
ated with the postivists’ theory of meaning and provide a theory
of meaning for the Canberra Plan. Although there is a great deal
more to be done, I nevertheless believe I have accomplished
what I set out to do: this new criteria seems to take seriously the
positivists’ initial charge of rampant meaninglessness, yet pos-
its a solution that, while sufficiently strong, nevertheless avoids
some of the pitfalls associated with the positivists’ initial ef-
To address the concern, I suggest two categories of mean-
ingfulness: meaningful and with a located unique realizer
(MLR), and meaningful but absent a unique realizer (MAR).
MAR terms meet criteria C1, C2*, and C3, but cannot or
should not have a unique realizer located (due to ethical, fiscal,
etc. considerations), even though a method by which a potential
unique realizer could be located is known. An example of an
MAR term may be the descriptive sentence of analyzing the
term ‘torture’. It is understood how one could finish the Can-
berra two-step and complete the location phase, but to do so
would be barbaric. An MAR term should not be confused with
a meaningless term. To be classified as an MAR term, we have
to know what it would take to locate a suitable realizer, but (for
whatever reason) the location phase has not commenced or has
not yet yielded any results. A meaningless term, on the other
hand, is a term in which one or more of the other three criteria
have not been met.
I would like to thank Deborah Smith and David Odell-Scott
for their continued support and guidance. I would also like to
thank Kwang-Sae Lee who I hope now spends his time taking
walks with Kant and having beers with Heidegger—hopefully
in that order.
Braddon-Mitchell, D., & Nola, R. (Eds.) (2009). Conceptual analysis
and philosophical natural is m. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
The other category, MLR, meets all the requirements of C1,
C2*, and C3 and has a unique realizer located in the world. For
example, ‘neutrino’ is a term that is MLR because a descriptive
sentence was generated in line with the added requirements of
C1 and C3, and a particle was located in the world that realizes
that sentence. An MAR term can become an MLR term if loca-
tion of a unique realizer occurs. MLR terms have greater epis-
temic weight than MAR terms because the realizers of MLR
terms have been successfully located. This distinction helps to
recapture some of the epistemic notions lost when C2 was
abandoned in favor of C2*.
Carnap, R. (2003). The elimination of metaphysics through logical
analysis of language. In J. Baillie (Ed.), Contemporary analytic phi-
losophy (pp. 155-171). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education.
Carnap, R. (1995). An introduction to the philosophy of science. M
Gardner (Ed.). New York: Dover Publications Inc.
Friedman, M. (1999) Reconsidering logical positivism. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Hempel, K. (2007). Studies in the logic of confirmation. In M. Lange
(Ed.), Philosophy of science: An anthology (pp. 34-61). Malden, MA:
Blackwell Publishing.
Jackson, F. (1998). From metaphysics to ethics. Oxford: Clarendon
This distinction also allows for potentially non-denoting
terms to remain meaningful. For example, ‘Santa Claus’ is an
MAR term because the method of location is known. We could
exhaustively search the North Pole for a person meeting the
descriptive sentence generated by analyzing the term ‘Santa
Claus’. The Santa Claus theory is (presumably) false,6 but not
meaningless: it meets the four criteria of meaning. The provi-
sion for MAR terms in C4* allows the new criteria to be more
flexible than Carnap’s original criteria of meaning. Since MLR
terms carry the greatest epistemic weight, the goal of analysis
should be the identification of MLR terms. MAR terms can
then be seen as a necessary sub-case of terms. Therefore, I
propose the following as the new C4:
Lewis, D. (1983). Philosophical papers. New York: Oxford University
Nolan, D. (2009). Platitudes and metaphysics. In D. Braddon-Mitchell,
& R. Nola (Ed.), Conceptual analysis and philosophical naturalism
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