Carnap’s Logical Empiricism, Values, and American Pragmatism

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Mormann, Thomas
conference paper description
Abstract. Value judgments are meaningless. This thesis was one of the notorious tenets of Carnap’s mature logical empiricism. Less well known is the fact that in the Aufbau values were con-sidered as philosophically respectable entities that could be constituted from value experiences. About 1930, however, values were banished to the realm of meaning-less me-taphysics, and Carnap came to endorse a strict emotivism. The aim of this paper is to shed new light on the question why Carnap abandoned his originally positive attitude concerning values. It is argued that Carnap’s non-cognitivist attitude was the symptom of a deep-rooted and never properly dissolved tension be-tween his conflicting inclinations towards Neokantianism and Lebensphilosophie. In America Carnap’s non-cognitivism became a major obstacle for a closer collaboration between lo-gical empiricists and American pragmatists. Carnap’s persisting ad---herence to the dualism of practical life and theoretical science was the ultimate reason why he could not accept Morris’s and Kaplan’s pragmatist the-ses that cognitivism might well are compatible with a logical and empiricist scientific philosophy.