, Volume 76, Issue 2, pp 147–169 | Cite as

Carnap’s 1934 Objections to Wittgenstein’s Say/Show Distinction

  • Alexei Angelides
Original Article


In sections 18 and 73 of Carnap’s Logical Syntax of Language, Carnap famously presents what he understands to be decisive objections to Wittgenstein’s Tractarian distinction between saying and showing. However, Carnap has been criticized in recent literature for severely misinterpreting that distinction. Against this criticism it is argued that Carnap reads that distinction as applying to two distinct classes of expressions (Unsinn and sinnlos) that he holds to emerge from his reading of Tractatus 4.1212 and related Tractarian theses. It is then argued that Carnap’s counterexamples to Wittgenstein’s theses are successful given his reading, and that our analysis of his counterexamples puts us in a unique position to reevaluate his conventionalism.


Formal Concept Material Mode Logical Syntax Arithmetization Procedure Philosophical Sentence 
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I’m grateful to professors Mancosu and Sluga for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper, as well as Solomon Feferman, Michael Friedman, Gregory Lavers, William Demopoulos, and the anonymous referees for helpful comments and criticisms of earlier drafts.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stanford Philosophy DepartmentStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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