Carnap’s Boundless Ocean of Unlimited Possibilities : Between Enlightenment and Romanticism

  • Thomas Mormann
Part of the History of Analytic Philosophy book series (History of Analytic Philosophy)


Once upon a time, Carnap had a solid reputation as a philosophical dogmatist. He was a leading figure of logical empiricism, and logical empiricism was considered a dogmatic doctrine of the past. In the last twenty years or so, a growing number of scholars have been engaged in the task of undermining this picture. The more one engages with Carnap’s real thought, these scholars contend, the more one finds open-mindedness, tolerance, and pragmatism. As the revisionists claim, Carnap was a prodigy of tolerance, always engaged in the business of building bridges and finding ways of reconciling apparently irreconcilable philosophical positions. This novel characterization of Carnap’s philosophy culminates in some claiming for him the status of a philosopher who essentially was engaged in the promotion of enlightenment. This interpretation is pushed to new heights by André Carus’s Carnap and Twentieth-Century Thought, Explication as Enlightenment (Carus 2007a). Carus proposes to conceive of Carnap as the founding father of a new philosophy of enlightenment based on his notion of explication and characterized by an irreducible plurality of conceptualizations, each of which may flourish in its own right.


Logical Empiricism Vienna Circle Rational Deliberation German Philosophy American Pragmatist 
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© Thomas Mormann 2012

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  • Thomas Mormann

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