April 14. 2010, IHPST, Paris


9.30am-12pm: Prof. Graham Bird (University of Manchester), “Logic and Ontology: Assessing the differences between Carnap and Quine”

2pm-4.30pm: Prof. Gurol Irzik (Sabanci University, Istanbul) “Carnap and Kuhn on Rationality of Science”

Organisation: D.Chapuis-Schmitz

Program ANR Logiscience (resp. P. Wagner)


This workshop aims at examining anew the relevance of the idea of a non theoretical form of rationality as it manifests itself in the Carnapian distinction between internal questions, which are specific to a theoretical framework, and external questions, which deal with the constitution and elaboration of such a framework. We will attempt to gain a better understanding of this distinction and to assess its relevance by confronting Carnap’s position to Kuhn’s and Quine’s respectively. Is it possible to maintain a form of non theoretical rationality without falling pray to instrumentalism? How is this kind of rationality to be justified ? A better understanding of Carnap’s position on this point may give some support to what could be called a third way between relativism and scientist rationalism.


Graham Bird

The paper offers initially a general comparison between Carnap’s and Quine’s philosophical positions with an emphasis on Quine’s deflationary and naturalistic attitudes. It then reconsiders their disagreement over ontology from “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology”, and finally makes an assessment of their differences with an indication of a personal preference for Carnap.

Gürol Irzik

In this talk, I discuss Carnap’s and Kuhn’s views about the rationality of science and argue that although there are some differences between them, there are also striking similarities, neither of which are sufficiently appreciated, if at all.