Taking models seriously and being a linguistic realist





Anti-realism, linguistic framework, metaontology, scientific realism, wave function realism


Carnap’s conception of linguistic frameworks is widespread; however, it is not entirely clear nor consensual to pinpoint what is the influence in his stance within the traditional realist/anti-realist debate. In this paper, we place Carnap as a proponent of a scientific realist stance, by presenting what he called “linguistic realism”. Some possible criticisms are considered, and a case study is offered with wave function realism, a popular position in the philosophy of quantum mechanics.


Allori, V. 2020. Scientific Realism without the Wave Function. In: S. French & J. Saatsi (ed.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum, p.212-228. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Anderson, D. L. 1992. What Is Realistic about Putnam’s Internal Realism?. Philosophical Topics, 20(1): 49-83.

Arenhart, J. R. B. & Arroyo, R. W. 2021a. Back to the question of ontology (and metaphysics). Manuscrito 44(2): 1-51.

Arenhart, J. R. B. & Arroyo, R. W. 2021b. On physics, metaphysics, and metametaphysics. Metaphilosophy 52(2): 175-199.

Arroyo, R. W. & Arenhart, J. R. B. 2019. Between physics and metaphysics: A discussion of the status of mind in quantum mechanics. In: J. A. de Barros & C. Montemayor, Quanta and Mind: Essays on the Connection between Quantum Mechanics and the Consciousness, p. 31-42. Cham: Springer.

Arroyo, R. W. & da Silva, G. O. 2021. Against ‘Interpretation’: Quantum Mechanics Beyond Syntax and Semantics. Axiomathes: 1-37.

Bohm, D. & Hiley, B. J. 2006. The Undivided Universe: An Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Theory. London: Routledge.

Bokulich, A. 2020. Losing Sight of the Forest for the ψ: Beyond the Wavefunction Hegemony. In: S. French & J. Saatsi (ed.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum, p.185-211. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Britannica. 2022. Deflate. Britannica English Dictionary. https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/deflate. Access: 05.04.2022.

Bueno, O. 2016. Carnap, Logicism, and Ontological Commitment. In: S. Costreie (ed.), Early Analytic Philosophy: New Perspectives on the Tradition, p. 337-352. Cham: Springer, p.

Cambridge University. 2022. Deflate, Cambridge English Dictionary, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/deflate. Access: 05.04.2022.

Carnap, R. 1931. Überwindung der Metaphysik durch logische Analyse der Sprache. Erkenntnis 2(1): 219-241.

Carnap, R. 1938. Empiricism and the Language of Science, Synthese 3(12): 33-35.

Carnap, R. 1939. Foundations of Logic and Mathematics. In: O. Neurath; R. Carnap; C. Morris (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, vol. 1, p. 139-213. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Carnap, R. 1947. Meaning and Necessity. A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic, 1st ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Repr. Meaning and Necessity. A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic, 2nd ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956.

Carnap, R. 1950. Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology. Revue International de Philosophie, 4. Reprint in: Carnap. R. 1956. Meaning and Necessity. A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Carnap, R. 1963. Intellectual Autobiography. In: P. A. Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap, p.3-84. (The Library of Living Philosophers). Chicago: Open Court.

Carnap, R. 1966. Philosophical Foundations of Physics: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. New York: Basic Books.

Carnap, R. 2003. Pseudoproblems in Philosophy: The Heteropsychological and the Realism Controversy. In: Carnap, R. The Logical Structure of the World [and] Pseudoproblems in Philosophy, 2nd ed. Trans. by Rolf A. George. Chicago: Open Court.

Chakravartty, A. 2017. Scientific Realism. In: E. N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Summer 2017 Edition. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/scientific-realism/. Access: 05.04.2022.

Chakravartty, A. & van Fraassen, B. C. 2018. What is Scientific Realism? Spontaneous Generations 9(1): 12-25.

Chalmers, D. 2009. Ontological Anti-Realism. In: Chalmers, D.; Manley, D.; Wasserman, R. (ed.). Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology, p.77-129. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

da Silva, G. O. 2020. Os empiristas vão à missa: compromissos ontológicos e frameworks linguísticos. PhD thesis. Campinas: University of Campinas (UNICAMP). https://repositorio.unicamp.br/Acervo/Detalhe/1128755. Access: 05.04.2022.

Davidson, D. 1963. The method of extension and intension. In: P. A. Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap, p.311–349. (The Library of Living Philosophers). Chicago: Open Court, 1963.

Demopoulos, W. 2013. Logicism and its Philosophical Legacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dürr, D. & Lazarovici, D. 2020. Understanding Quantum Mechanics: The World According to Modern Quantum Foundations. Cham: Springer, 2020

Einstein, A. 1921. Geometrie und Erfahrung: Erweiterte Fassung des Festvortrages Gehalten an der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin am 27. Januar 1921. Berlin: Springer.

Eklund, M. 2009. Carnap and Ontological Pluralism. In: Chalmers, D.; Manley, D.; Wasserman, R. (ed.). Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology, p.130-156. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Falguera, J. L. & Martínez-Vidal, C. 2020. Preface. In: Falguera, J. L. & Martínez-Vidal, C. (ed.). Abstract Objects: For and Against, p.v-xviii. Cham: Springer.

Feigl, H. 1950. Existential Hypotheses. Realistic versus Phenomenalistic Interpretations. Philosophy of Science 17(1): 35-62.

French, S. 2014. The structure of the world: Metaphysics and representation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Friedman, M. 2012. Carnap’s Philosophical Neutrality Between Realism and Instrumentalism. In: Frappier, M.; Brown, D.; DiSalle, R. (ed.). Analysis and Interpretation in the Exact Sciences: Essays in honour of William Demopoulos, p.95-114. Dordrecht: Springer.

Gentile, N. A. & Gaeta, R. L. 2005. El neutralismo ontológico de Rudolf Carnap. V Jornadas de Investigación en Filosofía: 1-10.

Hofweber, T. 2016. Carnap’s Big Idea. In: S. Blatti & S. Lapointe. (ed.). Ontology after Carnap, p.13-30. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jaksland, R. 2020. Old problems for neo-positivist naturalized metaphysics. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10(16): 1-19.

Kraut, R. 2021. Rudolf Carnap: Pragmatist and expressivist about ontology. In: R. Bliss & J. T. M. Miller (ed.). The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics, p.32-48. London: Routledge.

Maudlin, T. 2019. Philosophy of physics: Quantum theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Maudlin, T. 2007. The metaphysics within physics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Merriam-Webster. 2022. Deflate. Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deflate. Access: 05.04.2022.

Mizrahi, M. 2020. The Relativity of Theory: Key Positions and Arguments in the Contemporary Scientific Realism/Antirealism Debate. Cham: Springer.

Neuber, M. 2014. Is Logical Empiricism Compatible With Scientific Realism? In: M. C. Galavotti; E. Nemeth; F. Stadler (ed.), European Philosophy of Science: Philosophy of Science in Europe and the Viennese Heritage, p.249-262. Cham: Springer.

Ney, A. 2014. Metaphysics: an introduction. New York: Routledge.

Ney, A. 2021. The World in the Wave Function. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Oxford University. 1989. The Oxford English Dictionary, Vol. 4, CRE-DUZ. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Parrini, P. 1994. With Carnap, beyond Carnap: Metaphysics, science, and the realism/instrumentalism controversy. In: W. Salmon and G. Wolters (ed.), Logic, Language, and the Structure of Scientific Theories, p.255-277. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press.

Psillos, S. 2011. Choosing the realist framework. Synthese 180(2): 301-316.

Psillos, S. 2012. One Cannot Be Just a Little Bit Realist: Putnam and van Fraassen. In: J. R. Brown (ed.). Philosophy of Science: The Key Thinkers, p;188-212. London: Continuum.

Psillos, S. 1999. Scientific realism: How science tracks truth. London: Routledge.

Putnam, H. 1981. Reason, Truth and History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Putnam, H. 1975. X*–What is “Realism”? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 76(1): 177-194.

Quine, W. v. O. 1951. On Carnap’s Views on Ontology. Philosophical Studies 2(5): 65-72.

Schiemer, G. 2012. Carnap’s early semantics. Erkenntnis 78(3): 487-522.

Thomasson, A. 2016. Carnap and the Prospects for Easy Ontology. In: S. Blatti & S. Lapointe, S. (ed.). Ontology after Carnap, p.122-144. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Torfehnezhad, P. 2017. In Carnap’s Defense: A survey on the concept of a linguistic framework in Carnap’s philosophy. Abstracta 9(1): 3-30.

Uebel, T. 2010. Carnap and the Perils of Ramseyfication. In: M. Suárez; M. Dorato; M. Rédei (ed.), EPSA Epistemology and Methodology of Science: Launch of the European Philosophy of Science Association, p.299-310. Dordrecht: Springer.

van Fraassen, B. C. 1980. The Scientific Image. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wallace, D. 2021. Against Wavefunction Realism. In: S. Dasgupta; R. Dotan; B. Weslake (ed.). Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science, p.63-74. New York: Routledge.

Wallace, D. 2012. The emergent multiverse: Quantum theory according to the Everett interpretation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wilson, A. 2020. The Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.






Special Issue: Models and Modeling in the Sciences