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Abstract Entities in Semantics

Abstract entities refer to objects that do not occupy space but are perceived to have distinct existences. Some examples of abstract entities are properties, numbers, classes and relations. I will also discuss the implications of including abstract realities in semantics. Finally, the paper will give a personal analysis of Carnap works. The concern on the use of abstract entities in semantics comes from the two divergent views held by semanticists. One group of semanticists; especially those inclined to science hold that some expressions refer to entities including both concrete materials and abstract entities. Concrete materials refer to tangible objects such as trees. However, other semanticists oppose such a view and argue that such a perspective goes against the principles of empiricism and takes semantics back to the “Metaphysical Ontology of the Platonic Kind” (Carnap 242). By saying that such a perspective takes semantics to “Metaphysical of the Platonic Kind” implies that the approach reduces semantics to imitation where semantics can only refer to observable objects. The paper will therefore explore the best approach that may used in inclusion of abstract entities into semantics and avert a controversy as one brought out by Carnap. It will be achieved by first discussing linguistic frameworks, numbers as abstract realities and the implication of accepting a new kind of entities. Linguistics Framework To dispel the controversy presented above, Carnap begin by discussing the linguistic frameworks. Carnap poses a question on whether there exist classes, properties and propositions and goes ahead to assert that such can only be understood by recognizing the distinction between two forms of questions touching on the reality of entities (242). Firstly, Carnap discusses about internal questions that are formulated using new structures of expression. Answers to internal questions may only be achieved by following a logical sequence or empirical methods based on whether the framework is a factual or logical one (242). Logical sequencing refers to finding answers through a series of questions. Empirical method refers to answering question using theories. On the other hand, external questions are in complex forms and require closer evaluation. The reason why complex questions are considered to be in complex form is because such questions are phrased as philosophical statements. An example of internal question is where one asks: Is this a phone on the table? To answer, evaluation is carried out based on certain rules and is usually a routine matter rather than deliberate or a rational procedure. A routine matter refers to a habitual activity. Deliberate or rational procedure is one carried out as an after thought. In rational evaluation of questions, explicit rules must be laid out for evaluation (Carnap 243). From the above, the concept of reality in internal questions refers to a scientific, empirical and non-metaphysical ideas and an expression must fit within a particular space and time before being considered as a reality. In contrast to internal questions, Carnap explains that external questions are not commonly used in the normal conversations nor are they used by scientists. External questioning is done by philosophers where realist offers affirmative answers to external questions. On the other hand, subjective idealists provide a negative response to external questions. A subjective realist only accepts philosophical ideas after representing such ideas as they should be rather than the way they are. For instance, before deciding on the issue of whether same sex marriage is right; a subjective realist will look at issues on human rights, ethics and morals. Numbers as ...Show more
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The paper will explore the arguments presented by Rudolf Carnap on the consideration of abstract entities in semantics in his works.Next, I will discuss the rules that an expression must meet for it to be considered as an abstract reality…
Abstract Entities in Semantics
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