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Unformatted text preview: Notes for Week 8 of Confirmation 10/24/07 Branden Fitelson 1 Carnapian Explication: The Basics and a Canonical Example In chapter 1 of Logical Foundations of Probability , Carnap describes the methodology he plans to adopt in his development of confirmation theory. He calls it explication . Heres how Carnap characterizes explication: The task of explication consists in transforming a given more or less inexact concept into an exact one or, rather, in replacing the first by the second. We call the given concept (or the term used for it) the explicandum , and the exact concept proposed to take the place of the first (or the term proposed for it) the explicatum . The explicandum may belong to everyday language or to a previous stage in the development of scientific language. The explicatum must be given by explicit rules for its use, for example, by a definition which incorporates it into a well-constructed system of scientific either logicomathematical or empirical concepts. . . . if a solution for a problem of explication is proposed, we cannot decide in an exact way whether it is right or wrong. Strictly speaking, the question whether the solution is right or wrong makes no good sense because there is no clear-cut answer. The question should rather be whether the proposed solution is satisfactory, whether it is more satisfactory than another one, and the like. Carnap lays down four requirements ( desiderata ) for an explicatum in a satisfactory explication: A concept must fulfil the following requirements in order to be an adequate explicatum for a given expli- candum: (1) similarity to the explicandum, (2) exactness, (3) fruitfulness, (4) simplicity. . . . (1) The explicatum is to be similar to the explicandum in such a way that in most cases in which the explicandum has so far been used, the explicatum can be used; however, close similarity is not required, and considerable differences are permitted. (2) The characterization of the explicatum . . . (e.g., in the form of a definition), is to be given in an exact form, so as to introduce the explicatum into a well-connected system of scientific concepts. (3) The explicatum is to be a fruitful concept . . . useful for the formulation of many universal statements (empirical laws in the case of a nonlogical concept, logical theorems in the case of a logical concept). (4) The explicatum should be as simple . . . as the more important requirements (1), (2), and (3) permit. Carnaps canonical example is that of providing an explication of the pre-scientific explicanda warm and warmer than. Warm is a qualitative ( classificatory ) explicandum and warmer than is comparative . According to Carnap, we can think of temperature (in its precise, scientific sense) as an explicatum for warmer than. Since temperature is a quantitative concept, we can use it to formulate both comparative an qualitative explicata. For the explicandum x is warmer than y , we have the explicatum...
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