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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Language, Truth, and Logic

Carnap took Heidegger to task for the production of ‘philosophical nonsense’. Carnap’s criterion for classifying Heidegger’s assertions as nonsense is rooted in the Logical Positivists' 'principle of verification’. According to this principle, a sentence has literal meaning if and only if the proposition it expresses is either analytic or empirically verifiable. The most obvious (or ironic) criticism of the verification principle is the extent to which it is nonsense on its own terms (i.e. it is neither analytic nor empirically verifiable), but from a Heideggerian point of view the most fruitful critique of the verification principle comes from WVO Quine and Wilfird Sellars: namely, that the verification principle assume words and sentences have a direct relation to a given empirical reality without explaining how that reality is given. And in this essay, I argue that Heidegger's so-called 'philosophical nonsense' represents a concrete attempt to explain the conditions through which empirical reality is presented to human beings such that our signs can meaningfully correspond to it.

In book

Leiden: Brill, 2014.