The History of the Linguistic Circle of Copenhagen
But another aspect of lamarckism must be taken into account : it is its goal-orientedness, its idea of an inner force, not far from vitalism.
If one carefully reads Trubetzkoy's papers, his peculiar terminology like «the logic of evolution», «the subjects of evolution» acquires a new sense on the background of neo-vitalist views on evolution.
This is why I think that for Trubeckoj and also Jakobson in the pre-war period, a totality was before all not a set of negative oppositions like for Saussure, but a real , with a real ontological existence.
The peculiarity of neo-lamarckism intellectual atmosphere of the Prague Linguistic Circle is that for Trubetzkoy, Jakobson and Savickij, it was not important to know if a cultural organism chosed its physical environment or on the contrary if the physical environment thoroughly determined the cultural organism.
Even if it cannot be reduced to that, the structuralism of the so-called Prag Russians was deeply involved in an epistemological discussion pertaining to the natural sciences of the end of the 19th Century.
[electronic resource] = Prague linguistic circle papers
An entirely different moral was drawn by Reichenbach (1938) andthinkers indebted to his probabilistic conception of meaning and hisprobabilistic version of verificationism, which escaped the criticismssurveyed above by vagaries of its own. Such theorists perceive thefailure of the formalist model to accommodate the empiricalsignificance of theoretical terms to stem from its so-called deductivechauvinism. In place of the exclusive reliance on thehypothetical-deductive method these theorists employ non-demonstrativeanalogical and causal inductive reasoning to ground theoreticalstatements empirically. Like Salmon, these theorists adopt a form of“non-linguistic empiricism” which they sharplydifferentiate from the empiricism of the Vienna Circle (Salmon 1985,2003 and Parrini 1998).
Quinquagenary of the Prague Linguistic Circle, Ann Arbor : Michigan Slavic Circle.
— MORIN Edgar (1990) : , Paris : ESF.
— RADL Emanuel (1930) : , Oxford : Oxford University Press.
— SERIOT, Patrick (1996) : «Troubetzkoy, linguiste ou historiographe des totalités organiques?», in :
Language was as central to the Prague Linguistic Circle as ..
It may be wondered whether such considerations have not becomepointless, given the troubles that attempts to provide a criterion ofsignificance ran into. However, as we saw, Carnap’s 1956criterion for constructed languages remains in play. Moreover, therealso remains the informal, pragmatic approach that can be applied evenmore widely. Thus it is not without importance to see that pragmaticprinciples delineating empirical significance (like Mach’s orQuine’s Peircean insight) are not ruled out from the starteither. The reason for this is different however. For pragmatists, theanti-metaphysical demarcation criterion is not strictly speaking ameaning criterion. The pragmatic criterion of significance isexpressly epistemic, not semantic: it speaks of relevance with regardto an established cognitive practice, not in-principletruth-evaluability. This criterion is most easily expressed as aconditional norm, alongside other methodological maxims. (If you wantyour reasoning to be responsible to evidence, then avoid statementsthat experience can neither confirm or disconfirm, howeverindirectly.) So the suggestion that the criterion of empiricalsignificance can be regarded as a proposal for how to treat thelanguage of science cannot be brushed aside but for the persistentneglect of the philosophical projects of Carnap or the non-formalistleft Vienna Circle.
of language, the "Theses of the Prague Circle" was an ..
For Carnap, the empiricist criterion of significance was an analyticprinciple, but in a very special sense. As a convention, the criterionhad the standing of an analytic statement, but it was not a formallyspecifiable framework principle of the language Lnto which it pertained. Properly formulated, it was a semanticprinciple concerning Ln that was statable only inits meta-language Ln+1. To argue that thecriterion itself is meaningless because it has no standing inLn is to commit a category mistake, formeta-linguistic assertions need not have counterparts in their objectlanguages (Goldfarb 1997, Creath 2004, Richardson 2004). Nor would itbe correct to claim that the criterion hides circular reasoning,allegedly because its rejection of the meaningless depends on anunquestioned notion of experiential fact as self-explanatory (whensuch fact is still to be constituted). Importantly, Carnap’slanguage constructor does not start with fixed notions of what isempirical (rather than formal) or what is given (rather than assumedor inferred), but from the beginning allows a plurality ofperspectives on these distinctions (Ricketts 1994). Carnap’sempiricist criterion of significance is precisely this: anexplication, a proposal for how empiricists may wish to speak. It isnot an explanation of how meaning arises from what is not meaningfulin itself. Unlike theorists who wish to explain how meaning itself isconstituted, explicationists can remain untroubled by the regress offormal semantics with Tarskian strictures. For them, the lack offormal closure (the incompleteness of arithmetic and theinapplicability of the truth predicate to its own language) onlybetokens the fact that our very own home languages cannot ever befully explicated.