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Steinberger, Florian (2015): How Tolerant Can You Be? Carnap on Rationality. In: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
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In this paper I examine a neglected question concerning the centerpiece of Carnap's philosophy: the principle of tolerance. The principle of tolerance states that we are free to devise and adopt any well-defined form of language or linguistic framework we please. A linguistic framework defines framework-internal standards of correct reasoning that guide us in our first-order scientific pursuits. The choice of a linguistic framework, on the other hand, is an `external' question to be settled on pragmatic grounds and so not itself constrained by these (framework-internal) standards. However, even if choosing a framework is a practical matter, we would nevertheless expect the process of framework selection to be subject to rational norms. But which norms might those be? And where do they come from? I begin by showing that these questions are crucial to the success of Carnap's entire philosophical project. I then offer a response on behalf of the Carnapian which guarantees the rationality of the process of framework selection, while remaining true to Carnap's firm commitment to tolerance.