Prof. Erich Reck PhD

October 25th until December 5th, 2021

Affiliation: University of California at Riverside

Research for a study about:

Carnap, Meta-Logic, and Meta-Philosophy

Erich Reck is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside.  He has also taught, as Visiting Professor, at the University of California at Irvine (LPS Department), the University of Munich, Germany (MCMP), and McMaster University, Canada (Department of Philosophy and Russell Archives).  He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago and, earlier, an M.S. in mathematics from the University of Bonn, Germany.  His work falls into three main areas: philosophy of mathematics; history and philosophy of logic; and 19th/20th-century philosophy, especially history of analytic philosophy and Neo-Kantianism.  Currently he is writing a booklet, entitled Wittgenstein’s Reception of Frege, for the Cambridge Elements on Wittgenstein series; and he is co-editing and co-translating Vol. III of Rudolf Carnap’s Collected Writings, which concerns Carnap’s contributions to logic in the 1920s and early 30s.


Carnapian Explication: Origins and Shifting Goals

Date:  November 22nd, 2021

Time: 5–6.30 pm (CET)

Online Plattform: Please find further information at Logic Cafe



In current analytic philosophy, Carnapian explication has become a prominent method again, also under the names of conceptual engineering and mathematical philosophy.  But there are questions about the reach and limits of this method, and in particular, about the goals for which it is appropriate.  In my talk, this topic is approached by reconsidering the origins of Carnapian explication, in the sense of its original inspirations and guiding paradigms.  As Carnap tells us, those lie in the logical and philosophical works of Frege, Russell, and Tarski, but also in certain advances in the sciences.  This raises two questions:  What were the underlying goals in those cases, thus the functions explication was supposed to serve?  Were those goals and functions sufficiently uniform to provide helpful orientation for us, both with respect to Carnap and current appeals to explication?  Insofar as answers to these questions are not as easy as one might expect, an important dimension of explication is in need of further clarification and critique, as I will argue.  What is at issue, at bottom, is the relationship between philosophical and scientific goals, and with it, between the methodologies appropriate for each.