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Grazer Philosophische Studien

Volume 16/17, 1982

Herman Tennessen
Pages 385-398

Qualms About Otto Neurath's Cabby Language

Otto Neurath's everyday "cabby"-language would only have preserved its appearance of a conceptual (etc.) system-neutrality to the extent at which it were to retain its semantic amorphousness as well as its user's shallow pragmatic mtentions. This (pseudo) neutrality would be irretrievably lost the moment the constituent parts of the everyday "cabby"-language were to be precised to a degree which transcended all conceivable pragmatic mtentions reasonably attributable to a cabman or to any other everyday speaker-. Dilemma: Either we settle for a semantically and pragmatically unambitious, superficial chatter, typical of a cabman, whereby we shall gam conceptual (philosophical, theoretical etc....) neutrality, or we relinquish all aspirations towards system neutrality in favor of a higher level of preciseness, which might in turn open the possibüities for some sort of meaningful, even philosophically relevant, discourse.

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