VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 10 POSTED ON: 2/3/2013
LO: I will know about the Verification principle and its implications for religious statements Statements may be proved true or false by an empirical test Who is the nasty alien? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdtQ- zW0fHM&playnext=1&list=PLFAD87A922C778BA1 Verification means to ascertain (find out) the truth of something. It involves attempting to prove whether an assertion is true or false. In Vienna in the 1920’s a group of philosophers became interested in the question of how we use language as a means of conveying truth They were known as the Vienna Circle. The central principle of this group (also known as logical positivists) was that propositions only have meaning if they can be verified empirically. The belief that statements are only meaningful if Logical positivism they can be verified by the senses. There are strong and weak forms of the principle generally associated with the Vienna Circle and A. J. Ayer (1910-89) respectively. A movement in philosophy that believed that Vienna Circle the aim of philosophers should be the analysis of language, particularly the language of science. They believe that that propositions only have meaning if they can be verified empirically. Verification Principle The group of philosophers including Schlick (1882 -1936) and Neurath (1882-1945) who gave rise to the logical positivist movement. A logical statement that we can know to be true by definition. Tautology These philosophers were the logical positivists and they have their origins in a group called the Vienna Circle. They believed that some statements were meaningful and others were not. In order to distinguish between what is meaningful and what is not, the logical positivists came up with the verification principle; a statement is only meaningful if it is able to be verified by an actual experience or is a tautology. A tautology is a logical statement that we can known to be true by definition. If someone were to say that ‘triangles have three sides’ or that ‘all widows have been married’, we understand that these statements have to be the case without the need for any sensory experiences. Would logical positivists find the following propositions meaningful? Which ones are analytic and which are synthetic? 1. My shoes are size 6 2. My dog eats cucumber 3. God exists 4. A square has four equal sides 5. Swans are white 6. The mother of those puppies is a bitch ‘Only things that can be proven are worth discussing; the rest is a lot of hot air.’ 1. ‘All metals expand when heated’ 2. ‘Triangles have 3 sides’ 3. ‘God is all powerful’ 4. ‘Henry VIII had 6 wives’ 5. ‘Van Gogh was a good painter’ Think about the statements that we might make in science, maths, religion, history and art. How does the verification principle apply to these areas? Read page 13 of A2 textbooks There are four difficulties with the verification principle. What are they? Talk them through with the person next to you before some are selected to feedback to the class. What is the verification principle? What are its implications for religious statements? What are some difficulties with the verification principle?