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									LO: I will know about the Verification principle and its
          implications for religious statements
 Statements may be proved true or false by an empirical
   Who is the nasty alien?
 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
 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

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