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Who are the logical positivist

Concerned with the relationship between the use of language and knowledge, rejecting it as meaningless if what they saw was non cognitive.


Who were the founders of the Vienna group

Moritz schlick and Rudolph Carnap. Influenced by Wittgenstein.


When did the logical positivist form



What did Wittgenstein say in his book to start the logical positivist

Suggested that meaningful language is connected with the things we know from our senses. The logical positivist used this to question if religious language is meaningless.


What Wittgenstein's book called



Whereof we cannot know, thereof we cannot speak.



What was Ayers role

He was influenced by Vienna circle. Educated at oxford and Eton. He developed the verification principle and decided that logical positivist had uncovered significant problems with religious language.


Ayers book

Language, truth and logic at the age of 24.


What did Ayer think of metaphysics

Describes any reality that lies beyond our senses. Ayer was only interested in what could be known through the senses, therefore Ayer thought it should be ditched.


Who said: commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion



Verification principle definition

A statement which cannot be conclusively verified, is simply devoid of meaning.


The 2 types of statements that are meaningful

Analytical: 2+2=4 etc.
Synthetical: it’s raining outside etc.

Ayer thought religious claims are non cognitive and impossible to verify so they are meaningless.


What is the problem with non cognitive facts being meaningless?

Problem of history: this would mean all history is meaningless.


Humes fork

Ayers philosophy is pinched by humes fork. Hume asserts there are 2 distinct classes of things, rational and empirical. And only the empirical can tell is useful things about the world.


How did Ayer get around the problem of verification

Ayer developer the weak verification protocol, which means things such as history can be meaningful. Instead of checking every bit of knowledge without logic and sense, we only have to say HOW it can be verified and then it is considered meaningful.


What is strong verification principle

An assertion only has meaning if it can be verified according to empirical information


What is weak verification principle

For an assertion to be tru, one simply has to state what kind of evidence ou would verify its contents. Eg, hitler invaded Poland. It is meaningful, fiction would come from eyewitnesses of the tanks rolling in etc.


Strengths of verification principle

Clear cut, provides answers. Statements about God fail the test and are hence meaningless.


Weaknesses of verification principle

Verification principle in itself is neither analytical or synthetical and therefore is meaningless itself.
Philosophical claims are neither tautologically or empirically verifiable but this doesn’t mean they are completely empty of all cognitive significance.
Weak Would mean the bible is meaningful and therefore god is meaningful and HENCE doesn’t work as itself as a theory


Brian Magee on weaknesses of the verification principle

People began to realise that this glittering new scalpel was, one operation after another, killing the patient.


Brian Magee book

Confessions of a philosopher.


Richard Swinburne criticism of verification principle

There are propositions which no one knows how to verify but they are still meaningful. Toys coming out of the cupboard at night and dance around. There is no trace and hence can’t be verified, but the is doesn’t mean they aren’t meaningless.


Hicks criticism on verification

Talk of god might be verifiable in principle. There could be evidence in the future. Future possibility: eschatological verification.
Allegory of the celetrial city


Allegory of the celetrial city

Theist and an atheist both walking down the same road. Theist believes there is a destination, atheist believes there isn’t. If they reach the estimation, the theist would be proved right. If they don’t, the atheist would be proved right.
Can be verified after death


Brummers be verification principle

Treat sentences of faith as if they were scientific sentences.


Brummers quote

The effect of this mindset for the way religious faith is understood has been disasterous


Dorothy emmets Response against verification principle

They fail to und Rostand the nature of metaphysical thinking. Natural theology should be understood though analogy.

Faith isn’t about having a complete explanation, it’s an attempt to express and understand.


Who began falsification principle

Karl popper rejected the findings of the logical positivist, and argued it was bad science. Science shouldn’t be looking for a continuous verification of its propositions, but falsification.


Who developed poppers points

Flew. VP suggests there will be bright sunshine somewhere tomorrow. FP suggests there will be thundery showers at 3pm in Leicester tomorrow. Latter is better as it puts forward more specifics and unlikely to fail.


Flews position

Theological utterances are not assertions, they have no cognitive meaning. Denies reoogicl language is meaningful