• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The verification principle does not provide any real challenges to religious people when talking about God

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"The verification principle does not provide any real challenges to religious people when talking about God" Concept of verification refers to demonstrating the truth or falsity of a statement of fact using empirical evidence. For example, a statement such as Martians visit the Earth when no one is watching is described as meaningless. Such statement is meaningless as it cannot be assessed, making it inconclusive. Another example is given by A.J Ayer of tautologies, which he claimed to be meaningful. Tautology is a statement that describes something is the case, and the statement cannot be confirmed or falsified by any statement. Example of a tautology statement is "spinsters are unmarried women". This is a tautology as the meaning of a spinster is unmarried women; hence it's referred to as analytical propositional. To understand whether language, such as the use of verification principle provide any challenge to theist, when using words, metaphors etc to understand the existence of God is problematical to philosophical learning. Although it could be said, to some extent the use of language does shake the fundamental understanding of theist God. ...read more.

Middle

To add, statements are meaningless if there is nothing that would count for or against them being true. On this basis, much of what passes for religious language would be meaningless; because none of these things can be specified in terms of concrete facts that can be checked by observation. To argue against A.J Ayer, it is critiqued that a person can never have absolute proof that there is an external thing being observed; as people could be mistaken. In other words, to base certainty on evidence, one should be aware that evidence is never certain. Also, A.J Ayer is a logical positivist, who had concentrated on a simple "picturing" view of language, but it was soon realised that language can be meaningful in terms of many other functions, such as expressing feelings, giving commands or stating preferences. However the philosophical problems such as the existence of God would be solved if the language people used corresponded to the phenomenal world, both in terms of logic and the evidence for what was being said. ...read more.

Conclusion

John Hick maintains that the verification principle is not a challenge to religious people when talking about God. He concluded that god talk is eschatologically verifiable. He also suggested that the verification principle meets the conditions of religion, as its truth is verifiable in principle. He also illustrated that truth of God's existence is verifiable at the end of things, by demonstrating the story of the Celestial City. Another view in support of religious people when talking about God is of Swinburne in his book, called God talk is evidently not nonsense. He argued that statements can be meaningful but unverifiable. He illustrated his point by giving the examples of toys in a cupboard. The toys only come out at night when no one observes them. The situation is meaningful even though it is fictitious and unverifiable. To conclude, much doubt have been raised to religious beliefs when talking about God, but however the verification principle has not managed to challenge these beliefs, for example Hare's lunatics. This illustrates that no matter what people say about God, these religious people have already made their mind up and no one can convince them or challenge them to change their view. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. The verification principle offers no real challenge to religious belief. Discuss

    Therefore it is factually meaningless according to verifcationism. AJ Ayer supported the verification theory. He suggested that "the criterion we use to test the genuineness of apparent statements of fact is the criterion of verifiability". According to Ayer if a statement is not verifiable it is either meaningless or a tautology.

  2. falsification principle

    The symbols of religious language therefore have a meaning, which can change through time in order to direct us to what they did in the past , and if religious language has meaning then religious statements must therefore be meaningful concreting religious belief.

  1. Examine and Comment on a philosophical analysis of religious experience

    in that it attempts to use empiricist reasoning (sensory experience implies objective reality) whilst not withstanding any of the usual methods for empirical verification. JOHN WISDOM's parable (which ANTHONY FLEW believed demonstrated the futility of appealing to such experience as a basis for faith)

  2. Jesus And Women

    He addresses her past in order that an honest relationship might develop, removing it as a possible source of shame that might prevent her from moving toward him.

  1. "Religious Language is meaningless." Discuss.

    logical contradiction in holding the belief and if some allowance is made for human trust. The responses to logical positivism have been split into three categories: Capitulation (giving into the challenge), Accommodation (accommodating the challenge but trying to find the evidence against it)

  2. Ethical language is meaningless. Discuss.

    The only way they can be understood is as an expression of feelings. Emotivism shows that the ethical statements we make depend on our own attitudes and feelings, and this can lead it to be criticised as just being subjectivism.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work