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The Verification principle and the Falsification principle

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Introduction

The Verification principle and the Falsification principle The verification principle was devised by a group of philosophers who called themselves the logical positivists. They were influenced by many philosophers one was Wittgenstein and is 'picture theory of language' Wittgenstein's theory was that a statement can only be meaningful if it can be pictured and/or defined in the real world. Thus only assertions of statements that were in principle, verifiable could convey factual information as they have the means to be tested. The logical positivists had three statement types: Analytical- being self-explanatory for example, 'a circle is round'. Such statements cannot be proved wrong because they have the means to prove it. Mathematical- such statements are much like analytical statements because they have the means to prove their truth, e.g. ...read more.

Middle

However the VP does run into problems, on of which the talk of god. Statements about god are no, mathematically or analytically true, and they cannot be proven by observation, and claimed experiences of god are merely subjective and biased, therefore all talk of god is nonsense in the verification principle. Also all statements that express unverifiable opinions or emotions are invalid, according to logical positivist, therefore all ethical statements ore nonsense. As they aim to persuade people by evoking certain emotions from them, they are therefore subjective and opinion, therefore meaningless. Bertrand Russell, a Cambridge mathematician and philosopher shares this. He claims that moral judgments merely express wishes and are therefore not factual. ...read more.

Conclusion

A.J Ayer proposed a weak form of the verification principle. He said that if it is possible to know what would in principle verify a statement, that it is meaningful. However religious language still did not fit in this category, things that refer to a transcendental being, which is in principle, unverifiable. The verification principle was therefore fatally flawed, so flawed that statements about the verification principle itself could not be verified (therefore making it meaningless). It failed to consist with modern science it actually sought to promote as scientific language uses metaphor and analogy to describe concepts beyond the naked eye. From the ashes of the Verification Principle rose the Falsification Principle. This principle demands that the speaker must be able to say what would count in the falsification of the statement. It was developed by Anthony Flew, who took influence form Karl Hopper, a philosopher of science. Hopper ...read more.

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