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

falsification principle

Extracts from this document...


The falsification principle offers no real challenge to religious belief. (45) There are several principles and arguments which try to challenge religious belief by raising questions about it. One of these principles is the falsification principle which questions the meaningfulness of religious statements by checking if they can be falsified, or not as the cases may be. The thing that must be examined however is whether the challenges made by such a principle are really strong enough to challenge people's beliefs. The Falsification Principle is a similar principle to the verification principle as both states that statements are only meaningful if it can be proven true or false, verified or falsified. The falsification principle however if more focused on the idea of falsifying statements, as the name would suggest, and says that religious statements are meaningless because people(believers) will let nothing count against them no matter what the evidence. For example believers may have the belief that 'God is loving' and no matter how strong or how much evidence I could provide to show the opposite the believers would still have reasons why, in spite of everything, God continues to be loving. ...read more.


Hare which affects its ability to really challenge religious belief. Hare argued that religious statements are meaningful as the falsification principle cannot be used on them as they are non-cognitive. Hare argued this because he said that the falsification principle can only be used on cognitive statements which make factual claims and religious statements don't do this. Religious statements are also meaningful in Hare's argument as they influence the way people behave and live their lives and must therefore have meaning to that person and so no matter what the evidence they will continue to believe it. Hare named such a way of looking at the world a 'blik'. Swinburne was against the falsification principle as he argued that there are statements that cannot be falsified yet they must still have meaning because we can understand them. He used the example of toys in a toy cupboard in order show his point of view as we have no way of proving or disproving (falsifying) if toys in the toy cupboard move around or come out when we are not watching them yet we still understand the concept so it does have meaning. ...read more.


Tillich is challenged by Paul Edwards who says that religious language is not symbolic because we have no way of checking to see if the concepts are true or remotely accurate. Edwards argued that it was inappropriate to describe religious language as symbolic as there is no factual basis behind the symbol and it can therefore lead to misinterpretation or misunderstanding. Edwards therefore strengthens Flews argument that religious statements are meaningless and adds to his challenge to religious belief. Overall it would therefore seem that the falsification principle does make some key points about the meaningfulness of religious language which could rock many peoples religious beliefs but the criticism put forward by people such as Hare, Mitchell, and Swinburne as well as Tillich's view of religious language as symbolic make it much less of a real challenge. However when you take into account the criticism of Tillich as well it makes his view a lesser threat to taking away the challenge put forward by the falsification principle if not totally dismissing it, which would suggest it rests on the strengths of the criticism of the falsification principle to decide if it is a real challenge to religious beliefs or not. ...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. "Religious Language is meaningless." Discuss.

    There have been some philosophers interested in religious language that have said that God can only be described in terms of what he is not. For example, "God is not the clouds". This is called the Principle of Negation. Marmiondes was a notable believer of this principle.

  2. Religious language is meaningless, Discuss

    a road sign. A symbol is something that stands or is used in place of something else. Tillich held God could only be described using symbols but never literally. He said the symbol is transcending meaning something in it's own sense which points to something greater of higher in reality.

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

    By meaningless Ayer meant that a statement was not factually significant. Ayer was not denying that people make other type of statements that are important to them, such as saying that God answers my prayers; it is just that unverifiable statements do not have factually significance.

  2. Comment on the claim religious language can never be meaningful Answer this question with ...

    No gardener is ever seen. The believer wonders if there is an invisible gardener, so they patrol with bloodhounds but the bloodhounds never give a cry. Yet the believer remains unconvinced, and insists that the gardener is invisible, has no scent and gives no sound.

  1. The verification principle does not provide any real challenges to religious people when talking ...

    To illustrate, one could say that "within the universe there are other planets supporting life", meaning that if you were able to examine every planet in the universe, then it could be concluded it is probable that life does exist on other planets.

  2. Ethical language is meaningless. Discuss.

    Synthetic statements are the idea that the truth or falsity of a statement can be determined by checking to establish the facts either way. Ethical statements are not verifiable ? there are no empirical facts which can be checked to see if any ethical statement is true or false ? so they are meaningless.

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