The verification principle

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  • Verification principle
    • Language based on experience
      • Must be analytical, synthetic or mathematical
    • Vienna circle concluded religious statements were meaningless
      • Ayer- Talk about God can't be proven true or false. Therefore, meaningless.
      • Dismissed any talk of religion that can't be verified empirically
      • Influenced by Vienna circle- Any discussion about anything that couldn't be logically proven is meaningless.
        • Cognitive- meaningful as they're factual statements.
          • Non-cognitive can't be verified nor falsified.
    • Important ethical statements are regarded as meaningless
    • Laws of science can't be verified
    • Historical statements can't be verified
    • A.J Ayer- Strong/weak
      • Strong= when there is no doubt over a metaphysical statement
      • Weak= No absolute proof, strong likelihood of truth
      • A.J Ayer
        • Ayer- Talk about God can't be proven true or false. Therefore, meaningless.
        • Claims about God can't be contradicted- they are not significant propositions. Neither true/false, but cannot be valid.
        • Statements about beauty/art are meaningless- E.g. beauty can't be decided on basis of observation.
        • Richard Swinburne
          • "All ravens are (at all times) black" No way to know, could be a white one, can never be certain.
          • According to the V principle- this is meaningless.
        • Also considered with after life and idea of a soul.
    • A.J Ayer
      • Claims about God can't be contradicted- they are not significant propositions. Neither true/false, but cannot be valid.
      • Statements about beauty/art are meaningless- E.g. beauty can't be decided on basis of observation.
      • Richard Swinburne
        • "All ravens are (at all times) black" No way to know, could be a white one, can never be certain.
        • According to the V principle- this is meaningless.
      • Also considered with after life and idea of a soul.
    • Wittgenstein
      • Meaning of language- "people discussing the meaning of meaning."
        • Influenced by Vienna circle- Any discussion about anything that couldn't be logically proven is meaningless.
          • Cognitive- meaningful as they're factual statements.
            • Non-cognitive can't be verified nor falsified.
    • Practical verifiability- E.g. "that shirt is yellow" can be tested. "There is life on other planets- Difficult to verify

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