Verification Principle

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  • Verification Principle
    • Vienna Circle
      • Religious believers make propositions
      • Statement of fact = meaning and need to be verified
      • A fact is either true or false
      • Meaningful statements
        • Analytical propositions
          • contain all info within the statement (2+2=4)
        • Synthetic Statements
          • Factual statements confirmed by a posteriori
    • A.J Ayer
      • "The term God is a metaphysical term. And if this is so then it cannot be probable that God exists. The statement  isn't true or false; it is meaningless"
        • Denies God's existence as no way to prove it
        • Empirical statements fell short of VP as they can't be verified empirically
    • Strong Verification Principle
      • Vienna Circle
        • Religious believers make propositions
        • Statement of fact = meaning and need to be verified
        • A fact is either true or false
        • Meaningful statements
          • Analytical propositions
            • contain all info within the statement (2+2=4)
          • Synthetic Statements
            • Factual statements confirmed by a posteriori
      • Accepts only direct verifiable statements
    • Weak Verification Principle
      • A statement is factual if sense experience can go some way to confirming it
      • A.J Ayer
        • "The term God is a metaphysical term. And if this is so then it cannot be probable that God exists. The statement  isn't true or false; it is meaningless"
          • Denies God's existence as no way to prove it
          • Empirical statements fell short of VP as they can't be verified empirically
    • Strengths
      • Saves wasted time discussing God
      • Supports claims of an afterlife and religious experience
      • Supports the design argument as based on a posteriori evidence
      • Often regard verification = sense and falsification = nonsense
    • Weaknesses
      • Doesn't meet its own criteria - no empirical evidence to support VP
      • Vardy argues that if you can't verify something doesn't mean it's meaningless
      • Keith Ward argued that God's existence can be verified since God can verify his own existence
      • If you apply the WVP then you can verify anything

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