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Religious language


Logical positivism
The logical positivists were a group of people who belonged to the Vienna Circle in the
1920s-30s.

They believed that any assertion made which was meaningful/of meaning has to be
verified with a fixed conclusion.

They treated claims made about God as cognitive, meaning that the…

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Strong verification principle
Rejected any talk of ethics, metaphysics, historical and even scientific claims as they work in
probability rather than certainty. All claims about these subjects were reduced by the logical
positivist to personal opinion meaning that they were subjective claims without fixed
meaning.

The strong verification principle only…

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Flew's Falsification principle
For Flew any statement has meaning if the person making the claim accepts that there may
be evidence to count against it (falsify). The statement is factual if it cannot be falsified using
sense experience. The statement is meaningless if we refuse to allow it to be…

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Religious & philosophical responses to the verification principle
Logical positivists are failing to understand the meaning behind religious language. It is
meant as non-cognitive and is meaningful on a personal level for believers. The logical
positivists have taken the assertions as cognitive which aims to portray facts about
God/universal truth…

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Strengths Weaknesses
Set rules to follow- less room for Atheists and believers can grasp the ideas
misinterpretation. behind each other's words.
Recognises the diversity of language uses. Doesn't allow for religious language to be
empirically tested. Doesn't stand up to
verification or falsification
No clashes over what can't be established.…

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student remained adamant that they wanted to harm him and would not let anything falsify
his claim. This shows that individuals hold a view of the world known as a blik. Your blik is your
particular view of the world and doesn't need to be verified or falsified in order…

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There are two people on a journey.

They come across a single road.

One believes that the road leads to the celestial city but the other doesn't.

They have no choice but to follow it.

Neither of them had come across the road before and therefore none of them can…

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He believed that there was a middle way in language which allows for humans to speak
meaningfully about God. This was through analogy.

Aquinas argued that we only have day to day language to use when talking about God but as
God is perfect and wholly other the words we…

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we have these attributes (wisdom, goodness, ect) these qualities are attributed to us
analogically whilst God possesses them perfectly.

Problems with Analogy
Aquinas is basing his theory on his belief that there is a God. This belief doesn't stand up to
verification and therefore the logical positivists or falsificationists as…

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However, in the case of trying to make universal truth claims about God this theory would
be incoherent.

Ramsey's models & qualifiers
Ramsey came up with the theory of analogy in the 20th century. He refers to it as `models'
and `qualifiers'. A model is an analogy to help us…

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