- Falsification principle originates from Karl Popper's philosophy of science: 'Statements are scientific if our emperical experiences could potentially falsify them'
- this distinguishes science from non-science
- 'Any theory that is impossible to disprove is no vallid theory at all.' - Karl Popper
- Thus, that which is impossible to disprove is meaningless/invalid
- The Falsification principle aims to improve upon the limitations of the Verification principle
- Antony Flew applied this principle to religious language
- The problem, he realised with religious language is that it cannot be falsified - it is not a genuine statement at all
- Flew argues; when we say something is the case e.g. 'tigers have stripes' - we are also denying the opposite 'tigers do not, not have stripes'
- when you assert something, you are also asserting that there are fact which may count against your assertion.
- Flew adapted John Wisdom's Parable of the Gardener to illustrate this - two explorers in a jungle, weeds and flowers grow, one believes there is a gardener, the other does not, several attempts to find this gardener none is seen, faithful explorer does not give up their belief - just how does an invisible, intangible, eternally elusive gardener differ from an imaginary gardener or even from no gardener at all!
- Flew argues religious believer act in the same way - 'shift the goalposts', this he calls 'the death of a thousand qaulifications'
- R. M. Hare responded to the falsification principle with his theory of 'Bliks'
- He used the parable of the Lunatic - believed the 'dons' were after him, even the most kind and…
Similar Philosophy resources: