Recognising the rigidity of the original verification principle, the 20th-century British philosopher A.J. Ayer developed a weaker form. In his book 'Language, Truth and Logic' he set out the main principles of logical positivism:
- any genuine proposition must either be a tautology or be empirically verifiable.
WHAT IS THE WEAK VERIFICATION PRINCIPLE?
For an assertion to be true, one simply has to state what kind of evidence would be needed to verify its contents. This allows some scientific and historical propositions to have meaning.
- E.g. take a stupid statement: 'Putin likes Pacman.' You could prove this to be true by putting Putin in front of a Pacman arcade machine and seeing what he does. To Ayer, this would now be a meaningful statement.
Ayer's version of the VP enables us to make statements about that past, other people's emotions, and to make predictions in science.
The weak verification principle does allow for some…