Religious language

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The Vienna Circle were a group of...
Logical positivist philosophers
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what is 'Logical Positivism'?
the belief that philosophers should analyse language.
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what is the verification principle?
a statement is only meaningful if it can be verified analytically or empirically (i.e. it is tautology)
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what did Locke and Hume argue?
that knowledge can only be found in our senses. so the existence of God is a meaningless issue.
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who proposed the weak verification principle?
A.J Ayer.
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what did the weak verification principle say about religious statements?
they are only meaningful if they are tautology/a priori, or if they are verifiable in principle.
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what makes the weak VP different to the strong VP?
it allows historical events to be meaningful.
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how did Hick criticise the weak verification principle?
Celestial City analogy - at the end of life we can prove religious statements.
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name 3 weaknesses of the strong verification principle.
1)rigid, can't make statements about history. 2)scientific laws e.g. gravity meaningless. 3) statements about art meaningless as non-cognitive.
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what did Karl Popper say in support of the Falsification Principle?
“science is more concerned with falsification of hypothesis than with the verification.” - if a theory can't be disproved, it is no theory at all.
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who's parable does Flew use to support the FP, and what is it called?
John Wisdoms Parable of the Gardener
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explain the Parable of the Gardener
2 explorers come across a clearing in a jungle.It contains weeds and flowers.One claims there must be a gardener.The other denies it.They set traps but no gardener appears.One gardener says the gardener is invisible,inaudible,intangible,undetectable.
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how does Flew criticise constant qualifications of God in religion?
if a believer’s statement about God can be made to fit into any circumstance, it is not meaningful and has no empirical implications. he says the believer allows their definition of God to ‘die a death of a thousand qualifications.’
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what does the falsification principle aim to do?
assess the meaningfulness of statements by seeing if they can be falsified.
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how does R.M Hare criticise the FP?
he argued that religious statements are 'bliks' and they can be neither verified or falsified but they are “modes of cognition” which have significant importance to they way one orders their life.
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explain R.M Hares example of the lunatic student.
a lunatic student believed that all his professors wanted to kill him, nothing could alter his belief.In the same way,believers will not stop believing in God or allow their belief to be falsified.This is meaningful to THEM.
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explain how Basil Mitchell's parable of the partisan and the stranger criticises the FP.
religious people do allow evidence to count against their belief but not to count decisively against. e.g. Partisan meets stranger claiming to be the leader of the resistance.Partisan has faith even when there is evidence to the contrary.
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how does Richard Swinburne criticise the FP?
he says there are many unfalsifiable statements, like religious statements, which have meaning. for example the toys in the cupboard may come ut and move when we aren't looking, leaving no trace.
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how does Hick criticise the FP?
eschatological verification, he says that religious statements may be able to be verified at the end of life, but they cannot be falsified.
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Card 2


what is 'Logical Positivism'?


the belief that philosophers should analyse language.

Card 3


what is the verification principle?


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Card 4


what did Locke and Hume argue?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


who proposed the weak verification principle?


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