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What do you see? According to logical positivism, do your statements have meaning? What do you see? According to logical positivism, do your statements.

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Presentation on theme: "What do you see? According to logical positivism, do your statements have meaning? What do you see? According to logical positivism, do your statements."— Presentation transcript:

1 What do you see? According to logical positivism, do your statements have meaning? What do you see? According to logical positivism, do your statements have meaning?

2 1.Empirical: to do with evidence that is available to the five senses. 1.Analytical: Analytic statements give us information about what words mean, like in dictionaries or tautologies. 1.Synthetic: Give information about reality rather than just defining our use of language. Eg. It’s raining today! These statements must be verifiable by empirical evidence. 1.Tautology: a logical statement that we can know to be true by definition. 1.What does ‘Empirical evidence’ mean? 2.What is an Analytic statement? 3.What is a Synthetic statement? 4.What is a Tautology?

3 Friedrich Waismann, a member of the Vienna Circle described logical positivism as: “Anyone uttering a sentence must know under what conditions he calls it true, and under what conditions he calls it false. If he is unable to state these conditions, he does not know what he has said. A statement which cannot be conclusively verified cannot be verified at all. It is simply devoid of any meaning.”

4 LO: Understand why A J Ayer developed the verification principle Homework: Keep reading

5 In Language, Truth and Logic A. J. Ayer has several motivations: He wishes to follow both Hume and the thinkers of the Vienna Circle in rejecting metaphysics as meaningless. Chapter 1 of Language, Truth and Logic is entitled ‘the elimination of metaphysics’. Ayer argues that for a statement to be meaningful it must be either a tautology (a priori) or verifiable in principle (a posteriori). However, it is the criteria of statements that are verifiable in principle that is perhaps most closely associated with Ayer. Metaphysics – literally meaning ‘above or beyond physics, metaphysics involves questions concerning being and ultimate reality.

6 What is it? Read Kirkwood’s ‘Meaningless Chatter’ section on weak verification.

7 Making deductions. Context. A man has died as a result of a bullet wound to the head. People suspect it was suicide but Sherlock has other ideas … ‘The issue is about probability, not certainty. The point at issue is that observational evidence can never render a prediction or generalization certain; it can, however, render either or both probable [or likely]. The question is: how probable?’ Alister McGrath

8 The sentence, ‘all sweaty socks stink’ is meaningless under the Strong Verification Principle and meaningful under the weak one. Explain.

9 Which statements are verifiable in a weak sense? If they are verifiable in a weak sense, how are the statements verifiable? Near-death experiences indicate that there is life after death The Yeti walks in the Himalayas Unicorns are white God exists Real Madrid are the best football team in Europe Martians live inside the planet Mars

10 Pg 15 of textbook Where Ayer differs from the Vienna Circle Criticisms of the weak verification principle

11 5-5-1 from today’s and yesterday’s lesson. Use the rest of the lesson to do silent reading from the handouts previously given.


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