verification principle


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verification principle

n
(Philosophy) (in the philosophy of the logical positivists) the doctrine that nontautologous statements are meaningful only if it is in principle possible to establish empirically whether they are true or false
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But I have bad news for the Verification Principle that many have based their life on.
It finds expression in the willingness of these philosophers to embrace certain metaphilosophical principles--such as the verification principle of meaning--even while recognizing that these principles are self-defeating.
George's answer to all this was "simply Catholicism" -- an attitude that accepts Christ's gifts to his church, including the gospel, the sacraments, and especially the visible government of the church "through the successors of The Twelve." The bishops, he explained, provide a sure "reality check" for the continuity of the apostolic faith, since they can neither change established dogmas nor create new ones "unless they want to become heretics." If doctrine does develop, he added, the bishops serve as "the verification principle" by which the faithful know what is authentic and what is not.
An opening chapter runs through some historical material including Anselm's argument(s), Gaunilo's objection, Descartes' argument, Leibniz's contributions, Kant's objections (with the verdict that Kant at least provides no good ground for the claim that existence is not a predicate), and the more general Logical Positivist critique of religious statements (concluding that there is no satisfactory version of the verification principle, nor any good justification for the principle even supposing it could be well formulated).
Though the Tractatus contains no explicit statement of the Verification Principle, Wittgenstein endorsed a strong form of it in conversations with Schlick and Walsmann in 1929; Hacker rightly concludes, "There can be no doubt that Wittgenstein espoused verificationism in 1929-30, or that the members of the Circle derived their principle, and their criterion of meaninglessness, from him" (p.
He succeeds in this objective insofar as he distances himself from classical analytic positions, all of which are explored in some detail as aspects of the formal evidential model of rationality: "the verification principle, Flew's falsification principle, Popper's falsification principle, the evidential principle, the proportionality principle, the rule principle, and the principles of simplicity, scope and explanatory power" (173).
It is common for students to be initially attracted to a strong version of the verification principle, to be convinced of its hopelessness in the face of the usual criticisms, but to be left without anything to satisfy the intuition which prompted that original attraction.
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