Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Terminology Tuesday: Logical Positivism

Logical Positivism: Philosophical movement arising out of the Vienna Circle of philosophers in Austria after World War I. Logical positivism combined the commitment to empiricism found in nineteenth-century positivism (Comte) with the type of logical analysis found in the work of Bertrand Russell. It affirmed a verifiability theory of meaning, in which nonanalytic propositions have cognitive meaning only if they are empirically verifiable. On the basis of this theory, logical positivists asserted metaphysical and theological propositions to be meaningless, and they analyzed ethical propositions as merely having expressive meaning.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 70.

5 comments :

Jeremiah Duomai said...

And the problem was that "non-analytic propositions have cognitive meaning only if they are empirically verifiable" is empirically not verifiable... so it became a self-defeating proposition!

Matt Jensen said...

What a coincidence. I was just reading about Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus coming under some debate with the Vienna Circle! Fantastic topic for personal study. Thanks for posting about logical positivism!

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher said...

These arguments are almost 100 years old now. While people still desire to see empirical data to prove a position we are in an ever increasing world of religious relativism. The latest information available now reveals that most of the world believes in some kind of higher power. This 'higher power' can be anything from the smorgasbord of religious ideas including Modern New Age Pantheism (ala Eckhart Tolle) to Baptist Extremist Fundamentalists (ala Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church). Today we need to focus our energy on preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ (ala the Apostles esp. as recorded in Scripture). People will believe it or reject it, and we can't know who the elect are, but we can still preach Christ crucified and live the Word in actions of compassion (Mat. 22:37-40).

Theophilus said...

Jeremiah has stated the concise transcendental refutation of LP. Another point is that the LP epistemology also is a metaphysical claim about the nature of reality (and the possibility of knowledge) and thus also meaningless. LP made the standard mistake of taking metaphysics and epistemology as being completely independent (which they are not).

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