• darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    Logical positivism, originating in the Vienna Circle, is pretty much dead. It is self-refuting:

    Logical positivism: the metaphysical doctrine that all metaphysical doctrines are meaningless.

    or, that empirical evidence or tautologies are the only meaningful statements.

    But wait!

    Just because the Verification Principle is self-refuting does not mean metaphysics is saved. It does not mean that suddenly every course of inquiry is perfectly valid. It just means that the Verification Principle is not correct.

    So what makes a statement meaningful? How do we know if a question is a meaningful one, or simply a misunderstanding of language or an inability for language to describe the world around us?

    Take the metaphysical statement: There exists a metaphysical Will that manifests itself in the world as striving and dissatisfaction.

    How is that any different from this metaphysical statement?: There exists a metaphysical chimpanzee that manifests itself in the world as God, and throws poop at people. This poop takes the form of tornadoes and cancer. Ta-dah!

    For some reason the first statement is seen as deep and insightful while the second statement is arbitrary and childish. But why? What is the difference between the two?
  • The Great Whatever
    2.2k
    If you disagree with it, it's probably a misuse of language.
  • unenlightened
    3.9k
    Logical positivism: the metaphysical doctrine that all metaphysical doctrines are meaningless.darthbarracuda

    Is it a metaphysical doctrine?

    It looks more like a fairly practical (physical) statement about the limits of good sense.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    425
    Logical positivism, originating in the Vienna Circle, is pretty much deaddarthbarracuda

    Dead or perhaps evolved into something else?

    Logical Positivism was essential to the development of early Analytic Philosophy, with which it effectively merged.http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_logical_positivism.html

    Just because the Verification Principle is self-refuting does not mean metaphysics is saveddarthbarracuda

    Not really.

    Just because one attempt failed does not mean all attempts have failed, as well as all future attempts will fail.

    Is it a metaphysical doctrine?

    It looks more like a fairly practical (physical) statement about the limits of good sense.
    unenlightened

    I view it that way too.

    I find this to be a bit of a better depiction of logical positivism.

    Logical Positivism was also committed to the idea of "Unified Science", or the development of a common language in which all scientific propositions can be expressed, usually by means of various "reductions" or "explications" of the terms of one science to the terms of another (putatively more fundamental) one.

    The main tenets of the doctrine include:

    The opposition to all Metaphysics, especially ontology (the study of reality and the nature of being), not as necessarily wrong but as having no meaning.

    The rejection of synthetic a priori propositions (e.g. "All bachelors are happy"), which are, by their nature, unverifiable (as opposed to analytic statements, which are true simply by virtue of their meanings e.g. "All bachelors are unmarried").

    A criterion of meaning based on Ludwig Wittgenstein's early work, (essentially, that the meaning of a word is its use in the language, and that thoughts, and the language used to express those thoughts, are pictures or representations of how things are in the world).

    The idea that all knowledge should be codifiable in a single standard language of science, and the associated ongoing project of "rational reconstruction", in which ordinary-language concepts were gradually to be replaced by more precise equivalents in that standard language.
    http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_logical_positivism.html


    Meow!

    GREG
  • The Great Whatever
    2.2k
    I don't think a nuanced understanding of logical positivism is self-refuting. It does in a sense hang upon nothing, though, and so can only be justified by a certain cultural attitude.
  • Pneumenon
    374
    I don't think a nuanced understanding of logical positivism is self-refuting. It does in a sense hang upon nothing, though, and so can only be justified by a certain cultural attitude.The Great Whatever

    It does seem arbitrary, doesn't it? Sort of an immature air about it.
  • The Great Whatever
    2.2k
    No, I think philosophy is about testing claims for self-consistency on their own terms. The attitudes that cause one to want to try to make claims to begin with can't be legislated. You have to have a kind of attitude toward inquiry.
  • Pneumenon
    374
    If that's what you mean, then wouldn't your comment about logical positivism hanging on nothing apply to pretty much every philosophical position? Of course, I suppose that may have been your point... :-O
  • The Great Whatever
    2.2k
    Ultimately, yes. As I said, I think philosophy is about testing claims for self-consistency. That is, you're only called on to defend what you put forward on your own terms, not made up external ones. At the basic level, someone can always deny that a certain attitude is what they're concerned with, in which case the criticism ceases to make sense. But usually what happens is that people want to say two things simultaneously which by their own criterion they can't. And that is where Socratic philosophy, focused on the question, irony, aporia, and dialectic begins. But all you can do to the positivist is scorn their attitude: I don't think that their core principles, understood in a nuanced way, are self-contradictory.
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