verification principle


verification principle


  • logical positivism is a strong argument as it proposes that religious believers should apply the tests that are applied to other areas of life on their own metaphysical and abstract statements that are hard to comprehend. for e.g. if one was to say there was someone in their garden that was invisible and silent then they wouldnt be believed thus it is only logical for such verifiability to be expected in statements religious believers assert. Ideas such as God is omnipresent are hard to understand and even though it isn't in their business to make others believe it is only trying to state the extent which the concepts could be true.
  • some would say that due to religious statements defying logic the logical positivists have a strong case when they ask for the statements to pass a certain test before they can be classes as meaningful. for e.g. the virgin birth; one knows through logic that you cannot simultaneously be a virgin and giving birth. And in view of historical events such as jesus being born in bethlehem and then crucified by pontius pilot he also allegedly resurrected 3 days later which also defies logic and what we know to be meaningful in sense; in an age of testing and logic the theory of verification stands firm.
  • ultimately the ideas of verification stand as strong as it makes us be weary and careful when we talk of god as we must conform to rules that are applied to everyday life in order to say something of meaning if we are to talk of God in a world where there are people outside of the religious context.


  • not all meaningful statements have to be synthetically or empirically testable; religious believers understand that statements such as 'god exists' are incorporeal and metaphysical, that god cant be detected or disapproved by synthetical evidence but attacking religious language as if it is a scientific synthetical assertion is as brian davies claims like condemning a tennis player for not scoring goals as they aren't in the business of scoring goals it isn't plausible just as religious believers aren't in the business of trying to convince or make others believe empirically their statements, they are to them meaningful.
  • it is also claimed that religious statements are verifiable in principle which is part of verifying. it is believed that there historical statements that suggest how and in what conditions the statements are verifiable for e.g. 'jesus was born in bethlehem' and st peter was the first pope and pontius pilot crucified jesus are all statement that exist historically. this is supported by hare who believe that religious language has meaning not because it imparts knowledge but because it changes the way people look at the world.
  • swinburne also argued that stamens of religion can be understood and it is incredulous to claim that they aren't meaningful as we can still understand them as meaningful without knowing the sense experience that would render them to be true or refuted. swinburne offered the analogy of toys in a cupboard; that there are toys that to all appearances remain in the cupboard while everyones asleep and no one is watching but actually get up and dance then return to the cupboard while leaving no trace of their activity. this swinburne states is meaningful in that we can understand what it is saying but it is incredulous in itself as an idea but it would also be just as incredulous to render it as having no meaning.
  • the weak verification principle can also support some religious statements for e.g. that god is the creator, we could in principle verify this statement through teleological arguments of design in the world. Weak verification also suggests meaning in the existance as Keith ward argues, that if he was god he would be able to verify that he exists which verifies God in principle.
  • eschatological verification Hick, the probabilifiable verification of religious statements gives them meaning, in Christianity one of the main purposes of life is to gain eternal life in union with God, Hick gives the parable of the celestial city (describe) which emphasises the difference that religion has on the way one looks and behaves in life and it is this differece that is that its truth or falsity has an effect on human experience in existance is also a factor that renders meaning to statements.


in evaluation the verification principle doesn't stand against its challenges especially within the context and meaning of religious statements from the start. one of the biggest challenges that devalues the logical positivists theory is that the verification principle is classed as meaningless under its own premises; it is not analytically nor synthetically verificable. Even ayer eventually came to admit in response to Alonzo Church that the verification principle cant be formulated in any satisfactory way. 




very good thanks