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Encyclopedia > Verificationist

Note: This short article describes the specific history and ideas of the early verificationists. For a larger and more general article on verificationism and other related theories, which covers the modern debate, see Epistemic theories of truth. In philosophy, epistemic theories of truth are attempts to analyse the notion of truth in terms of epistemic notions such as belief, acceptance, verification, justification, perspective and so on. ...

A verificationist is someone who adheres to the verification principle, a criterion for meaningfulness most associated with the logical positivist movement which had its roots in inter-war Vienna. This criterion requires that a (non-analytic) meaningful sentence be either verifiable or falsifiable, though it was disputed whether this must be possible in practice rather than merely in principle. In the early twentieth century, the logical positivists put forth what came to be known as the verifiability theory of meaning. ... Logical positivism (later referred to as logical empiricism, rational empiricism, or neo-positivism) is a school of philosophy that combines positivism—which states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge—with a version of apriorism—the notion that some propositional knowledge can be had without, or prior to, experience. ... Moritz Schlick around 1930 The Vienna Circle (in German: der Wiener Kreis) was a group of philosophers who gathered around Moritz Schlick when he was called to the Vienna University in 1922, organized in a philosophical association named Verein Ernst Mach (Ernst Mach Society). ...

Note that verificationists need not be logical positivists; Willard Van Orman Quine is a famous example of a verificationist who does not accept logical positivism on grounds of semantic holism. He suggests that, for theoretical sentences as opposed to observation sentences, meaning is "infected by theory". That theoretical sentences are reducible to observation sentences is one of the ‘dogmas of empiricism’ he rejects as incompatible with semantic holism. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Semantic holism is a doctrine in the philosophy of language to the effect that a certain part of language, be it a term or a complete sentence, can only be understood through its relations to a (previously understood) larger segment of language. ...

Similar ideas were expressed by the American pragmatists, in particular Charles Peirce and William James. James coined the famous verificationist motto: "A difference that makes no difference is no difference". Charles Sanders Peirce (pronounced purse), (September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an American polymath, physicist, and philosopher, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... For other people named William James see William James (disambiguation) William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher. ...

AJ Ayer is one of the main modern modern user of the verification principle although he's is a weaker form of the verification principle and accpets that of others knowledge in waying up weather something is verifiable or not

It is commonly believed that Karl Popper rejected the requirement that meaningful sentences be verifiable, demanding instead that they be falsifiable. However, Popper later claimed that his demand for falsifiability was not meant as a theory of meaning, but rather as a methodological norm for the sciences. Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH, MA, Ph. ...



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