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Explain What Is Meant By Verification And Falsification, In The Context Of Religious Language? Evaluate Their Criticisms Of Religious Language.

1844 words - 7 pages

The basic question behind religious language debate is ‘what can be said about God?’ The religious language debate is not concerned with whether or not God exists, or what God is like or why there is evil in the world. It is solely concerned with working out whether or not religious language means anything. Within the debate, old tradition of religious believers argue that you can speak and write about God, because God is a reality. Nevertheless Logical Positivists claim that statements about God have no meaning because they don’t relate to anything that is real? In the debate about religious language, there are two types of language, cognitive and non-cognitive. Cognitive language conveys facts i.e. things that we can know. Non-cognitive language, predictably, conveys information that is not factual; emotions, feelings and metaphysical claims.In the 1920's in Vienna a group of philosophers, known as the Vienna Circle, proposed a theory to do with logic and language. Influenced by the ideas of Wittgenstein, the group proposed a way in which it could be decided what it was meaningful to say, and what was pure nonsense. This view also became known as Logical Positivism. They concluded words had to be justified either through empirical evidence or through logic following empirical evidence. Therefore to verify any word, one had to establish its worth. For example the word “table” is easy to verify because we can see and touch the table. “Two plus two equals four” is a logical and therefore a meaningful statement, if we do not try to specify what two is. “God is Love”, is meaningless because we can find no verification of “God” nor “Love”. Beliefs are not based upon any thing verifiable as philosophers had tried to create logical ontological, cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God, but all have failed to convince the logical positivists.A. J. Ayer in “Language, Truth and Logic”, sets out the distinction between "strong" and "weak" verification. "A proposition is said to be verifiable, in the strong sense of the term, if, and only if, “its truth could be conclusively established by experience”. It is this sense of verifiable that causes the problem of verification with negative existential claims and positive universal claims. However, the weak sense of verification states that a proposition is "verifiable. if it is possible for experience to render it probable". Ayer stated there were two types of statement that are meaningful: Analytic propositions; these are statements that contain all the information within the statement that we need to verify it i.e. 2+2=4 and Synthetic propositions; these are statements that can be confirmed through the use of the senses by recourse to empirical evidence i.e. it’s raining outside.After establishing these distinction, Ayer goes on to claim that "no proposition, other than a tautology, can possibly...

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