The Verification Principle

Topics: Scientific method, Empiricism, Science Pages: 4 (1457 words) Published: April 18, 2012
The Verification Principle

The Verification Principle
Throughout the years, science has been a very productive practice. From explaining why and how things happen to sending people to the moon. Not only do we see its benefits every day, but also new discoveries are being made constantly. Science has proven its success. By using the scientific method and critical thinking, a wide range of things have been discovered. One cannot say the same for philosophy. Many of the questions that were asked by the very first philosophers are still being contemplated and debated over today. Some philosophers thought that in order to make philosophy as successful as science that they would need to adopt a method such as the scientific method. Thus, the Verification Principle came to be.

The philosophers with this idea that philosophy needs to be successful, like science, were the logical positivists. These philosophers had a “scientific envy,” wanting to make philosophy more scientific. Their method to become more “scientific” was to create the Verification Principle. It states that “A statement is cognitively meaningful if and only if it is either analytic or in principle empirically verified.” They thought that if something cannot be verified analytically or by experiment, then there is no need to debate about it.

To understand this principle, one must understand some of the key terms and concepts in it. Something can be described as cognitively meaningful if it can be found to be true or false. Therefore, a statement must have a truth-value. According to the Verification Principle, in order to find if something is true or false, it must be analytic or in principle empirically verified. Something is analytic if it can be found by mathematical means or by using logic. Twenty divided by two equals twenty-two is an example of an analytical statement. Whether the statement that twenty divided by two equals twenty-two is correct, or not, by using...
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