Logical Positivism successfully shows that religious language is meaningless.’ EvaluaWatch
Logical positivism is unsuccessful in proving that religious language is meaningless because the verification principle does not meet its own criteria. It is not an analytic or synthetic statement. This means that is cannot be trusted when judging the meaningfulness of a statement and fails. Verification principles do however, appeal to reason. They are logical in that they provide a clear way to ensure the meaningfulness of a statement. This means if we accept that original premise and principles then the arguments that follow are undeniable.
RM Hare presented the idea of ‘Bliks’ to show logical positivism is I unsuccessful. A blik according to Hare is a belief we hold that alters our worldview even if it seems illogical. Bliks hold meaning for the people who hold them and if we view religion as a blik then it is clear that even if the meaningfulness of religious language is questionable, they still will always hold meaning for the believer. This means logical positivism does not successfully show that religious language is meaningless.
As well as this, eschatological verification challenges the success of logical positivism. It does this by presenting a way of verification that is not immediately obvious. If there is a way to verify the existence of God after death then the verification and falsification principles have been unsuccessful in their belief that religious language is meaningless. Eschatological verification appeals to the weak verification principle and proves that religious language has meaning because it is possible to prove the meaningfulness of statement like ‘God loves us’ after death.
Logical positivism is unsuccessful because it fails to affirm the meaningfulness of historical statements such as ‘the Battle of Hastings happened in 1066.’ This is because we would have to see it without own eyes to prove it, sure it is not an analytic statement. If the verification principle cannot be used to verify such widely agrees statements, then it cannot be trusted with authority over the meaningfulness of religious language in this way it is unusual.
Basil Mitchell’s parable of the freedom fighter explains how religious believers can trust religious statements in the light of evidence to the contrary, challenges the success of logical positivism, saying statements can still have meaning even if they do not conform to the requirements of the verification of falsification principles.
Some argue that religious language is meant to be interpreted as analogical not literal. Consistent with this view is the idea that religious language holds meaning (even if it is not literally true) for the believer and so its value should not be undervalued.
Richard Swinburne’s toy cupboard analogy shows that religious language is in fact meaningful and the attempts by the logical positivists to discredit religious language should not be considered valid.
Logical positivism does not successfully show that religious language is meaningless because eschatological verification shows that we may be able to prove the meaningfulness of religious language after death. Religious language mostly holds value for the believer, supported by the analogical view, so even if a logical argument is presented such language will always be valued by believers. Logical positivism is though successful in that if we accept the original premise within the argument which follows is successful.