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Logical Positivism And Rejection Of Metaphysics Idea Essay

Metaphysics has always occupied a crucial position in neuro-scientific philosophy. It's the branch of viewpoint which handles truth and the questions related to Being and the World. According to the Stanford encyclopedia of beliefs, the word "metaphysics" derives from the Greek words μÎÏÎ (metá) ("beyond" or "after") and φÏσικΠ(physiká) ("physics"). The major work in this field came from the Aristotle's e book titled "metaphysics".

The viewpoint of science has an well-known history of magnetism and aversion towards metaphysics. The latter finds information in the Logical Positivist contention that metaphysical questions are meaningless. The major logical positivists were Rudolf Carnap, Hans Reichenbach, Karl Popper and many other prominent philosophers.

This paper aims to discuss the various criticisms and objections brought up by logical positivists against metaphysics and metaphysicians, to sophisticated the charges and explain the justifications provided by metaphysicians to aid metaphysics.

"Logical positivism (also known as logical empiricism and neo-positivism) is a university of beliefs that combines empiricism - the theory that observational evidence is vital for knowledge of the globe - with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions in epistemology". (Stansford encyclopedia of Viewpoint). It grew out of the discussions of a group called Vienna-Circle. Their main aim was to reject metaphysics not as something amiss or invalid but as something is meaningless. They utilized the technique of "Verifiability theory of meaning" to demonstrate concerning whether a statement is significant or meaningless. "This theory holds that a claim is significant if and only when it could be verified, that is, if and only if some possible group of observations is present that, were they to be, would establish the reality of the say. " (Salmon et al 1992:115)

Rudolf Carnap, a significant body of Vienna Circle and a prominent logical positivist, performed a significant role in the contributing to the rejection of metaphysics. In his publication, School of thought and Logical Syntax, Carnap uses the concept of verifiability to reject metaphysics. Rudolf helps it be explicit that for a statement to be important it must fulfill the following criterions:-

1) It must be grammatically correct.

2)It really is analytic in the sense it must either express a logical real truth or rational contradiction.

3) It must be specified that under what conditions the phrase holds true or false and these conditions can in rule be empirically checked.

Carnap and all the logical positivists held that any assertion which do not fall under these categories is a meaningless pseudo-statement.

Examples of pseudo-statements

1) One can be an and

2) One is an animal.

The former phrase is meaningless as it is developed counter syntactically. In the sense that the guidelines of grammar specifies that the third position should be occupied a predicate and not conjunctions. Yet, in the latter there is the violation of the "theory of types". Inside the latter sentence there's a type confusion between your types of predicates.

With the support of the previous claims Carnap turned out that the many words and concepts found in metaphysics like God, Omniscient, Infinite etc. are meaningless because they cannot be empirically confirmed. Further whenever a metaphysician discussions of such principles such as god, he is not eager to refuse anything and so violates the conditions necessary for a sentence to be important.

Carnap kept that the important statemtns can be divided into three sorts:-

1) Tautologies- true by virtue of their form. Wittgenstein placed that they approximate to the analytic judgments in Kant's school of thought. For example-logical and mathematical formulae.

2) Contradictions- bogus by virtue of their form. For example-The first guideline is that there are no rules.

3) Empirical claims (true or false)- Are categorized as the website of empirical science.

Carnap presented that any assertions which do not fall under these categories are meaningless pseudo-statements. In the words of Rudolf Carnap "Since metaphysics does not want to say analytic propositions, nor to show up within the area of empirical science, it is compelled to employ words for which no criteria of program are specified and that are therefore devoid of sense, or else to combine significant words so that neither an analytic (or contradictory) assertion nor an empirical statement is produced. In either case pseudo-statements are the inescapable product. "(Rudolf Carnap 1959:65)

Carnap advised that Metaphysics does not have any "theoretical" content because it will not offer anything that could be empirically verifiable; it basically provides the manifestation of an attitude toward life - a Lebensgefühl. Further the ultimate way to communicate Lebensgefühl is through music. The same kind of parallelism between music and metaphysics could be found in the task of Theodor Adorno. However Carnap presented that "Metaphysicians are musicians without musical talent". For the reason that the metaphysicians confuses between your two domains particularly art and theory that is, the necessity for appearance in artwork and inclinations to connect principles and thoughts. Thus inadvertently leading to the invalidating of knowledge and insufficient expression of attitude.

Justifications in support of metaphysical theory

The second prominent tradition in viewpoint of science namely "Post-Positivist view" started out with Thomas Samuel Kuhn(1960). The major proponents of this view were W. O. Quine, I. Lakatos, P. Feyerabend and D. Bloor.

They turned down the distinct, philosophically discernible difference between philosophy and science, as organised by the proponents of Received-view(associated with reasonable positivism). They organised that technology and philosophy are inseparable and thus cannot be demarcated from one another. They vehemently presented that technology is underdetermined by empirical observations and therefore rejected the reasonable positivists claim that science is built on empirical foundations.

The following claims resulted in the downfall of logical positivism and so resulted in major efforts to aid metaphysics:-

1) Proponents of Post-positivist view stated that the verification principle which states "A phrase S is empirically meaningful if and only when S is verifiable by experience" does not the requirement requirements for meaningful word as it is neither synthetic a posteriori nor analytic a priori. The reason being that it is neither logically true nor wrong nor can its real truth or falsehood can be showed empirically.

2) In "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (1951), W. V. O. Quine rejects the logical positivists declare there there is a differentiation between analytic and synthetic claims. He argued that when there is a clear difference between the two then we must have the ability to illustrate it analyticity and in a non-circular method. He offered the following reasons:-

a) Since it cannot be explained in conditions of interpretation;

b) it cannot be explained in terms of synonymy, since synonymy itself can't be described in a non-circular way (not in conditions of definition, nor in conditions of interchangeability without change of fact value);

c) it can't be explained in terms of the semantical guidelines of an artificial language.


3) Karl Popper in his book "The reasoning of Scientific Breakthrough" criticizes logical positivists for inserting too much focus on the verification basic principle. He argued that no matter how many specific observations are made it cannot verify the validity of a general statement(e. g. , "all swans are white"). To be a remedy to this problem he launched the process of "Falsificationism" which contains that a theory is significant iff it could be falsified.


Thus from the above discussion it is clear that there surely is no clear consensus in neuro-scientific metaphysics. The question of whether metaphysics can be accepted as a valid branch of viewpoint still remains debatable. Furter investigations and researches in this route are essential if some progress have to be manufactured in this field. However Carnap's claim that "Metaphysicians are musicians without musical ability" still remains unrivaled in spite of numerous efforts manufactured in this course to refute the claim.

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