Lecture 2

Lecture 2
Logic Plus Empiricism
The Empiricism Tradition
—Empiricism vs. Rationalism in the 17th and 18th centuries
Hume vs. Kant
(Absolute) Idealism: Hegel
—The Pre-Logical-Positivism era of the late 19th century
The Vienna Circle
—When, Where, Who, What
—What the logical positivists were against?
—What the logical positivists were for?
Central Ideas of Logical Positivism
—A general theory of language containing two main ideas:
The analytic-synthetic distinction (originally introduced by Kant)
The verifiability theory of meaning
—The analytic-synthetic distinction (originally introduced by Kant)
The definition of “being analytically true”
The definition of “being synthetically true”
Why “analytic-synthetic distinction” is so important to LP?
—The verifiability theory of meaning
How can we know the meaning of a (synthetic) sentence?
Verifiable or testable?
—Logical Positivist picture of science and of the role of philosophy in a scientific
Observational language vs. Theoretical language
Logical Positivist views about logic
Context of discovery vs. Context of justification
Logical positivist picture of science
Neurath’s boat metaphor
Problems and Changes
—Quine’s famous attack on empiricism: Two Dogmas of Empiricism (1953)
—The 1st dogma of empiricism: committed to a badly simplistic view of testing
(the verifiability principle or verifiability theory)  a holist attack: holism
about testing
—The 2nd dogma of empiricism: the analytic-synthetic distinction: no statement is
immune to revision  web of belief
The development of Logical Empiricism
—The verifiability theory (of meaning) was replaced by a holistic empiricist theory of
—Repudiation to the idea of searching for the real hidden structure of the world