Religious Language Essay

1035 Words5 Pages
‘Religious language is meaningless.’ Analyse and evaluate this claim with reference to the verification and falsification debates. I disagree with the statement that religious language is meaningless, but Logical positivist within the Vienna circle applied the idea of the verification principle to religious language, and saw religious language as meaningless. The verification principle is the philosophical movement which claims that language is only meaningful if it can be verified by sense-observation or if it is known as a tautology. And they saw that religious language cannot be empirically tested through the senses, and neither is it known as a tautology so then it is considered as meaningless. Philosophers like Moritz Schlick and others who were supporters of the verification principle, believed that the meaningless of a statement is shown by the way in which you verify it. A.J. Ayer distinguished between two different types of verification. Strong verification and weak verification. Strong verification refers to statements which are directly verifiable, that is, a statement can be shown to be correct by way of empirical observation. For example, 'There are human beings on Earth.' Weak verification refers to statements which are indirectly verifiable, for example 'Yesterday was a Monday'. The statement could be said to be verified if empirical observation can highly support it. Ayer saw that strong verification was too strict and created the weak version so that the verification principle could be tested in principle and not in practice. And this change by Ayer allowed scientific statements to be verified. For example if someone said that water boils at 100°C, using the weak version this statement could be verified. This still left religious language as meaningless. John Hick questioned the Verification and whether it rendered all religious statements to be
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