18.104.22.168.1.1 True by definition, e.g. "all bachelors
are unmarried" because
bachelor=unmarried man by definition
22.214.171.124.2 SYNTHETIC (a posteriori)
126.96.36.199.2.1 Statement could be proved true or false
(verified) through sense experience or
experiments (empirically verified), e.g.
"John is a bachelor" could be verified by
seeing if John is a an unmarried man.
1.1.2 Only meaningful language is COGNITIVE.
188.8.131.52 "We know the meaning of a statement
if we know the conditions under which
the statement is TRUE OR FALSE"
1.1.3 Non-Cognitive statements are meaningless.
1.1.4 Most general claims would be ruled
meaningless by the verification principle.
184.108.40.206 For example, even scientific claims like
"all water boils at 100 degrees centigrade"
can't be verified because not ALL water in
the world has been tested to be true.
220.127.116.11.1 Therefore Verification Principle could be
deemed too extreme and rules out too
many statements as meaningless.
18.104.22.168.1.1 A. J. Ayer
22.214.171.124.1.1.1 Ayer gets around these problems by developing the verification principle
into 2 versions of verification to determine a statement as meaningful.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 STRONG VERIFICATION
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1 Statement can be verified through observation and
can be established as true/false for CERTAIN.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 WEAK VERIFICATION
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 Some observations and reasoning suggest that a
statement is PROBABLY true/false. Statement can
possibly be verified in future, e.g. "in 2012 the world will
end", once 2012 has passed we will know the truth.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1.1 However, this still allows weakness in Ayer's theory, because
it could allow some religious statements to be meaningful
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1.1.1 e.g. "God is the creator": evidence of the design of our complex
world could allow this statement to probably seem true.
1.1.5 Therefore, talk of God can't be verified through
senses or scientific evidence and so we can't prove
religious language to be true or false and so
RELIGIOUS LANGUAGE IS MEANINGLESS.
126.96.36.199 ESCHATOLOGICAL VERIFICATION
188.8.131.52.1 John Hick
184.108.40.206.1.1 To verify some statements, certain situations
must occur, that may only occur later.
220.127.116.11.1.1.1 To verify life after death (e.g. heaven& hell) we must
experience life after death which we can't now.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Religious language may not be meaningless then
because t could be verified in the afterlife.
1.1.6 The Verification Principle itself can't be verified by its
own conditions, making itself seem meaningless too.
IT IS SELF-DEFEATING!
1.2 FALSIFICATION PRINCIPLE
1.2.1 Antony Flew
126.96.36.199 Like verification principle, agrees
that meaningful language must
relate to world in some way.
188.8.131.52 If you can't falsify a statement, then that shows that the world has
no bearing to the truth of the statement and is immune to all factual
knowledge, and therefore it has no relationship to the world.
184.108.40.206.1 Unfalsifiable statements are therefore meaningless.
220.127.116.11 Parable of the Gardener
18.104.22.168.1 Original belief in a gardener, but after no evidence or
sight of the gardener, believer makes excuse like him
being invisible and intangible to overcome doubt.
22.214.171.124.1.1 However, what remains of the original assertion? How
does the invisible, intangible, eternally elusive gardener
differ from an imaginary or non-existent gardener?
126.96.36.199.1.1.1 Flew argues this illustrates how Religious believers don't allow
anything to contradict or go against their belief in God and His
qualities, and constantly adapt their claims about God to avoid being
proven wrong, to the point that the original claims of God are lost.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Therefore RELIGIOUS LANGUAGE = MEANINGLESS
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 Some statements are not falsifiable, yet we still
understand the meaning behind them.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1.1 Richard Swinburne
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1.1 Toy cupboard analogy
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 We can never prove that toys
don't come out to play or move
when we aren't looking.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Yet although we can't falsify this
statement, we still understand it's meaning
and it is therefore still meaningful.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 E.g. "God is all loving": but when faced with the
problem of evil & suffering, believers argue it is part of
God's greater plan, or to test us and teach us lessons.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 R. M. Hare
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1 Religious language may not make factual claims- but
IT STILL HOLDS MEANING
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.1.1 not because it gives
knowledge, but because it
influences the way people
look at the world in their
own "bilk" and so it is
meaningful to the individual.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.2 Basil Mitchell
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2.1 Believers do allow things to count against their beliefs.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2.1.1 Flew missed the point that believers have a
prior commitment to God based on faith, and
though faced with doubt and challenges, don't
let them undermine their faithfulness to God.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 "Religious language
makes God die a death of
a thousand qualifications"
2 RELIGIOUS LANGUAGE = MEANINGFUL
2.1.1 R. M. Hare
2.1.2 A frame of reference in interpreting the world...
2.1.3 Analogy of the University student
188.8.131.52 A university student is convinced his
tutors/ professors are plotting to kill him,
and would deny any attempts to falsify
his claim. Although not true, his belief is
still meaningful to him as it affected the
way he perceived the university.
184.108.40.206.1 The way of looking at the world is
called a BLIK.
220.127.116.11.1.1 The Blik is not based on evidence, so cannot be contradicted by evidence.
18.104.22.168.1.1.1 Similarly, religious beliefs are 'bilks' because of the impact they
have of religious believers and how they live their life and look at
the world, whilst not letting anything go against their beliefs.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 One weakness is that Hare
doesn't give a way of ranking bilks.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 e.g. Religion, science & paranoia are all bilks.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.1 But surely paranoia is not nearly as
legitimate in comparison to
science.... so bilks should be able to
be ranked in order of validity?
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Also shuts out other people
as it is only meaningful to
2.2.1 Basil Mitchell
2.2.2 Parable of Freedom Fighter/ Stanger
188.8.131.52 During World War II, a soldier meets a
stranger who tells him he is on his side and to
trust him even though the soldier sees him act
on the side of his enemies.
184.108.40.206.1 The soldier's faith is constantly tested but no matter what
remains faithful and gives him the benefit of the doubt.
220.127.116.11.2 Mitchell suggests believers are like the
soldier in the parable and once a prior
commitment to God has been made, then
believers will face any struggles in their
belief but GIVE GOD THE BENEFIT OF
THE DOUBT even when faced with
challenges against their beliefs.
18.104.22.168.2.1 Flew argues that in the parable, the
stranger was an ordinary man. But this
doesn't work the same way for God.
22.214.171.124.2.1.1 When faced with problems like the problem of evil...
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 We can't say God wants to help but can't;
he is meant to be omnipotent.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 We can't say God can't see the problems to help with;
He is meant to be omniscient.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 So there is no reason to give God the
benefit of the doubt and remain faithful.
126.96.36.199.2.2 So religious language is still
meaningful to the individual.
2.2.3 Agrees in hare's idea of
bilks, but believes that
believers will allow
evidence to challenge and
overturn their bilk.
2.3 VIA NEGATIVA
2.3.1 "Way of Negation" or "the Negative Way"
2.3.2 God is not within our limited universe so he is
beyond our understanding and language to speak of.
188.8.131.52 Fails because negative statements are just
disguised positive ones.
184.108.40.206.1 e.g. God is not lacking in power = God is powerful
2.3.3 If we did use words to describe
God we would limit or
220.127.116.11 Therefore it is better to describe God
through saying what he is NOT.
18.104.22.168.1 e.g. God is not lacking in power...
22.214.171.124 As Basil the Great once said: "Our intellect
is weak, but our tongue is even weaker"
2.3.4 Has been useful for people trying to
describe ineffable near death experiences.
2.4.1 Thomas Aquinas
2.4.2 Aquinas thought we could only talk of God
analogically to try and understand him.
126.96.36.199 UNIVOCAL USE
(same definition in
188.8.131.52.1 Can't talk about God like ourselves
because He is different and beyond us.
184.108.40.206 EQUIVOCAL USE
(different definition in
220.127.116.11.1 Can't talk equivocally about God either,
because we aren't completely different
from Him (He created us after all)
18.104.22.168.1.1 Via Negativa
22.214.171.124.1.1.1 Would argue that God is
beyond our limited
understanding and so should
be spoken about
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 But God made us in His
image so we can relate to Him.
184.108.40.206.1.2 Verification Principle
220.127.116.11.1.2.1 Ayer would argue that God is beyond
our experience so there is no
foundation for analogical language.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 But evidence of design in the world
supports for God's existence.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 The Verification Principle itself is
meaningless - it can't verify itself.
184.108.40.206 ANALOGICAL USE
220.127.116.11.1 So our slight differences and
resemblances to God allow us to
talk about him analogically.
2.4.3 Aquinas developed 2 types of analogy to talk of God...
18.104.22.168 ANALOGY OF PROPORTION
22.214.171.124.1 words are employed to refer to the quality
that the thing possesses in proportion to
the kind of reality it possesses.
126.96.36.199.1.1 So God's power is
proportionally greater than
188.8.131.52 ANALOGY OF ATTRIBUTION
184.108.40.206.1 a term concerning one, original
thing, also concerns the second
because it was cause by the first.
220.127.116.11.2 Therefore humans possess
similar qualities to God (e.g.
wisdom, kindness...) because we
were CREATED IN HIS IMAGE
but in lesser proportion.
2.5.1 Paul Tillich
2.5.2 Religious language should be interpreted
SYMBOLICALLY and METAPHORICALLY.
18.104.22.168 Believed that symbols
"unlocks dimensions and
elements of our soul"
22.214.171.124 Religious language can't be taken
literally as RELIGIOUS
LANGUAGE = NON-COGNITIVE
126.96.36.199 Expresses facts/cognitive knowledge
188.8.131.52 transcend facts, elicits responses ("participates
in that to which they point"), point to something
beyond themselves, subtle modes of
communication, can be interpreted differently.
2.5.5 To try and describe God
as 'a being' is to deny him,
binds him up in our
physical, limited world and
184.108.40.206 We cannot describe an INFINITE
God using FINITE (limited) human
experiences and language.
220.127.116.11.1 Verification Principle
18.104.22.168.1.1 Ayer could argue
that symbols can't
be verified and
by them aren't
open to being
22.214.171.124.1.1.1 Meaning is
personal and comes
2.6 LANGUAGE GAMES
2.6.2 Rejects verification principle after
originally agreeing with logical
126.96.36.199 ORIGINALLY, early
Wittgenstein adopted a
"picture theory" of
meaning. He believed
language was a way of
depicting facts (cognitive
statements) and must
relate back to the world or
we stray in to realm of
nonsense. also believes
language was supposed
to allow us to picture
images and situations.
188.8.131.52.1 HOWEVER he then rejected
this idea as it failed to capture
the complexity of language.
184.108.40.206.1.1 He pointed out that some statements can't be
verified as true or false, e.g. talk of art, poetry
or religion, yet we still understand each other.
220.127.116.11.1.1.1 So he thought of language as
using words in a range of
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 This lead onto his theory
of LANGUAGE GAMES.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 Wittgenstein believes religious
language can be used equivocally
and still be meaningful.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1.1 But Aquinas would argue it is
to be used analogically and meaningful for EVERYONE.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.2 Verification Principle
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.2.1 Language games are
meaningless if they don't
relate to the world
factually, so religious
language is meaningless.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.2.1.1 But this is ASSUMING that one language
game (science) applies to another language
game (religion)... IT DOESN'T!!!!
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Language games are used within 'form
of life' (context) and are only meaningful
to the community of people within the
"game" (the players) but seem
meaningless to outsiders.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1 e.g. Builders who use
construction jargon and
terms understand each
other, but teachers or other
ordinary people may not.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.2 But outsiders cannot claim that the
language used by one community
is meaningless just because it
doesn't make sense to them.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.3 This relates to how religious language
is just one language game and is
meaningful to the believers, but may
seem meaningless to outsiders.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.3.1.1 Braithwaite developed
Wittgenstein's idea by further
saying how religious language
is a MORAL DISCOURSE.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 MEANING = USE
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 e.g. if i say "Killing animals
is wrong" this may suggest I
will never kill an animal
myself as a way of living.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1 Similarly, Religious claims
like "God is love" means
followers may act selflessly
and lovingly in his example.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.1 However, some believers argue that he
belittles religious language to reduce it
to the "intention to carry out a certain
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.2 Some believers believe
their religious teachings
are to be taken more
literally than he