Logic Positivism and Metaphysical Knowledge Problem in 20th Century Philosophy

Logic Positivism and Metaphysical Knowledge Problem in 20th Century Philosophy

December 25, 2019 0 By Felso

In the early 20th century, in Vienna, under the   leadership of Moritz Schlick , some scientists , including  Carnap  and  Whitehead , came together to form a current of logical positivism.

” Vienna Circle ” as the logical positivist, basic scientific information, based on the observable facts are united in the idea that the state should be established by simple logical proposition. They state that expressions that do not indicate case situations are meaningless and that linguistic-logical propositions that are outside the field of experimentation and observation, which cannot be verified, are meaningless. Therefore, the focus of the logical positivists is on language and logic. The problem addressed is the problem of meaning of propositions. What is to be done is to distinguish the metaphysical propositions which cannot be verified by the field of experiment and observation from the other ones.

According to logical positivists, metaphysical propositions are meaningless. For them, if a proposition is verifiable, it means that the proposition is false or true. The verifiable proposition is the proposition that is factually appropriate for testing. This is impossible in metaphysical propositions, meaningless to him. One of the logical positivists, Rudolf Carnap, argued that the metaphysical propositions are the so-called propositions. This proposition is metaphysical because, for example, when the premise that “the soul is immortal and when the body in which it resides decays to another body.

The propositions of logic and mathematics are not metaphysical. Although they are not based on facts, right or wrong can be revealed within the framework of logical principles and rules.

The scientific view adopted by logical positivism is based on the induction method posed by positivism. Today, also known as the classical view of science, all sciences are related to each other. Science progresses cumulatively with experiments and observations on cases. The product (scientific law) that results from the work of the scientist is a general proposition that can be verified logically and linguistically based on the fact. This view is product-oriented. In philosophical views, philosophy was given the task of revealing the meaning of the information emerging in the fields of scientific knowledge. Philosophy, according to them, should deal with linguistic and logical analysis of these relationships and avoid empty discussions involving metaphysical propositions.

One of the thinkers who criticized the scientific view of logical positivism and its underlying positivism was  Thomas Kuhn . He drew attention to the historical background of scientific activity and dealt with the formation stages of scientific theory and shook the classical view of science deeply.

Kuhn thinks of science as the activity of scientists; he argues that he is not free of social and personal value judgments. According to him, scientific understanding should include all processes of science. It is a mistake to think of science independently of the values ​​that make up it.

The key concept in Kuhn’s critiques is the “paradigm.. He uses the paradigm to point out the common values ​​that scientists share. Paradigms can change in line with new insights and developments. For example, Aristotle’s views in physics were once a paradigm, and this paradigm was valid until Newton. Therefore, according to him, positivism and logical positivists are in error. Science proceeds by making jumps with the change of paradigms.

Prepared by:  Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source:  Ömer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Grade Giriş Introduction to Philosophy ”and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Tarihi History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook