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“Logical Positivism” In Brief

What is Logical Positivism?

It is a theory discovered by the members of the Vienna circle. It is an outlook that the philosophical problems would be considered as true and meaningful only if it could be analysed properly. The discovery of logic in philosophy by philosophers like Russell and Quine has widened the advantage & scope of philosophy. It shifted the subject philosophy from traditional orthodox definitions to Modern Logical Positivism.

“Vienna circle”

It is a group of major philosophers- Moritz Schlick, Philipp Frank, Rudolf Carnap, Victor kraftand and others. They considered positivism as an evolution of philosophy. Their main intention was to look back at all major philosophical problems and make a logical analysis to it. The problem which couldn’t be analysed logically is skipped to be treated as a Valid philosophical Problems.

Positivism could be said as switching of philosophy as a theoretical subject to science. The positivism could be understand better by reference to analytic philosophy. Previously, many have questioned the practical use of philosophy as a subject. But, the misconceptions was broken down with the progress of analytic thoughts. In a similar fashion, Logical positivisms could change the philosophy to one of the branches of science.

Rejection of Idealism

Philosophy considers idealism as a thought or idea arising from one’s mind. It has no value in reality. It is called as a fiction of the mind. ‘The mental thoughts gave way to all other physical and material thoughts’, is the basic concept of idealism. Positivism rejected idealism on the basis that the ideas of mind have no logical basis. It is the uncertain thoughts on the basis of which philosophy couldn’t be defined. Further, the ideas arising from the mind couldn’t be analyzed properly. Everyone has got distinct ideas. The subject matter describing philosophy should be universal and not distinctive.

Other Rejected Theory

  • Metaphysics

‘Positivism’ rejected the unrealistic elements of society. The abstract concepts of this society could not be experienced universally. ‘Love’, ‘Hate’, ‘Honesty’, ‘fear’ doesn’t carry worldwide accepted definitions.  Suppose if it’s experienced by more than one source, then there is no guarantee that the thoughts would resemble dicto. Generally, the concept of metaphysics differs from a person to person. It makes it difficult to announce it as a valid philosophical inquiry. The first principle, the questions concerning realities are quite debatable. Therefore, Positivists consider the metaphysical problems as unsuitable for valid analysis.

The statement such as “Absolute is beyond time couldn’t be verified.” Nobody has ever travelled beyond time to identify the qualities of absolute. The basic idea of Substances couldn’t be logically analyzed by the logical lenses of positivism.

  • Epistemology

Epistemology is known as the theory of knowledge. It could be validated and non-validated. Knowledge of thing which could be seen or observed is true. But, the knowledge of the external world is meaningless. The knowledge of the world where humans couldn’t travel nor could send anyone for the inquiry would be difficult to be called a true/ valid knowledge.

The idea of the external world is only in mind. And the theory which defines ideas i.e., metaphysics are rejected previously as a true means to scientific truth.

Apart from all this, Logical Positivism has rejected many theoretical principles which couldn’t be verified logically. One such rejection is the acceptance of transcendental ethics.  Transcendental ethics is the ‘value’ which isn’t the case but ‘ought to’ be the case.

This kind of values which couldn’t be experienced practically is difficult to be categorised as Logical positivism. So, the guidelines of Logical Positivists are very clear. They accept the views which could be analysed logically or mathematically and they absolutely reject principles which have no logical relevance.

Author: Madhvi

A philosopher, Writer, Traveler, PhD Scholar, Vegan and pet-lover.

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