Rudolph Carnap was one of the prominent philosophers of the Vienna Circle, that existed as a group around Moritz Schlick from 1930 to 1936, till the violent death of Schlick.
You can really speak of a very distinct school in philosophy, which as such only existed during these six years. Man like Carnap, Russell, Neurath, Reichenbach, Hempel, Ayer, were known as the Logical Positivists.
The most distinctive doctrine of the logical positivists was that for any sentence to be cognitively meaningful it must express a statement that is either analytical or emperical. So either "A circle is round" or "This tomato is red."
It was allowed that sentences may have "emotive", "imperative" and other kinds of meaning, for example "What a lovely present." or "Bring me a glass of water." These sentences have no cognitive meaning, that is they dont express anything that could be true or false. That is a solution G.E. Moore chose for ethical statements.
But leaving aside sentences that express analytical statement, for a sentence to have 'cognitive', 'descriptive', 'factual' or 'literal' meaning, for instance "The sun is 93 million miles from the earth.", it is held that it must express a statement that could, at least in principle, be shown to be true or false by reference to empirical observations.
From this point of view Carnap went on a crusade against all kinds of apparently descriptive looking statements, which in fact were meaningless. One main target was of course metaphysical statements.
A great many of sentences of traditional philosophy, like "Reality is spiritual." , "The moral richness of an action is a nonemperical property." or "God created the world.", can not be confirmed by empirical observations, thence they are cognitively meaningless.
It all was based on the thesis from the Tractatus of Wittgestein: 4.024 "To understand a sentence, means, to know what is the case, when it is true."
How often don't we say" Oh, you think so? Where is the evidence? Give me proof so I can believe you." The tendency to ask for verification is common practice, so maybe our philosophers are finally on the right track today.
Under influence of the development of propositional logic, which analyzes the validity of logical reasoning and truth values of propositions, the logical positivists held the view that all complex statements should be analyzed into what they eventually called protocol sentences.
As if you have a kind of atoms of certain knowledge. Sentences that represent the smallest possible reflection of empirical experiences. Was that possible?
As you already may have guessed.....this is philosophy...thence the answer is: NO. There were a few issues that stood in the way. To begin with, the sentence "This is red" was regared to be an example of such an atomic sentence.
However, does it refelct only what is given in sense experience? "This" is a particular, that is ok, but the word "red". Is that just a direct sensory experience. In fact it isnt, it is a universale. So even in such an apparently simple sentence we do something more cognitively that is given only in sensory experience.
A second problem is the danger of sollipsim. This means that we only know what is in our own mind. Would we put that to words, then the only one who would understand my language would be me myself.
If the protocol sentence has to be absolutely reliable and a reflection of my sensory experience, ....well I only have to remind you on how Vygotsky looked at language to show you with what kind of problems we would have to deal here.
A third problem is that this verification principle is based on the idea of a correspondence between the sentence and an extra-linguistic reality. That is ok, but postulating this extra-linguistic reality comes close to a metaphysical statement.
This is just the tip of a huge iceberg of a profound discussion and search for the certainty of knowledge. We still have the obligation to show emipirical evidency for our knowledge claims, but we cant from that that we reach absolute certainty of knowledge. To the best we get a high probability of certainty of the truth of an empiracal statement.
Maybe Alfred J. Ayer will come up with a good solution in our next lecture...., but he too is a philosopher. (^_^)
[13:20] Herman Bergson: So much on Carnap [13:20] Herman Bergson: The situation is clear..again no definite answer :-) [13:20] Gemma Cleanslate: i doubt it strongly [13:20] Aya Beaumont: Didn't the positivists invite Wittgenstein once? [13:20] Laila Schuman: the dada artists have been much on my mind... they preceeded your Vienna group [13:21] Laila Schuman: they must have driven these philosophers nuts [13:21] Herman Bergson: Wittgenstein didnt participate in their meetings [13:21] Herman Bergson: Neither did Popper [13:21] Herman Bergson: but the were in touch with some members of the group [13:22] arabella Ella: As you say Herman Carnap sounds very similar to Wittgenstein's ideas in the Tractatus [13:22] Aya Beaumont: If I recall the story, they invited him to hold a lecture for them... he came there, read a piece from Tegore to them, and left. [13:22] Herman Bergson: Oh that might be true Aya..absolutely [13:23] Aya Beaumont: I.e. he probably felt they had missed his entire point. [13:23] Aya Beaumont smirks. [13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: here comes rodey [13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: :-) [13:23] Mickorod Renard: hiya Rodney [13:23] Rodney Handrick: Hi Gemma [13:23] Herman Bergson: Yes....the interpretation of thesis 4.024 is Carnap's, we dont know if it was Wittgenstein's too [13:23] Alarice Beaumont: lol up from the skies :-) Hello Rodney [13:23] Rodney Handrick: Hi Mick [13:23] Rodney Handrick: Hi Alarice [13:23] Aya Beaumont smiles. [13:24] Herman Bergson: Rodney? [13:24] Herman Bergson: Welcome! [13:24] Rodney Handrick: Cal can't attend...busy with rl choirs [13:24] Mickorod Renard: very little in life is certain, and this I think is a reflection of the universe we live in.....maybe that is why no solution will be available [13:24] Rodney Handrick: chores...sorry [13:25] Rodney Handrick: Hi Herman [13:25] Herman Bergson: Yes Mickorod, one of the intteresting poiunts is that we see, whatever solution we philosophically try to formulate, we also formulate the next question [13:25] Mickorod Renard: yea its hard for men now women dont like doing housework [13:26] Mickorod Renard: yes [13:26] Wisdom Streeter: not really [13:26] AristotleVon Doobie: Mick Mick Mick [13:26] Herman Bergson: I must admit that I never have been so aware of the inconclusiveness of philosophical debate as since these clases in SL [13:27] Herman Bergson: As a student I had my philoophical convictions,, but now.......??!! [13:27] Samuel Okelly: how did logical positivists resolve the truth-value of subjective statements like “I am tired”? [13:27] Aya Beaumont: Nighty night, people. [13:27] Mickorod Renard: night aya [13:27] Herman Bergson: bye Aya [13:27] Rodney Handrick: goodnight Aya [13:28] arabella Ella: the thing is herman that every philosophical position raises new questions as you said and each position often has another plausible but contradictory position [13:28] arabella Ella: and the question arises whether there will ever be an answers which will achieve consensus? [13:28] Herman Bergson:When I say 'I am tired' ..the truth value..well you should ask me whether I am lieing or not, I think [13:29] arabella Ella: could you not also empirically confirm tiredness via an MRI or CAT scan or via electrical or chemical impulses in the brain? [13:29] Samuel Okelly: i see but such sentences are never truly verifiable are they? (at least in a way that empirical evidence would support) [13:30] Herman Bergson: that is a questionable conclusion arabella [13:30] arabella Ella: it is more of a question, a possibility, rather than a conclusion Herman ;) [13:30] Herman Bergson: what we observe is two things...an individual that says I am tired and some results of a measurment at the same time [13:31] Herman Bergson: well..the question touched on complex problems of the mind - body problem, arabella [13:31] Herman Bergson: It is about meaning and reference.. [13:32] arabella Ella: yes Herman ... a very complex issue [13:32] Herman Bergson: does the measurement tel the fatigue and i s 'I am tired' another way of saying the same for instance? [13:32] hope63 Shepherd: may be i say "i 'm tired and could be i'mjust bored:) [13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: the root of the tiredness must be ascertained as to wherther it is measureable physically or not so much if mentally tired [13:33] Rodney Handrick: I forgot how to raise my hand... [13:34] Herman Bergson: Yes Arostotle...what it the reference odf the word tired here...boredom, mental fatigue, physical fatigue...can we seperate all these phenomena as paricular things and so on [13:34] Mickorod Renard: I think some things are not said in a way that it is expected that verification should follow, by design [13:34] Rodney Handrick: I think it is mental fatigue [13:35] Rodney Handrick: you can be physically tired yet not bored [13:35] Herman Bergson: Sure Rodney [13:35] hope63 Shepherd: i think we couod define it as lacking will or power to act in a certain direction.... [13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: after vigorous labor surely the mind through experience ant to avoid injury will tell teh brain it is tired [13:36] arabella Ella: Herman could philosophers be of the opinion that the reference is metaphysically determined? [13:36] Gemma Cleanslate: what would our philosopher say about it [13:36] Herman Bergson: well..anyway...if we look at way s to verify such a statement....we have a way to go [13:36] AristotleVon Doobie: all those new questions that arise [13:37] Herman Bergson: That would refe to devine revelation arabella [13:37] Mickorod Renard: not having verification opens up more possibilities [13:37] hope63 Shepherd: nore possibilities to think about verificcation.. by falsification? [13:37] arabella Ella: what i meant herman was that meaning is made or determined by humans at times quite arbitrarily [13:38] Herman Bergson: Yes Hope...Popper is on the list. [13:38] Herman Bergson: And Gemma...what would our philosophers say.... [13:38] Mickorod Renard: maybe, but artistic licence [13:38] arabella Ella: and meaning may also change with time [13:38] Herman Bergson: Well....we are in philosophy in a special situation at the moment [13:39] Herman Bergson: Philosophy with a capital doesnt exist anymore [13:39] Herman Bergson: what philosophers do atm is analysing specialized issues [13:39] arabella Ella: no more grand system building in philosophy now with a small 'p' [13:40] Herman Bergson: no...I cant think of any school nowadayss [13:40] Mickorod Renard: if its all about verification then soon computers will do the philosophising,,,,I think we loose the whole meaning [13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: danger will robinson [13:41] hope63 Shepherd: going back to basic questions- how can we know based on what we think we know.. [13:41] Herman Bergson: Some people believe indeed that the results from computers are the truth [13:41] Rodney Handrick: Computers are simply tools [13:41] hope63 Shepherd: going from how can whe know to why can we know... [13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: there is a saying 'trash in, trash out' [13:42] Herman Bergson: well Hope..today we saw the solution that cognitive statements should be analyzed into protocol statements which correpond with a state of affairs in reality [13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: oops [13:43] hope63 Shepherd: right ari... look at religion... for 2000 years the brightest minds dabbled over an uncertain idea-. [13:43] arabella Ella: in one sense that is also what computers too, break down issues into simple statements that can be coded [13:43] Rodney Handrick: you can say that again , Hope [13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: computers I think do what they are told [13:44] hope63 Shepherd: back to the free will,ari? [13:44] arabella Ella: but there are simple computers which are tools, then there is artificial intelligence which is sanother matter altogether [13:44] Rodney Handrick: That's true Ari...they are logical tools [13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: artificial...an interesting word [13:44] AristotleVon Doobie: like not-natural [13:45] Mickorod Renard: well this seems to suggest that not needing verification is an extension to free will [13:45] Herman Bergson: What this class teaches me is that we have a huge reservoir of human thought about the problems and queastions we are facing today [13:45] arabella Ella: how natural are we really Ari? [13:45] Rodney Handrick: I agree Herman [13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: 100% I think [13:45] arabella Ella: not everyone would agree with that Ari [13:45] AristotleVon Doobie: what? [13:45] hope63 Shepherd: artifical- in contrast to organically developed intelligence.. [13:46] Herman Bergson: What we do is that we rethink our selves all the time [13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: :)) [13:46] AristotleVon Doobie: I dont know what exists but natural [13:46] hope63 Shepherd: your 100% represent how much of what can be thought ari... [13:47] Herman Bergson: so..I htink the verifiability principle is a clear matter now.....doesnt work..:-) [13:47] Herman Bergson: at the end Carnap mitigated his view and was satified with comfirmability of a statement [13:47] Samuel Okelly: what are the consequences or implications of something be "natural"? (im thinking here of the "is/ought" dilema) [13:47] AristotleVon Doobie: somewhere there is an answer, it just has to be found, and found in time to be viable [13:48] arabella Ella: do you think the vienna circle were attempting to make philosophy resemble science more Herman to try to make it more reputable? [13:48] Mickorod Renard: I had a notion once that philosophers mused over problems that maybe wernt verifiable,,,leave the verifiable stuff tom scientists [13:48] Herman Bergson: Well samuel.....here we come up with darwinism for instance [13:48] Gemma Cleanslate: but is it not part of science [13:48] arabella Ella: Sam ... it is we as humans who determine what is natural and what is not [13:49] hope63 Shepherd: ara, i think they just couldn't ignore scientific achievements and structures.. [13:49] AristotleVon Doobie: hmmm, ara, I think that nature dictates to us what is waht [13:49] arabella Ella: yes i agree Hope and I think philosophers have been battling ever since to keep the topic alive in its own right [13:49] Samuel Okelly: arab, how does this tally with that which is "natural" being seen as an external truth? [13:50] arabella Ella: Sam ... an external truth? And Ari ... 'nature dictates'??? [13:50] Herman Bergson: Yes, Samuel, a good question and fundamental regading the concept of truth [13:51] hope63 Shepherd: what is "natural"? [13:51] Herman Bergson: In fact we are back at the epistemological roots here [13:51] AristotleVon Doobie: nature is the boss [13:51] hope63 Shepherd: boss or not- we are part of this universe.. [13:52] arabella Ella: if nature is the boss ... where is our autonomy ... if u say we have free will? [13:52] hope63 Shepherd: and only a part... [13:52] Herman Bergson: That Aristotle is one of these statements the logical positivists would qualify as meaningless [13:52] AristotleVon Doobie: oh yes we are Hope and we do affect it in a very minor way [13:52] hope63 Shepherd: at least less thanit affects us:) [13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: you think, hope, that nature does not affect us? [13:53] hope63 Shepherd: no.. we affect in a minor way.. universe affects us in a big way:) [13:53] Herman Bergson: Since we now have reached discussing the whole universe I would suggest to conclude our discussion here..:-) [13:53] AristotleVon Doobie: :)) thank you Heramn [13:53] Ze Novikov: smiles [13:53] Alarice Beaumont smiles [13:54] Herman Bergson: I thank you for the good discussion again...:-) [13:54] Qwark Allen: :-) [13:54] Alarice Beaumont: oh .. what about global warming?? we do affect nature very much, Hope [13:54] hope63 Shepherd: macrokosmos can be found in microcosmos herman..:) [[13:54] arabella Ella: thank you Herman [13:54] Gemma Cleanslate: ty Herman [13:54] Wisdom Streeter: thanks herman [13:54] Ze Novikov: ty [13:54] Alarice Beaumont: yes.. ty Herman :-) [13:54] Ze Novikov: and again Happy Birthday!! [13:54] Herman Bergson: As always it was a pleasure :-) [13:55] Samuel Okelly: thank you herman :) [13:55] Herman Bergson: thank you for attending my class [13:55] arabella Ella: Happy Birthday Herman!!!!! [13:55] hope63 Shepherd: thank you herman and all of you- feel much less tired as i did when i started listening..:) [13:55] AristotleVon Doobie: thee was an old commercial, for butter I thnk, that admonished us 'not to mess with mother nature' [13:55] Rodney Handrick: Is it your birthday Herman? [13:55] Herman Bergson: and thank you for your birthday presents too..:-) [13:55] Gemma Cleanslate: :-) [13:56] Herman Bergson: Yesterday it was....the score is now set to 59! [13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: hope you enjoyed it in rl [13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: a spring chicken ! [13:56] Gemma Cleanslate: lol [13:56] AristotleVon Doobie: young a t 59 [13:56] Wisdom Streeter: happy birthday [13:56] Herman Bergson: sure Aristotle..:-) [13:57] Alarice Beaumont: ah.. very good age Herman :-) [13:57] Samuel Okelly: thanks again herman :) tc every1 :) [13:57] hope63 Shepherd: a late happy birthday herman... last year for you before you make the big leap to wisdom:) [13:57] Herman Bergson: You have expereince Alarice ? ^_^ [13:57] Alarice Beaumont: ^^ [13:57] herman Bergson smiles [13:57] Tiara Calvert: It's not 59 years old, it's 59 years wise anyway. Thank you for another great class. Have a wonderful day everyone. [13:57] Qwark Allen: and me to!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY HERMAN!!!! [13:58] Herman Bergson: thank you Tiara [13:58] Alarice Beaumont: men get interesting in that ages. getting grrey hair and are usually enjoying life ;-) [13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: see you thursday i hope [13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: alll [13:58] Ze Novikov: bb [13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: what age are you when you look out into the world is what is improtant [13:58] Mickorod Renard: bye gemma [13:58] Herman Bergson: I do, Alarice....true..:-) [13:58] Alarice Beaumont: :-) [13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: from the inside out [13:58] Herman Bergson: Bye Ze [13:58] AristotleVon Doobie: bye Ze [13:58] Alarice Beaumont: oh i depends how one feels Ari [13:58] Ze Novikov: bb everyone [13:58] Mickorod Renard: bye ze [13:58] Rodney Handrick: Bye Ze [13:58] Alarice Beaumont: Bye Ze .-) [13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: whoa!!!!!! [13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: those seats are getting crazy [13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: whoa, nellie [13:59] Alarice Beaumont: lol [13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: :)) [13:59] Qwark Allen: sry [13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: lol [13:59] Herman Bergson: I agree... [13:59] AristotleVon Doobie: fantastic dismounts [13:59] Qwark Allen: i`m half in the floor [13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: lolol' [13:59] Alarice Beaumont: oops [13:59] Herman Bergson: too much gunpowder in them [13:59] arabella Ella: bye herman hope u r still celebrating [13:59] arabella Ella: bye everyone [13:59] Qwark Allen: yes [13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: the horse kicked me [13:59] Herman Bergson: Bye all [13:59] Alarice Beaumont: lol