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Logical Positivism: Metaphysics is Meaningless. A. J. Ayer (1910-89). Statements are meaningful only if they are analytic (tautologies, true/false by definition) or empirical (based on experience) Objection: this principle is neither, so it is meaningless

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logical positivism metaphysics is meaningless
Logical Positivism:Metaphysics is Meaningless

A. J. Ayer (1910-89)

  • Statements are meaningful only if they are analytic (tautologies, true/false by definition) or empirical (based on experience)
    • Objection: this principle is neither, so it is meaningless
  • Because metaphysical, aesthetic, theological and ethical statements are neither tautologies nor statements of fact, they are meaningless (or express only a feeling or emotion, not some truth)
    • Objection: we really don’t believe this
antirealism objects in the world depend on how they are described or perceived
Antirealism: objects in the world depend on how they are described or perceived
  • Postmodernism: the features of reality depend on language. Different (e.g., feminine) languages or ways of thinking identify different realities
    • Objection 1: this makes all realities (even sexist ones) equally valid and not open to critique
    • Objection 2: our descriptions of reality might vary, but not reality itself: otherwise, we could not talk about the “same” thing