Logical Positivism

Logical positivism, also known as logical empiricism neopositivism, was a movement in Western philosophy whose central thesis was the verification principle also called the verifiability criterion of meaning. This theory of knowledge stated that only statements that are unfalsifiably verifiable through logical proof or direct observation are meaningful when it comes to conveying truth value, factual or informational content. Starting in the late 1920s, groups of philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists formed the Berlin Circle and the Vienna Circle propounded the ideas of logical positivism.

The idea flourished in several European centers throughout the 1930s with the movement seeking to prevent confusion that is rooted in unclear language and unverifiable claims by converting the art of philosophy to a science, which, as per the logical positivists, ought to share the structures and bases of the best examples of empirical sciences, like Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Even though its ambition was to overhaul philosophy by studying and mimicking the conduct of empirical science, logical positivism became erroneously stereotyped as a movement to regulate the scientific process and place strict standards on it.

After World War II, the movement shifted to a more benign form, logical empiricism, which was led mainly by Carl Hempel, who had immigrated to the United States during the rise of Nazism. In the ensuing years, the central premises of the movement remained unresolved and were heavily criticized by leading philosophers, particularly Karl Popper and Willard van Orman Quine and even within the movement itself, by Hempel. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, written by Thomas Kuhn, dramatically shifted the focus of academic philosophy.

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