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Philosophy & Religious Studies   >   Verificationism

Background to Verificationism

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In this course, Dr Arif Ahmed (University of Cambridge) explores the empirical verification principle. In the first module, we introduce the philosophical context in which verificationism arose. In the second module, we review the impact of verificationism on metaphysics, ethics, and mathematics. In the third module, we examine Ayer’s modifications of the verification principle, before turning to further criticisms of verificationism in the fourth module. In the fifth module, we go beyond the syllabus to look at Quine’s two dogmas of empiricism, and examine how much of logical positivism survives Quine’s critique.

Background to Verificationism

In this module, we introduce the background to verificationism in philosophy, focusing in particular on (i) Kant’s views on the limits of reason, and the effect of mental categories on our perception of reality (ii) Gottlob Frege’s inauguration of the analysis of language and thought in analytic philosophy (iii) Bertrand Russell’s analysis of definite descriptions (iv) Wittgenstein’s contributions to the philosophy of language (v) the development of verificationism by logical positivists in the Vienna Circle, and A.J. Ayer.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Ahmed, A. (2022, June 13). Verificationism - Background to Verificationism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Ahmed, A. "Verificationism – Background to Verificationism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 13 Jun 2022,

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Dr Arif Ahmed

Dr Arif Ahmed

University of Cambridge