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The verification theory (of meaning) is a philosophical theory proposed by the logical positivists of the Vienna Circle. A simplified form of the theory states that a proposition's meaning is determined by the method through which it is empirically verified. In other words, if something cannot be empiricially verified, it is meaningless. For example, the statement "It is raining" is meaningless unless there is a way whereby one could, in principle, verify whether or not it is in fact raining. The theory has radical consequences for traditional philosophy as it, if correct, would render much of past philosophical work meaningless, for example metaphysics and ethics. However, this theory also leads to a self-contradiction, as this theory cannot empirically prove itself as true, based on itself.

See also

Fields of study and principles:

Schools and individuals:

  • A.J. Ayer (1910-1986) A British logical positivist
  • Moritz Schlick (1882-1936) The German founding faather of logical positivism
  • Vienna Circle The group around Moritz Schlick at Vienna University from 1922
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