Logical Positivism

In the 1920’s a group of philosophers known as the logical positivists had a movement that originated in Vienna and grew popular throughout philosophy over time. The original group of these philosophers were known as the “Vienna Circle.” They were all mostly scientists who favored the work of Einstein, Mach and Poincare. The history of philosophy interested the Vienna Circle as well as the philosophical views of Hume and Kant. The main goal of their group was to search and find scientific truths. The Nazi party was not in favor of the Vienna Circle during this time as well as the Circle not agreeing with the views of the Nazis. The Vienna Circle wanted to resurrect and update the idea of Hume’s fork which included the idea that all propositions were either analytic, synthetic, or just plain nonsense. Their idea to update Hume’s fork included a man names Rudolf Carnap who presented a description stating basically that “in metaphysics which includes value and normative theory, logical analysis shows negative results that the statements in this domain are completely meaningless.” Basically, language was broken down into two jobs which are expression and representation. Carnap believed that philosophy is completely logical and metaphysics can also be logical even though it gives the illusion of knowledge without actually giving any knowledge. Some of the logical positivists believed in the cause and effect that Hume believed he could not support. Although Hume could not prove that one action caused another, the positivists, specifically a man named Schlick, explained that cause simply means that there is a regularity of sequences used to verify the propositions in which it occurs. So the idea of causality is a successful prediction. He basically represented the expression function of language while also supporting Hume’s idea of causality. Both ideas fall back to the three propositions of analytic, synthetic, and nonsense arguments.


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