chapter  2
36 Pages

THE LOGICAL POSITIVISTS AND THE VERIFIABILITY PRINCIPLE The program and its motivations

THE PROGRAM AND ITS MOTIVATIONS We have seen that many empiricists have held that inquiry must be unified by the principle that only statements about sensory phenomena are legitimate. If inquiry is conducted in this spirit, which is supposed to be the spirit of science, then human progress is possible. The logical positivists (otherwise known as the logical empiricists or the Vienna Circle) continued in this optimistic tradition, arguing that progress is possible if and only if all branches of knowledge are conducted in the same clear, straightforward, observational and logical language. We must turn our backs on the thought that philosophy, for instance, is ‘a system of knowledge’ and turn toward the thought that only science provides us with knowledge.1 Science has no limits: ‘there is no question whose answer is in principle unattainable by science’.2