Logical Positivism essay
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Logical positivism is just another name for the logical empiricism otherwise referred to as neo-positivism and scientific philosophy. Logical positivism and logical empiricism are branches of analytical philosophy which employs the principle of reasoning and observational evidence as the true basis of knowledge. Both logical positivism and logical empiricism combine rationalism that involves the use of logical constructs, scientific and mathematical concepts, and guided deductions to discover or verify knowledge. The two strongly oppose the principles of metaphysics.
Although logical empiricism and logical positivism could be used interchangeably, there is no much difference in their contextual meanings and applications. Logical empiricism operates on the principle that knowledge comes from human sensory experiences that are perceived through senses namely hearing, smell, touch and sight. In other words, the logical empiricism emphasizes largely on experiences of the sensory perception and observational evidence in the formation of new ideas that would later turn into knowledge. Contrarily, logical positivism basically derives knowledge from logical reasoning, findings of carefully designed scientific experiments tested against nature, revelation and intuition.
It is most important to note that logical positivism and logical empiricism work hand in hand and that none of them can stand alone in the absence of the other. The scientific knowledge generated under logical positivism from the experiments, statements of the language, logical reasoning and intuition are first tested by the principles of logical empiricism. This is an implication that logical positivism has successfully integrated all the underlying concepts of logical empiricism.
Quine openly criticized the existing distinction between synthetic and analytical statements as advanced by the logical positivism. The philosopher is categorical that there is a serious discrepancy in the meaning of statements taken from the synthetic sense and from analytical sense separately. This imminent lack of standardization in the meaning of statements render logical positivism unreliable source of knowledge compared to the logical empiricism. According to Quine, any reliable source of information should be consistent in all circumstances regardless of time span. Secondly, the meaning of any statement should not change from one individual to another as it does in the case of logical positivism.
Additionally, Quine is highly opposed to the mere fact that logical positivism reduces the meaning of statements to the empirical experiences of the interpreter. Considering that experiences are strictly limited to observable phenomena and that not all things could be directly perceived by the human senses, the logical positivism is highly narrow in scope hence could not be relied on as a good source of new ideas because knowledge is largely abstract in nature. Quine maintains that historical aspects, which are grossly omitted by the logical positivism, play a very important role in helping find true meaning of a statement. As such, the scientific logical positivism cannot get to the true meaning of knowledge without highlighting its historical background and the existing theories surrounding its use.
In his own recommendation, Quine maintains that logical positivism could yield reliable and true knowledge on condition that its adapts a holistic nature of testing that calls for an all round integrated use of immediate experiences from human senses, scientific experiments, observations, historical theories and laws of nature.