“Evaluate the Claim That Religious Language Is Non-Cognitive and Therefore Meaningless”

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In the debate about religious language, it is important that broadly speaking, there are two types of language, cognitive and non-cognitive. Cognitive language conveys facts i.e. things that we can know or be cognisant of. Non-cognitive language conveys information that is not factual; feelings and emotional claims. Those who believe that religious language is non-cognitive and so meaningless stem their beliefs from the Logical Positivist. The Logical Positivists were a group of philosophers who were primarily concerned with the truth contained in statements we can make, or in other words, with what can be logically posited, or stated. The group began in Vienna, Austria in the 1920s and gathered around a philosopher called Moritz…show more content…
Brian Davies further argued that the verificationism principle itself is unverifiable; one cannot verify whether it is true or false and therefore by its own criteria, it is meaningless. Both Ward and Davies’s arguments significantly weaken verificationism. Hick argued that statements are eschatologically verifiable, so that after someone dies, they can verify all the statements they made when they were alive, however this is a weak argument against verificationism, and it does not weaken the verification principle as much as Hick and Davies. One other philosopher who was influenced by the Logical Positivists (alongside Karl Popper) was Anthony Flew. Flew believed that when you assert something, you are also asserting (whether you like it or not) that there are facts/evidence that may count against your assertion. His Falsification principle proposed that a statement was meaningless if no sense experience could count against it; a statement is meaningful if it is known what empirical evidence could count against it. Flew uses the parable of the gardener to illustrate his point; Two explorers return to come across a garden in which had grown flowers and weeds. Even though there are some areas which are overgrown, there are certain areas that appear to be tended to. One argues that there is a gardener on account of the flowers, the other argues that they could be no
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