Essay on The Burden of Proof in Philosophy and Science

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The Burden of Proof in Philosophy and Science In Language, Truth, and Logic, Alfred J. Ayer describes the revolutionary idea that philosophy is only useful and significant if it can be proven. This can be otherwise said as the elimination of metaphysics from the practice. While metaphysics focuses on a priori knowledge questions which are unanswerable to scientific observation and analysis, Ayer feels that one must at least be able to establish a "criterion of verifiability" of a statement- by which one can at least determine if truth or falsity can be discovered. This is also known as the verifiability principle. "We say that a sentence is factually significant to any given person, if, and…show more content…
We cannot establish the means to verify that there is a transcendent realm of forms in another life because we have no experience with any other life. We accept something as "good" or "beautiful" because it is pleasing to us and those around us, not because we have established a way to prove their goodness or beauty. Ayer would not be convinced that either of these exist because we have no way of proving anything besides that which we see for ourselves and come. For the same reason, we cannot verify whether or not our souls live forever. We do not have the ability to even make assertions about what happens after death, because we have no possible way of even making an educated guess. However, metaphysical statements that may lack any means for being literally true, can still have moral significance. People who truly believe something is true may still reap the benefits of their belief; such as the confidence or inspiration they might draw from it. These metaphysical claims "may still serve to express or arouse, emotion, and thus be subject to ethical or aesthetic standards." Another distinction that Ayer makes in his writings is the difference between strong and weak factually significant propositions. Strong propositions are those in which "its truth could be
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