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Logical Positivism

(logical neopositivism; consistent empiricism; logical empiricism; scientific empiricism). Philos. movement which fl. in the 1930s, with roots in Eng. and Austria; primarily concerned with language and epistemology; exponents tried to achieve empirical and scientific accuracy in all philos. thought. Held that a sentence is significant only if it can be empirically verified in principle; mathematical and logical propositions are tautological and do not contribute to knowledge; statements not empirical, and tautological statements, are “meaningless”; metaphysical and theol. propositions are rejected as lacking cognitive meaning. Prominent representatives of the movement include L. Wittgenstein* (in his early writings) and B. A. W. Russell.* See also Scientism.

A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic, 2d ed. (London, 1946); R. Carnap, Philosophy and Logical Syntax (London, 1935).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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