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7 Cards in this Set

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'A proposition is only meaningful if it can be verified by sense experience'

^'the statue is beautiful' is meaningless

^religious language is meaningless


-people make propositions that are meaningful to them, but the only propositions meaningful generally are those that can be verified

Practical verifiability: statements can be tested in reality

Principle verifiability: statements verifiable in the long term

Strong verification: things that can be verified by sense experience

Weak verification: things shown to be probable

^ayer then acknowledged that there was little difference

Weaknesses of verification:

-shrodingers cat: it is possible for a statement to be meaningful without being verifiable

-the definition of verification is unverifiable in itself

-Wittgenstein: verification is more suited to the physical world than to belief


A proposition is only meaningful if it can be falsified by sense experience

^this is a way to demarcate scientific statements from other types of statements (ie gravity vs astrology)

^religious statements are not meaningful

Flew (the parable of the gardener):

-believers will allow nothing to falsify their beliefs, like the gardener

-God talk is meaningless and unfalsifiable

Hare and Mitchell respond to Hume:

Hare (the lunatic and bliks):

-bliks are not falsifiable and do not make factual claims

-bliks are meaningful to the individual

Mitchell (the story of the gardener):

-belief in God requires significant faith, like the persons belief in the stranger

^tpoe does not stop believers believing

-the strangers arbitrary actions resemble gods

-theists are not blind to the problems of faith, but their faith is larger than this

Via negativa

God is a transcendent being beyond human comprehension, therefore God can only be spoken about in negative terms

Plotinus: links to plates form of the good:

-the form is separate and beyond, this helps to understand how ineffable God is

-we cannot talk about God with our language as God is transcendent and this anthropomorphises him

Maimonides: the only positive statement that can be made about God is that he exists


-the vicious circle: surely talking about the negative also implies the positive

-what is God: if we keep stating what God is not, is he anything at all?


'Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must remain silent'

^you cannot understand a language game unless you are part of it

-meaning of words are determined by the game, thus meaningful if spoken about correctly within the game

-religious terminology is meaningful within the language game of religion


-fideism: faith is more important than reason, if no one outside of the game can understand, no statement can be falsified, all language is meaningless

-external rationality: no external rationality prevents any type of debate

Myths (bultmann)

"Myth is that manner of representation in which the unworldly and divine appears as the worldly and human"

Religious myth: a story in which God is seen to act in a human manner

^this causes people to loss sight of the meaning of the story


-bultmann looks for the kergyma (proclamation) which is what theology attempts to communicate

^presents the issue of mythology, myths obscure the kergyma

-the bible needs to be demythologised to find the meaning

Weakness of Bultmann:

-gadamer: attempting to find the kergyman is in vain, we cannot achieve an objective view of text since we can't except we our prejudice



Language means something concrete when applied to God, however it does not mean the same as when applied to humans

Univocal language: means the same no matter how it is applied

Equivocal language: different meaning when applied to different things

Analogy of attribution: some words can be used for God and Humans and mean the same, these are part of Gods nature or judge

Analogy of proportion: 'dog is good'- the dog is a proportion of good, 'God is good' God is the whole of good

^we don't fully understand what is meant by the whole of a term so we use analogy

Weaknesses of analogy:

-analogy assumes similarity between God and humanity, it is difficult to see how our language can describe an ineffable God

Models and qualifiers- Ramsey

-words tell us something about God but not everything (like models)

^models need to be qualified to gain insight

'God is good' -model

^this concept of good is different to the human concept of good - qualifier

-religious language is model that leads to a better understanding of God when qualified