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Verificationism is a position in the philosophy of language according to which the meaning of a sentence is the method of its verification .

Verificationism must be seen against the background of the problem of formulating a criterion of meaning that allows scientifically meaningful statements to be distinguished from metaphysical statements . The intention and consequence of verificationism is that sentences that cannot be verified are labeled as meaningless. Meaningless statements are to be eliminated from empirical science.

Based on Ludwig Wittgenstein , verificationism was represented by the Vienna Circle , in different versions by Rudolf Carnap , Moritz Schlick and Friedrich Waismann .

Verificationism is not simply the reverse of falsificationism . For Karl Popper is concerned with a different problem with the latter: He is not looking for a criterion for the meaning of statements, but rather a criterion to differentiate between empirical science on the one hand and metaphysics, logic , mathematics and pseudoscience on the other. He finds this criterion in the refutability of statements through empirical tests.

The philosopher Daniel Dennett tries to use verificationism to expose problems in the philosophy of mind - such as the problem of quality - as pseudo-problems .

Michael Dummett has explored the following alternative ways of explaining the meaning of a sentence in a particular language within his philosophy of language: a) in terms of how we prove it to be true; b) in terms of what is involved if we accept it as true.

Single receipts

  1. ^ Moritz Schlick : Philosophical Logic . Frankfurt 1986, p. 144.
  2. Hans-Joachim Dahms: Positivism Controversy: The arguments of the Frankfurt School with logical positivism, American pragmatism and critical rationalism. Suhrkamp, ​​1994, ISBN 3-518-28658-7 , p. 330 ff.
  3. "What we have been considering are two alternative ways of explaining the meanings of sentences of a language in terms of how we establish them as true; and in terms of what is involved in accepting them as true ... They are complementary in that both are needed to give an account of the practice of speaking the language. "( Language and Truth. In: The Sea of ​​Language. Oxford 1993, p . 142); see Jürgen Habermas : Truth and Justification. Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-518-29323-0 , p. 96.


  • Carl G. Hempel : Empiricist Criteria of Cognitive Significance: Problems and Changes. In: Aspects of Scientific explanation: And Other Essays In The Philosophy of Science. The Free Press, New York / London 1968.