Positivism and Christianity: A Study of Theism and by Kenneth H. Klein (auth.)

By Kenneth H. Klein (auth.)

This essay is conceived as a serious exposition of the primary matters that determine within the ongoing dialog among Logical Positivists and neo­ Positivists at the one hand and Christian apologists at the different. My expository target is to isolate and to explain the most matters that experience emer­ ged within the prolonged dialogue among males of Positivistic flip of brain and males sympathetic to the claims of Christianity. My severe goal is to pick normal, influential stands which have been taken on each one of those matters, to evaluate their viability, and to isolate sure dilemmas which dialogue of those concerns has generated. i'm confident that the now in most cases rejected verifiability conception of which means is particularly in most cases misunderstood and has been rejected regularly for the incorrect purposes. earlier than it's solid off-if it truly is to be forged off-what is required is a reconsideration of that conception and of the objections that its a number of formulations have elicited. in addition, not less than partly due to a misconstruing of the verifiability doctrine, there were a few interesting-though for my part unsuccessful-claims complicated in regards to the testability-status of sentences expressive of Christian trust. furthermore, of their haste to vindicate Christianity, a few apologists were particularly cavalier, in my view, approximately what "Christianity" contains. This quantity bargains what i'm hoping may be a transparent assertion and research of the main issues at factor among Positivism and Christianity, including my very own overview of the place the argument stands now.

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Extra info for Positivism and Christianity: A Study of Theism and Verifiability

Sample text

First, empirical statements exclude some contingencies. A successful, informative statement satisfies two conditions: first, that I, the speaker, claim that things stand thus and so, and not otherwise; second, that you, the hearer, know what it would be like to find that what I assert is not the case, that things stand otherwise. Under normal circumstances, my asserting that John loves Mary of a John and a Mary known to both of us satisfies the conditions. Difficult as it might be to tell whether John loves Mary, the claim that it is so, spoken under normal circumstances, raises no special testability problems in that the statement has what might be called a limited-contingency-range.

Admittedly, the extent to which God, as conceived in the Judeo-Christian tradition, is held to have entered into relations with the world often fostered the suspicion that the God of that tradition is not wholly transcendent. A God who is alleged to have made himself visible to persons in the Old Testament times and/or to have become incarnate in Jesus Christ is surely different in important respects from an utterly transcendent God. What Passmore calls the "many transactions between the natural and the supernatural order" alleged by classical Christian theologians, made some Positivists-Rudolf Carnap, for example-wary of generalizing about the distinctive meaning of 'God' in its theistic usage.

In the nature of the case we are denied that ultimate, terminal ostensive step by which what a factually significant statement says is tied, by an act of indication, to what might be given in experience, tied to what it is ultimately all about. Passmore observed that "... "49 If "There is a (transcendent) God" were factually significant, then it would convey a description of some state of affairs; indeed, it would refer to some definite state of affairs, and not another, if what it says is true.

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