Rewriting the Rules of Meaning

from Nov 18, 2020 Category: Ligonier Resources

In a culture where truth itself has come into question, we must pay careful attention to the assumptions people make in support of their preferred beliefs. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul illustrates by examining the so-called “verification principle.”


What was the Achilles’ heel of the principle of verification? The principle of verification has been pretty much discarded by analytical philosophers. Why? What’s wrong with the principle of verification? Let me tell you the principle of verification: “The only meaningful truth is a truth which can be verified either analytically or empirically.” Hm? It’s very easy, so obvious it bites you if it were a snake. There is a principle that the original founders missed completely at the beginning. Their whole philosophy rests on what principle? The truth of the verification of principle. Can the verification principle be verified empirically? Is the verification principle analytically true? If a guy stands up and says the only thing that is true is that which can be verified empirically, can he now verify his statement that the only thing that is true is that which can be verified empirically? No, he can’t verify that empirically. It’s an utterly gratuitous rule. Remember, they’re trying to rewrite the rules of meaning. And if you apply their own rules of meaning to the new rules of meaning that they have foisted upon the public, that rule of meaning collapses, and later philosophers saw that. But dear friends, don’t make any mistake, that the impact on that kind of thinking has been enormous through our culture.