Gift Guide

Language, Truth and Logic [NOOK Book]


Classic introduction to objectives and methods of schools of empiricism and linguistic analysis, especially of the logical positivism derived from the Vienna Circle. Topics: elimination of metaphysics, function of philosophy, nature of philosophical analysis, the a priori, truth and probability, critique of ethics and theology, self and the common world, more.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Language, Truth and Logic

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$5.99 price
(Save 13%)$6.95 List Price


Classic introduction to objectives and methods of schools of empiricism and linguistic analysis, especially of the logical positivism derived from the Vienna Circle. Topics: elimination of metaphysics, function of philosophy, nature of philosophical analysis, the a priori, truth and probability, critique of ethics and theology, self and the common world, more.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486113098
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 3/21/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 754,288
  • File size: 628 KB

Table of Contents

Ch. I. The Elimination of Metaphysics
What is the purpose and method of philosphy?
"Rejection of the metaphysical thesis that philosophy affords us knowledge of a transcendent reality,"
"Kant also rejected metaphysics in this sense, but whereas he accused metaphysicians of ignoring the limits of the human understanding we accuse them of disobeying the rules which govern the significant use of language."
Adoption of verifiability as a a criterion for testing the significance of putative statements of fact.
Distinction between conclusive and partial verification.
No propositions can be conclusively verified.
Or conclusively confuted
For a statement of fact to be genuine some possible observations must be relevant to the deterination of its truth or falsehood.
"Examples of the kinds of assertions, familiar to philosphers, which are ruled out by our criterion."
Metaphysical sentences defined as sentences which express neither tautologies nor empirical hypotheses.
Linguistic confusions the prime source of metaphysics.
Metaphysics and Poetry.
Ch. II. The Function of Philosophy
Philosophy is not a search for first principles.
Barrenness of Descartes' procedure.
The function of philosophy is wholly critical.
But this does not mean that it can give an a priori justification of our scientific or common-sense assumptions.
"There is no genuine problem of induction, as ordinarily conceived."
Philosophising is an activity of analysis.
"Most philosophers in our sense, rather than metaphysicuabs,"
"Locke, Berkeley, Hume as analysts."
We adopt Berkeley's phenomenalism without his theism.
And take a Humean view of causation.
Philosophy in our doctrine of atomism.
"The philosopher as an analyst is not concerned with the physical properties of things, but only with the way in which we speak about them."
Linguistic propositions disguised in factual terminology.
Philosophy issues in definitions.
Ch. III. The Nature of Philosophical Analysis
"Philosophy provides not explicit definitions, such as are given in dictionaries, but definitions in use."
Explanation of this distinction.
"Russell's "theory of descriptions" as an example of philosophical analysis."
Definition of an ambiguous symbol.
Definition of a logical construction.
Material things are logical constructions out of sense-contents.
By defining the notion of a material thing in terms of sense-contents we solve the so called problem of perception.
A solution of this problem outlined as a further example of philosophical analysis.
Utility of such analyses.
Danger of saying that philosphy is concerned with meaning.
The propositions of philosophy are not empirical propositions concerning the way in which people actually use words.
They are concerned with the logical consequences of linguistic conventions.
"Rejection of the view that "every language has a structure concerning which in the language nothing can be said."
Ch. IV. The A Priori
"As empiricists, we must deny that any general proposition concerning a matter of fact can be known certainly to be valid."
How then are we to deal with the propositions of formal logic and mathematics?
Rejection of Mill's view that these propositions are inductive generalisations.
They are necessarily true because they are analytic.
Kan'ts definitions of analytic and synthetic judgments.
Emendation of Kant's definitions.
Analytic propositions are tautological; they say nothing concerning any matter of fact.
"But they give us new knowledge, inasmuch as they bring to light the implications of our linguistic usages."
"Logic does not describe "the laws of thought."
Nor geometry the properties of physical space.
Our account of a priori truths undermines Kant's transcendental system.
"How, if they are tautological, can there be in mathematics and logic the possibility of invention and discovery?"
Ch. V. Truth and Probability
What is truth?
Definition of a proposition.
"The words "true" and "false" function in the sentence simply as assertion and negation signs."
"The "problem of truth" reduced to the question."
How are propositions validated?
The criterion of the validity of empirical propositions is not purely formal.
"No empirical propositions are certain, not even those which refer to immediate experience."
Observation confirms or discredits not just a single hypothesis but a system of hypotheses.
"The "facts of experience" can never compel us to abandon a hypothesis."
Danger of mistaking synthetic for analytic propositions.
Hypotheses as rules which govern our expectation of future experience.
Definition of rationality.
Definition of probability in terms of rationality.
Propositions referring to the past.
Ch. VI. Critique of Ethics and Theology
How does an empiricist deal with assertions of value?
Distinction between verious types of ethical enquiry
Utilitarian and subjectivist theories of ethics consistent with empiricism.
But unacceptable on other grounds.
Distinction between normative an descriptive ethical symbols.
Rejection of intuitionism.
"Assertions of value are not scientific but "emotive."
They are therefore neither true nor false.
"They are partly expressions of feeling, partly commands."
Distinction between expressions and assertions of feeling.
Objection that this view makes it impossible to dispute about questions of value.
"Actually, we never do dispute about questions of value, but always about questions of fact."
Ethics as a branch of knowledge comprehended in the social sciences.
The same applies to æsthetics.
Impossibility of demonstrating the existence of a transcedent god.
Or even of proving it probable.
"That a transcedent god exists is a metaphysical assertion, and therefore not literally significant."
Saying this does not make us atheists or agnostics in the ordinary sense.
The belief that men have immortal souls is also metaphysical.
There is no logical ground for conflict between religion and science.
Our views supported by the statements of theists themselves.
Refutation of the argument from religious experience.
Ch. VII. The Self and the Common World
The basis of knowledge.
"Sense-contents as parts, rather than objects, of sense-experiences."
Sense-contents netiher mental nor physical.
Distinction between the mental and the physical applies only to logical constructions.
The existence of epistemological and causal connections between minds and material things open to no a priori objections.
Analysis of the self in terms of sense-experiences.
A sense-experience cannot belong to the sense-history of more than one self.
The substantive ego a fictitious metaphysical entity.
Hume's definition of the self.
That the empirical self survives the dissolution of the body is a self-contradictory proposition.
Does our phenomenalism involve solipsism?
Our knowledge of other people.
How is mutual understanding possible?
Ch. VIII. Solutions of Outstanding Philosophical Disputes
"The nature of philosophy does not warrant the existence of conflicting philosophical "parties."
The conflict between rationalists and empiricists.
Our own logical empiricism to be distinguished from positivism.
"We reject Hume's psychological, as opposed to his logical, doctrines."
Realism and Idealism.
To say that a thing exists is not to say that is is actually being perceived.
Things as permanent possibilities of sensation.
What is perceived is not necessarily mental.
What exists need not necessarily be thought of.
Nor what is thought of exist.
Empirical grounds for supposing that things may exist unperceived.
Monism and Pluralism.
Monistic fallacy that all a thing's properties are constitutive of its nature.
Illustrates the danger of expressing linguistic propositions in factual terminology.
Causality not a logical relation.
Empirical evidence against the monist's view that every event is causally connected with every other.
The unity of science.
Philosophy as the logic of science.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)