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basic proposition

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E pistemology For logical positivists , a proposition or statement that describes the content of one's present experience, such as “I feel a headache.” Propositions of this kind are considered to be basic because of their privileged epistemological position. They are incorrigible, that is, their truth cannot be denied by other evidence. Further, they can provide the test for the truth or falsity of other propositions and are the terminus of any process of empirical verification. In these respects, they are claimed to provide the foundations of all knowledge. But for there to be such incorrigible propositions would require that I have private experiences to which I can give private descriptions, a view sharply disputed in Wittgenstein's discussion of the possibility of a private language. Other logical positivists call basic propositions “protocol propositions,” “experiential propositions,” observational proposition, or “elementary proposition.” “It is characteristic of these propositions, which I have elsewhere called ‘basic propositions,’ that they refer solely to the content of a single experience.” Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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