The Verification Criteria of Meaning states that the meaning of an empirical sentence is its own verification conditions.

Empirical statements are those statements whose truth is not intrinsic to the statement itself. In order for an empirical statement to be proven true, it must be scientifically verified (meet certain verification conditions) by observable phenomenon. The VCM claims that the verification conditions that must be met are defined by the meaning of the sentence itself.

For example, consider the empirical statement, β€œThe temperature is 68'F.” The meaning of this statement is that the temperature is 68'F. According to the VCM, in order to prove this statement is truthful, you must meet the verification condition that the temperature is indeed 68'F. To do this, you can look at a thermometer. If the thermometer claims that the temperature is 68'F, you have met the verification conditions, and have proven the empirical statement true.

The VCM is itself an empirical sentence, because it is not an intrinsically true statement. Because the VCM is empirical, it seems logical to apply it to itself. When applied to itself, the VCM states that its own verification conditions are its meaning. Unfortunately, (according to the VCM) its meaning is also its own verification conditions. This recursive cycle continues into infinity.

The VCM, having no observable verification conditions to prove its truth, seems to β€œcommit suicide” and prove itself false.
The VCM was argued by the Vienna Circle. Their objective was to proove that scientific knowledge was true and valuable. They would argue against the people who said "there is as much truth in a poem as in a formula" by stating, no the poem does not adhere to VCM however the formula does. Therefore we can make no statement about the truth value of the poem and must leave commentary about it to our aesthetics, however the formula does satisfy VCM and therefore is true and has value.

As wyv points out VCM is not VCM verifiable. I think the logical problem is of the same class as Russells Paradox but don't hold me to that.

It is intersting to note that Kurt Goedel was a member of the Vienna Circle. His most famous work delt with verifiability of propositions within logical systems.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.