Describe the logical positivist view of scientific theories. Explain at least one problem with the view, and assess whether it is a problem for all forms of logical positivism. Logical positivism, developed by the members of the Vienna Circle, was a new way of considering science and language. It was essentially a new version of empiricism based on a theory of language. According the logical positivism the goal of any scientific endeavor, and indeed of science itself, is to trace and forecast patterns, both in every day life and in more esoteric considerations. One way to sum up the logical positivist view is that there is no alternative route to knowledge besides experience
[...] Essentially ladenness of observation means that observational terms “should always be understood in the context of theoretical background beliefs.” An archeologist recognizing the difference between an ordinary stone and an arrowhead, a meteorologist recognizing an approaching storm pattern, or even an individual recognizing that his car's ignition doesn't sound right all of these are examples of how the observations members of specific groups make is partially dependent on theoretical terms and knowledge that is not shared by most other people. What does this mean for the logical positivists, then? [...]
[...] I can feel that the water in my shower is hot, but I can't feel the property of hotness itself, per se. Thus we have to introduce the distinction between types and tokens: “Types are universals, properties, or relations that can be multiply instantiated. Tokens of a universal are the individual instances of that universal.” My observing the hot water is a particular instance of observing the property hot, but is not the property itself. Notice, however, that unlike subjective experiences, our observation of these properties is not direct; it is always mediated through sensation, by our senses. [...]
[...] Although this seems to solve the problem the logical positivists had run into and supplant the verification principle, the logical positivists had never rejected the idea that the testing of scientific theories had to be holistic. In the end, the holistic theory of testing merely extracted and emphasized a point that the logical positivists had already assumed to be true, but had missed the importance of. Does this mean that the logical positivist system as a whole is faulty? I don't necessarily think so. [...]
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