Paul Henry Rosenberg rad at
Mon Mar 22 07:36:54 PST 1999

Angela wrote:

> >> concepts - which is what this thread was discussing originally -
> >> aren't just words, right? how do you define concepts by pointing?
> >
> >Difficult question which I'll leave aside for now.<
> yes it is a difficult question, but it is *the* question. i can be
> patient.
> > Ideological speech is speech that is (1) not empirically
> verified,<
> can the principle of verifiability be verified?

Even the positivists abandoned verification nearly 70 years ago.

You can still use the term "verification" for testing a theory in a colloquial sense, but philosophically it's universally recognized that no amount of obeservations which accord with a theory actually verify it.

After all, there a couple of centuries worth of "verification" for Newton's theory of gravity -- felled by Einstein's -- and Newtonian mechanics -- felled by quantum mechanics shortly thereafter.

(Of course, Newton's theories continue to provide very acceptable results for virtual all everyday concerns, and one could argue that this looser pragmatic utility is what those centuries of obsevations "verified". The farther we get from strict standards, the more acceptable the use of "verification". Provided we know what we're doing, there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with this.)

-- Paul Rosenberg Reason and Democracy rad at

"Let's put the information BACK into the information age!"

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