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verificationany procedure regarded as establishing the TRUTH of a proposition or hypothesis.
an empirical confirmation of a theoretical scientific proposition, by a “return” to the visual level of cognition, whereby the ideal level of abstractions is ignored and the abstractions are identified with observable objects. For example, ideal geometrical objects such as points and straight lines are identified with their sensible forms. Generally, verification is the construction of a visual model for any given theory.
The idea of verification developed gradually as the role of logical deduction in the elaboration of scientific notions grew stronger. The recognition, particularly in mathematics and theoretical physics, of the possibility of a discrepancy between logical (abstract) thought and intuitive thought related to observability (for example, the discovery of continuous functions that have no derivative functions) gave rise to the need to substantiate the relation between abstraction and reality. A well-known expression of this need and at the same time of the position of empirical philosophy was the demand already made by Kant for the “observable exclusion” of any abstraction: “It is imperative to make any abstract conception sensory (Sinnlich), that is, to show the object corresponding to it in contemplation, since without this a conception (as it is said) would have no sense (ohne Sinn), that is to say, it would be devoid of meaning” (Works, vol. 3, Moscow, 1964, p. 302). In the neopositivist philosophy, this demand has acquired the status of a methodological principle—the principle of verifiability through experience, or the verification principle. To a certain extent it is analogous to the demand for the practical applicability of abstractions, through the removal of abstractions and their replacement by the “concrete” objects from which they are (can be) abstracted. However, as not every applicable abstraction can be verified, that is, excluded by the “visual” method (for not every reality expressed by an abstraction is observable), the criterion of verification is not identical with the criterion of practice.
REFERENCESWittgenstein, L. Logiko-filosofskii traktat. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from German.)
Narskii, I. S. Sovremennyi pozitivism: Kriticheski ocherk. Moscow, 1961.
Ianovskaia, S. A. “Problemy v vedeniia i iskliucheniia abstraktsii bolee vysokikh (chem pervyi) poriadkov.” In The Foundation of Statements and Decisions: Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Methodology of Sciences, Held in Warsaw 18-23 September, 1961. Warsaw, 1965.
Nevanlinna, R. Prostranstvo vremia i otnositel’nost’. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from German.)
Schlick, M. “Meaning and Verification.” Philosophical Review, 1936, vol. 45, no. 4.
Carnap, R. “Testability and Meaning.” Philosophy of Science, 1936, vol. 3, no. 4; vol. 4, no. 1.
M. M. NOVOSELOV