Logical Positivism is a teacher centered philosophy that rejects intuition, matters of mind, essences, and inner causes. This philosophy relies on laws of matter and motion as valid, and bases truth on provable fact.

How can I apply logical positivism in the philosophy of education? How would I use logical positivism to explore why teachers teach (objectives), what should be taught (curriculum) and how should the curriculum be taught (teaching strategies)? What is the importance of logical positivism in teaching-learning process?

  • 1
    How logical positivism was presented to America "at large" was by fact-value. And this was one concept that caught on like wildfire, and it's still out there. Still viable. So did the logical positivists win? In a sense, yes. – Gordon Aug 28 '18 at 3:57
  • is logical positivism an opposite of existentialism? – Quaine Aug 28 '18 at 4:19
  • Is it like existentialism? No. I mean it answers a different set of problems. I will try to find a YouTube for you which features an older A.J. Ayer. – Gordon Aug 28 '18 at 4:31
  • I recommend that you watch this a few times and listen carefully. m.youtube.com/watch?v=nG0EWNezFl4 – Gordon Aug 28 '18 at 4:34
  • (I mention behaviorism above because behavior can be observed, and observed by more than one person, it is "objective", and therefore we don't have to guess what goes on in another's mind. ) – Gordon Aug 28 '18 at 6:10

Logical positivism up and died many years ago, though some features of it continue to echo in current philosophical thinking. It is likely that your teacher has in mind some more general features of analytical philosophy in the English-speaking tradition. These include:

  • An emphasis on paying attention to empirical data rather than fancy mystical ideas.
  • Giving an important place to science as against tradition or authority as sources of information.
  • Focusing on conjectures that are testable, rather than engaging in ad hoc theorising.
  • Making use of formal logic wherever possible to illuminate and clarify ideas.
  • Preferring analysis and critical thinking to obfuscation.
  • Challenging commonly held views, especially one's own.
  • Searching for flaws in one's views by engaging with those who disagree.

If you teach your students these things, you will be doing them a service.


Logical Positivism is a teacher centered philosophy that rejects intuition, matters of mind, essences, and inner causes. This philosophy relies on laws of matter and motion as valid, and bases truth on provable fact.

You haven't described your position very clearly so it is a bit difficult to say much about it. But what you have written so far is inconsistent.

Laws of motion can't be proven. Such laws constrain the motion of every physical object in the universe at all times. There is lots of motion we can't observe that could deviate from those laws of motion, e.g. - motion in the core of the sun, so those laws could be false. So those laws can't be shown to be true or probably true or good or anything like that - they can't be proven.

Since your description of this philosophy is inconsistent it can't be applied to teaching or to anything else.

  • How is this relevant to education? And "relies on laws of matter and motion as valid" says nothing about "proving", there is nothing inconsistent about relying on unproven or even unprovable beliefs (like religion or falsificationism). As for "provable facts", the standards for "proving" them are pretty low, reporters are satisfied with a couple of witnesses, for example. So it is hard to see what the point of your post here is. – Conifold Aug 28 '18 at 20:17
  • @Conifold If LP relies on only using provable fact, and it uses laws of motion, then it is self contradictory since laws of motion are not provable facts. I don't think being unprovable is a reason to avoid using an idea, but that is completely irrelevant to the consistency of the poster's ideas. and if the poster's ideas aren't consistent they can't be applied to education or to anything else. – alanf Aug 29 '18 at 7:19
  • Inconsistent ideas have been applied for centuries, occasionally with success, pragmatic utility does not require consistency. And OP's phrasing only mentions relying on "laws of matter and motion", not them being "provable facts". And "provable" they may well be, for that matter, since we are not told what "provable" means. – Conifold Aug 29 '18 at 17:48
  • Inconsistent ideas have not been applied since it is impossible to apply them. Rather, people have decided what to do in an ad hoc way according to their own preferences using parts of inconsistent ideas as excuses for their actions. Even where where this ad hockery works it prevents flaws in ideas from being recognised and corrected. And where such ad hoc decisions don't work it's difficult to work out why they didn't work. The poster sez that truth is based on provable fact, so the truth of the laws of motion requires them to be provable in this position. – alanf Aug 30 '18 at 7:19
  • The poster's lack of an explanation of what provable means is a point against his position, not a point in its favour. It's better for everyone involved to be clear and say to the poster that his position is vague, apparently inconsistent and inapplicable than to make excuses for it. – alanf Aug 30 '18 at 7:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.