Logical positivism is an important Western philosophy with a central idea of verification; the doctrine that all knowledge about matters of fact stems from and relies on sensory experience and remains hypothetical. It accepts scientific inquiry and rejects metaphysics. But Popper called himself 'a tottering old metaphysician' ... so will you consider Popper a logical positivists?

  • Welcome to SE Philosophy! Thanks for your contribution. Please take a quick moment to take the tour or find help. You can perform searches here or seek additional clarification at the meta site.
    – J D
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 16:02

3 Answers 3


Usually Karl Popper is credited with having contributed to the death of logical positivism, so no, I wouldn't say Karl Popper is a logical positivist.

That being said, many analytic philosophers after logical positivism still kept much of the attitude of positivism, such as logical analysis, defining ones terms, skepticism towards "grand" metaphysical programs, respect for science and empirical results, and so on, while rejecting the specific doctrines of logical positivism. See AJ Ayer's humorous comments in an interview with Bryan Magee for example. Ayer thinks "nearly all of it was false" yet it was true in spirit.


The quick and easy answer to your question is no. In fact, Popper was a critic of logical positivism. From WP on Popper:

Here, he criticised psychologism, naturalism, inductivism, and logical positivism, and put forth his theory of potential falsifiability as the criterion demarcating science from non-science.

Logical positivism had a number of philosophical positions one of which might be understood as the only meaningful source of knowledge and truth was that which might be verified. In contradistinction to this Popper believed that the position wasn't tenable and that the important philosophical question is whether or not one could determine whther or not a question is scientific through falsifiability. The former position is one that declares only science can provide truth, whereas the latter position speaks not to truth, but to a definition of science. Popper's views on truth, thus, were more in line with the less radical claim that truth can come from many sources other than science.


Yes, he was. He claimed to critique neopositivism, but actually didn't understand it quite well and unconsciously agreed with many things Vienna Circle said

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .