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Statement of the Problem
Metaphysics has always occupied a crucial position in the field of philosophy. It can be viewed as the foundation of philosophy. For without an explanation or an interpretation of the world around us, we would be helpless to deal with reality. We could not feed ourselves, or act to preserve our lives. The degree to which our metaphysical worldview is correct is the degree to which we are able to comprehend the world, an act accordingly. Without this firm foundation, all knowledge becomes suspect. Any flaw in our view of reality will make it more difficult to live. Metaphysics is that branch of philosophy which deals with reality and the questions related to Being and the World. According to the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, the word “metaphysics” is derived from the Greek words (meta) (“beyond” or “after”) and (physika) (“physics”)1. Metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions: ultimately, what is there?, and what is it like?. Topics of metaphysics investigation include existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility. The major work in this field came from the Aristotle’s book titled “metaphysics”. The philosophy of science has a well-known history of magnetism and aversion towards metaphysics. The latter finds evidence in the Logical positivism contention that metaphysical question are meaningless. The major logical positivists were Rudolf Carnap, Hans Reichenbach, Karl Popper and many other prominent philosophers.
Logical Positivism (also called logical empiricism and neo-positivism) is a school of philosophy that combines empiricism (the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge of the world) with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logicolinguistic constructs and deductions in epistemology” (Stansford encyclopedia of philosophy) 2. It grew out of the discussion of a group called Vienna-Circle. Their main aim was to reject metaphysics not as something wrong or invalid but as something which is meaningless. They employed the method of “Verifiability theory of meaning” to demonstrate as to whether a statement is meaningful or meaningless. “This principle holds that a claim is meaningful if and only if it could be verified, that is, if and only if some possible set of observation exists that, were they to be, would establish the truth of the claim. “Salmon3. In essence, logical positivist denied the soundness of metaphysics and traditional philosophy asserting that many philosophical problems are indeed meaningless. Logical Positivist thinkers thus threatened the foundation of metaphysics by proposing that philosophy should dismiss any statements or beliefs that were not verifiable or, at least, confirmable by observation or experiment. According to A.J. Ayer4 (who formulated the Principal of Verification), a principal only had meaning if it could be logically verified. Therefore, the only statements and ideas that were of any use were those that were based on logic and scientific thought or based on observations of the natural world, i.e. experiments. As such, philosophy had no business engaging in discussion of morality, religious beliefs, and metaphysics, and such avenues were of no meaning because they could not be verified.
This attitude of logical positivism towards metaphysics is well expressed by Carnap in the article Uberwindung der Metaphysik durch Logische Analyse der Sprache in Erkenntnis, vol. 2, 1932 (English translation The Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language.5) A language according to Carnap consists of a vocabulary, i.e. a set of meaningful words, and a syntax, i.e. a set of rules governing the formation of sentences from the words of the vocabulary. Pseudo-statements, i.e. sequences of words that at first sight resemble statements but in reality have no meaning, are formed in two ways: either meaningless words occur in them, or they are formed in an invalid syntactical way. According to Carnap, pseudo-statements of both kinds occur in metaphysics. In essence, the Vienna circle convicted metaphysics for falsely trying to express as logically structured cognition what is but the inexpressible qualitative content of experience. For the group, meaningfulness meant the possession of “factual content” which could not, on pain of rendering many scientific hypotheses meaningless, be reduced to actual testability. Instead, the empirical significance of a statement had to be conceived of as possession of the potential to receive direct or indirect experiential support (via deductive or inductive reasoning).
It is imperative to note that the logical positivism’s weakness was rather that its own criterion of empirical significance seemed to resist an acceptable formal characterization. Even though, the 1930s witnessed the gradual fall of metaphysical speculation due to the growing popularity of logical positivism. This lasted until the 1960s whereupon metaphysics began to recover and eventually found itself once again in mainstream philosophy. A typical explanation for this ‘re-birth’ of metaphysics is that the critique of logical positivism’s theory of meaning and analyticity, especially by W. V. Quine in reaction to Rudolph Carnap, opened up the sudy of ontology and left the anti-metaphysics stance of positivism unconvincing and unmotivated. What made Quine’s conception of ontology so influential was that he naturalized or domesticated metaphysics by making it part of the same continuum as science. That is not to say that logical positivism is dead, today its influence persists especially in the way of doing philosophy, in the great attention given to the analysis of scientific thought and in the definitely acquired results of the technical researches on formal logic and the theory of profitability.
This study will attempt to critically evaluate the position of the Vienna circle for convicting metaphysics for falsely trying to express as logically structured cognitive what is but the inexpressible qualitative content of experience, and by extension consider if the failure of metaphysics to meet an empirical criterion of significance makes philosophical statement meaningless. In the course of this research, efforts would be made to discuss the various criticism and objections raised by logical positivists against metaphysics and metaphysicians, to elaborate the charges and explain the justifications provided by metaphysicians to support metaphysics.

Statement of Purpose
The purpose of this essay is to undertake a critical evaluation of logical positivism and metaphysics with a view to exploring the perception of logical positivist and metaphysicians on the meaningfulness of meaningless of metaphysics. It is also intended towards serving as an impetus for improving the level of understanding of logical positivism and metaphysics amongst students in Nigerian tertiary institutions by throwing more light on metaphysics and logical positivism’s ideas, principles and benefit.

The thesis of this work states that metaphysics should not be regarded as meaningless because it fails meet an empirical criterion of significance. Hence, the notion that metaphysics must be subjected to verification holds no water.

The method to be adopted in this essay would be analytical, expository critical and argumentative.

Scope and Limitation
This research work, shall attempt to critically evaluate logical positivism and metaphysics.

Sources of Materials
This work aims to make good use of relevant materials such as articles journals, textbooks, Newspapers at Olabisi Onabanjo University, University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, Lagos State University libraries.

Chapter Outline
Chapter One: Conceptual Clarification of Metaphysic
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Meaning and Definition of Metaphysics
1.2 Basic Issues in Metaphysics
1.3 Conclusion
Chapter Two: Philosophical Tenets of Logical Positivism
2.0 Introduction
2.1 Logical Positivism as a Philosophical School of Thought
2.2 Logical Positivism as Analytic Philosophy
2.3 Philosophical Tenet of Logical Positivism
2.3.1 Verifiability Principle
Chapter Three: An Evaluation of Logical Positivism and Metaphysics
3.0 Introduction
3.1 Defending logical positivism
3.2 Philosophical Criticisms of Logical Positivism
3.3 In Defense of Metaphysics
3.4 Critique of Metaphysics
Chapter Four: Summary and Conclusion

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