Has logical positivism been successfully debunked?

[Olaf Simons, Gotha, Germany] What would the world look like if logical positivism had been “debunked”? – A question I have been requested to answer on Quora (“your best source for knowledge”, so the advertisement). (I hate these sources that ask you instead of telling you the answer.)

Are we talking about a world in which we can no longer say why a photo can give a street view? (Logical positivism tried to explain that.) Are we talking about a world in which maps do not make sense any longer? – because we cannot use them any longer in order to get from where we a destination we have happily found on the map? Do we try to think of a world in which the statement “there is still a litre of milk in the fridge” cannot be used any longer between two people who are sharing a flat and who discuss whether a package of milk has to be added to the shopping list? Logical positivists tried to state why such a Statement can and does actually make sense. Or have we – on the other hand – begun to believe that the sciences can tell us what is ethically right and wrong? Logical positivists said they can’t – and indeed we get “new atheists” who say that the sciences are the best tool to determine what is right and wrong. We are speaking here of a philosophy that discussed why we can state facts – and what the sciences can actually not promise to do on the same account.

The idea of “debunking” positivism is intriguing since logical positivism has indeed attracted immensely popular refutations. Some of them went viral as killer applications to be used against the odd logical positivist, while logical positivism itself has rather silently disappeared from the map of active philosophies. Did it vanish because of these refutations? Did Karl Popper kill logical positivism? Or did it kill itself thanks to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s contribution to this particular philosophy?

Quora is a medium of rather short and opinion driven statements. My short assessment is that this is a philosophy that virtually imploded in the shock wave Wittgenstein’s Tractatus sent out. The popular refutations should deserve a perspective even though. They betray a public desire to see this philosophy as dead as if it had never been invented. The very idea of “debunking” logical positivism betrays this desire.

May be this is my brief and unsubstantiated answer to which I should add three or four postings on the most fashionable refutations.

Promise posting number one on this witty couplet:

…to be found here http://positivists.org/blog/archives/2670