Dear AskPhilosophers,

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Dear AskPhilosophers, I am struggling to understand a point about Verificationism, which as I understand it is a doctrine that says that a statement is only meaningful if it can (in principle) be proved true or false. One interesting aspect of this doctrine is that is suggests that the sentence "The Earth is very old" is meaningless, as it is impossible to verify whether the Earth really is very old or whether we and it popped into existence a few seconds ago with all our beliefs about its age 'pre-coded' in our heads and various clues as to its age (fossils, radiometric dating etc) planted there to trick us if we choose to investigate in the future. But doesn't this mean ANY statement is meaningless under a verificationist account, since it is impossible to distinguish between "P" and "I, and anyone I choose to consult on this topic, are being systematically deceived into believing P"? Can a verificationist give an account of a sentence that she would find meaningful? Thanks very much