A. J. Ayer: Memorial Essays (Royal Institute of Philosophy by A. Phillips Griffiths

By A. Phillips Griffiths

A. J. Ayer, who died in 1989, used to be said as certainly one of Britain's so much distinct philosophers. during this memorial number of essays prime Western philosophers give some thought to Ayer's position within the heritage of philosophy and discover facets of his inspiration and instructing. the quantity additionally incorporates a posthumous essay by way of Ayer himself: "A Defence of Empiricism." those essays are definitely a becoming tribute to a tremendous determine, however the assortment isn't easily retrospective; relatively it appears ahead to offer and destiny advancements in philosophical inspiration that Ayer's paintings has influenced.

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In 1934 in 'Uber das Fundament der Erkenntnis', Schlick effectively criticized that position. Although Ayer agreed with Schlick that basic statements are to be verified by the experiences to which they demonstratively refer, he denied that they are absolutely certain and incorrigible. His reason was 'that a sentence cannot merely name a situation, it must say something about it. And in describing a situation one is not merely "registering" a sense-content: one is classifying it in some way or other, and this means going beyond what is immediately given'.

The Cook Wilsonians had turned their antiquated artillery on to what they saw as the even worse errors of the Cambridge philosophers, who had done so much more than they had to undermine it. Prichard had vehemently criticized Russell's theory of knowledge in an article in Mind in 1915 and he and Joseph were persistently hostile to Russell's logic. Moore, as an ethical consequentialist, was one of those who, in Prichard's view, had committed a fundamental mistake in moral philosophy. The only book Prichard published in his lifetime, Kant's Theory ofKnowledge had come out in 1909: Joseph's main work, his Introduction to Logic as long ago as 1916.

His philosophical logic derives from Russell and the Tractatus, his philosophy of mind from intimations that had come to him of the thinking of the later Wittgenstein. But he put his own stamp very markedly on what he took. That is in part a matter of his breezy, epigrammatic, resolutely non-technical style. That style was in tune with a mode of proceeding that relied heavily on analogy and, in general, avoided the laborious protection of theses from all possible objections. Oddly, in the light of their respective ways of life—collegiate in Ryle's case, metropolitan in Ayer's, it is Ryle who is the less academically respectable and conformist.

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