By A. Phillips Griffiths
A. J. Ayer, who died in 1989, was once stated as considered one of Britain's so much exclusive philosophers. during this memorial choice of essays prime Western philosophers think of Ayer's position within the historical past of philosophy and discover features of his notion and instructing. the amount additionally encompasses a posthumous essay by means of Ayer himself: "A Defence of Empiricism." those essays are definitely a becoming tribute to an incredible determine, however the assortment isn't easily retrospective; quite it appears to be like ahead to offer and destiny advancements in philosophical notion that Ayer's paintings has motivated.
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Additional resources for A. J. Ayer: Memorial Essays (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements (No. 30))
Ayer's remarks about meaning in this lecture indicate a much closer attention on his part to philosophical logic. In hisPhilosopicalEssays of 1954 it is the topic of the first three items: on individuals, the identity of indiscernibles and negation. Then four epistemological items rehearse, with minor modifications, the familiar topics of sense-data, basic propositions, phenomenalism and our knowledge of other minds. Finally Quine's ontology is considered, Ayer's ethical theory is presented with greater suavity but without substantial alteration, Bentham's principle of utility is sympathetically explored and the view that freedom and determinism are compatible, affirmed in pellet form in the footnote of Language, Truth and Logic, is defended and modified.
He vacillates between the two claimants—intellect urging electrons, sentiment pressing for tables—and concludes that it is a matter for choice and not very important anyway. The Problem of Knowledge of 1956 has an excellent chapter on memory. It dispels the influence of a radically misguided chapter of Russell's Analysis of Mind (1921) on the subject. Memory is having beliefs about the past that do not depend on inference or testimony. It is not images accompanied by feelings of familiarity and pastness, whatever they may be.
His dealings with God and the immortal soul in chapter six derive fairly directly from Carnap's 'Uberwindung'. But the insistence that neither metaphysical sentences nor their negations can be asserted since both are equally devoid of sense is Ayer's own. It has, as he saw, the consequence that neither atheism nor even agnosticism is any better off than theism, a concession that was not much appreciated by its adherents. 37 Anthony Quinton The main business of chapter six is the thesis that judgments of value are expressions of feeling and not statements of fact, natural or nonnatural.
A. J. Ayer: Memorial Essays (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements (No. 30)) by A. Phillips Griffiths