Alfred Jules Ayer Quotes

A.J. Ayer QuotesIt seems that I have spent my entire time trying to make life more rational and that it was all wasted effort.

"I exist" does not follow from "there is a thought now."

The principles of logic and mathematics are true simply because we never allow them to be anything else.

The traditional disputes of philosophers are, for the most part, as unwarranted as they are unfruitful. The surest way to end them is to establish beyond question what should be the purpose and method of a philosophical enquiry. And this is by no means so difficult a task as the history of philosophy would lead one to suppose. For if there are any questions which science leaves it to philosophy to answer, a straightforward process of elimination must lead to their discovery.

I see philosophy as a fairly abstract activity, as concerned mainly with the analysis of criticism and concepts, and of course most usefully of scientific concepts.

The ground for taking ignorance to be restrictive of freedom is that it causes people to make choices which they would not have made if they had seen what the realization of their choices involved.
AJ Ayer book

To say that authority, whether secular or religious, supplies no ground for morality is not to deny the obvious fact that it supplies a sanction.

The criterion which we use to test the genuineness of apparent statements of fact is the criterion of verifiability. We say that a sentence is factually significant to any given person, if, and only if, he knows how to verify the proposition which it purports to express — that is, if he knows what observations would lead him, under certain conditions, to accept the proposition as being true, or reject it as being false.

While moral rules may be propounded by authority the fact that these were so propounded would not validate them.

No moral system can rest solely on authority.

It is now generally admitted, at any rate by philosophers, that the existence of a being having the attributes which define the god of any non-animistic religion cannot be demonstratively proved... All utterances about the nature of God are nonsensical.

It is possible to be a meta-physician without believing in a transcendent reality; for we shall see that many metaphysical utterances are due to the commission of logical errors, rather than to a conscious desire on the part of their authors to go beyond the limits of experience.

To predict tomorrow's weather, I need not take into account the state of mind of the Emperor of Manchukuo.

Theism is so confused and the sentences in which "God" appears so incoherent and so incapable of verifiability or falsifiability that to speak of belief or unbelief, faith or unfaith, is logically impossible.

There never comes a point where a theory can be said to be true. The most that one can claim for any theory is that it has shared the successes of all its rivals and that it has passed at least one test which they have failed.

Alfred Jules Ayer Philosophy
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