Language, Truth, and Logic

Front Cover
Courier Corporation, 1952 - Philosophy - 160 pages
6 Reviews

"A delightful book ... I should like to have written it myself." -- Bertrand Russell
First published in 1936, this first full-length presentation in English of the Logical Positivism of Carnap, Neurath, and others has gone through many printings to become a classic of thought and communication. It not only surveys one of the most important areas of modern thought; it also shows the confusion that arises from imperfect understanding of the uses of language. A first-rate antidote for fuzzy thought and muddled writing, this remarkable book has helped philosophers, writers, speakers, teachers, students, and general readers alike.
Mr. Ayers sets up specific tests by which you can easily evaluate statements of ideas. You will also learn how to distinguish ideas that cannot be verified by experience -- those expressing religious, moral, or aesthetic experience, those expounding theological or metaphysical doctrine, and those dealing with a priori truth. The basic thesis of this work is that philosophy should not squander its energies upon the unknowable, but should perform its proper function in criticism and analysis.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JorgeCarvajal - LibraryThing

I read the "squashed" version of the book and I can agree that while it is not "wrong", the content of the book is incomplete. But mostly, it is very intriguing and thought-provoking and it's a good start for enquiring about language and it's relationship with philosophy. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JuliaF - LibraryThing

I know this is a seminal text but I'm finding it a tough read. The writing style is dense, reflecting its origin in the 1930's. It's a challenging book, posing the question of how we judge what truth ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

III
33
IV
46
V
59
VI
71
VII
87
VIII
102
IX
120
X
133
XI
155
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Page 16 - Every proposition which we can understand must be composed wholly of constituents with which we are acquainted.

References to this book

Pragmatics
Stephen C. Levinson
Limited preview - 1983
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About the author (1952)

After attending Eton and Oxford University, Sir Alfred Jules Ayer studied philosophy at the University of Vienna, where he affiliated with the Vienna Circle, the school of logical positivism led by Moritz Schlick. On his return to England, he accepted an appointment in 1933 as lecturer at Oxford, and, except for his military service during World War II, he wrote and taught philosophy until his death. During World War II, Ayer was commissioned into the Welsh Guards, and in 1945 was an attache at the British Embassy in Paris. In 1946 he was appointed Grote Professor at the University of London and in 1959 Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford. Ayer's fame was established with the publication of his first book, Language, Truth and Logic, in 1936. This work introduced logical positivism to the English-speaking world in a clear, vigorous, and persuasive style. Building on the thought of Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ayer sharpened their theses, boldly revealing the affiliations of logical positivism with traditional British empiricism, particularly the work of David Hume. Ayer claimed that only verifiable statements are true or false. He considered statements of religion or art as merely emotional expressions. For his contributions to philosophy, Ayer was knighted by the British Crown. He has provided an account of his life, at least of its professional and philosophical sides, in two autobiographies.

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