A.J. Ayer

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The Philosophy of A.J. Ayer

(Volume XXI, 1992)

A.J. Ayer burst like a supernova upon the Anglo-American philosophical world in 1936, with Language, Truth, and Logic, an eloquent manifesto for Logical Positivism which transformed the thinking of a generation. Yet inside a few years, philosophers were retreating from the position set forth in Language, Truth, and Logic, with Ayer himself leading the retreat.

The ensuing vogue for "ordinary language" philosophy was not admired by Ayer, who became one of its most telling critics. In his subsequent writings, he displayed a rare capacity for self-criticism, manifested in a readiness to admit that his earlier arguments had been inadequate.

Most of the critical papers for this volume are answered directly and in detail by Sir Alfred--he completed his replies to 21 of the 24 papers before his death. 

Table of Contents

A.J. Ayer: My Mental Development   ~  Still More of My Life

A.J. Ayer

(Replies follow essays)

Evandro Agazzi: Varieties of Meaning and Truth 
James Campbell: Ayer and Pragmatism 
David S. Clarke, Jr.: On Judging Sufficiency of Evidence 
Michael Dummett: The Metaphysics of Verificationism 
Elizabeth R. Eames: A.J. Ayer's Philosophical Method 
John Foster: The Construction of the Physical World 
Paul Gochet: On Sir Alfred Ayer's Theory of Truth 
Martin Hollils: Man as a Subject for Social Science 
Ted Honderich: Causation: One Thing Just Happens After Another 
Tscha Hung: Ayer and the Vienna Circle 
Peter Kivy: Oh Boy! You Too!: Aesthetic Emotivism Reexamined 
Arne Naess: Ayer on Metaphysics, a Critical Commentary by a Kind of Metaphysician 
D.J. O'Connor: Ayer on Free Will and Determinism 
Désirée Park: Ayerian Qualia and the Empiricist Heritage 
David F. Pears: Ayer's Views on Meaning-Rules 
Azarya Polikarov/Dimitri Ginev: Remarks on Logical Empiricism and Some of A.J. Ayer's Achievements: Some Fifty Years Later 
Hilary Putnam: Is It Necessary that Water is H20? 
Francisco Miró Quesada C.: Ayer's Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics 
Anthony Quinton: Ayer and Ontology 
Emanuele Riverso: Ayer's Treatment of Russell 
Ernest Sosa: Ayer on Perception and Reality 
T.L.S. Sprigge: Ayer on Other Minds 
Barry Stroud: Ayer's Hume 
David Wiggins: Ayer on Morality and Feeling: From Subjectivism to Emotivism and Back?

A.J. Ayer: Intellectual Autobiography of A.J. Ayer: My Mental Development

Postscript to the Intellectual Autobiography of A.J. Ayer: Still More of My Life

Bibliography of the Writings of A.J. Ayer