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Inspirational Alfred Jules Ayer quotes

Sir Alfred Jules Ayer (29 October 1910 – 27 June 1989), usually cited as A.J. Ayer, was a British philosopher. This post features some inspirational Alfred Jules Ayer quotes.

He is known for his promotion of logical positivism, particularly in his books Language, Truth, and Logic (1936) and The Problem of Knowledge (1956).

Alfred Jules Ayer quotes
Alfred Jules Ayer quotes

Alfred Jules Ayer quotes

“It seems that I have spent my entire time trying to make life more rational and that it was all wasted effort.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“I do not believe in God. It seems to me that theists of all kinds have very largely failed to make their concept of a deity intelligible; and to the extent that they have made it intelligible, they have given us no reason to think that anything answers to it.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“I exist” does not follow from “there is a thought now.”
Alfred Jules Ayer

“There is philosophy, which is about conceptual analysis — about the meaning of what we say — and there is all of this … all of life.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer quotes

“The problem of induction is, roughly speaking, the problem of finding a way to prove that certain empirical generalizations which are derived from past experience will hold good also in the future.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“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.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“The only possible basis for a sound morality is mutual tolerance and respect: tolerance of one another’s customs and opinions; respect for one another’s rights and feelings; awareness of one another’s needs.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“I saw a Divine Being. I’m afraid I’m going to have to revise all my various books and opinions.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“I am using the word “perceive”. I am using it here in such a way that to say of an object that it is perceived does not entail saying that it exists in any sense at all. And this is a perfectly correct and familiar usage of the word. If there is thought to be a difficulty here, it is perhaps because there is also a correct and familiar usage of the word “perceive”, in which to say of an object that it is perceived does carry the implication that it exists.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer quotes

“I suddenly stopped and looked out at the sea and thought, my God, how beautiful this is … for 26 years I had never really looked at it before.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“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.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“The principles of logic and mathematics are true simply because we never allow them to be anything else.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer quotes

“If ‘god’ is a metaphysical term, then it cannot be even probable that a god exists. For to say that ‘God exists’ is to make a metaphysical utterance which cannot be either true or false. And by the same criterion, no sentence which purports to describe the nature of a transcendent god can possess any literal significance.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“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.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“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

“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.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“While moral rules may be propounded by authority the fact that these were so propounded would not validate them.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer quotes

“No moral system can rest solely on authority.”
– A.J.Ayer quotes

“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.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“It is time, therefore, to abandon the superstition that natural science cannot be regarded as logically respectable until philosophers have solved the problem of induction. The problem of induction is, roughly speaking, the problem of finding a way to prove that certain empirical generalizations which are derived from past experience will hold good also in the future.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“While moral rules may be propounded by authority the fact that these were so propounded would not validate them.”
– A.J. Ayer quotes

“To make our position clearer, we may formulate it in another way. Let us call a proposition which records an actual or possible observation an experiential proposition. Then we may say that it is the mark of a genuine factual proposition, not that it should be equivalent to an experiential proposition, or any finite number of experiential propositions, but simply that some experiential propositions can be deduced from it in conjunction with certain other premises without being deducible from those other premises alone.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

“The fact that people have religious experiences is interesting from the psychological point of view, but it does not in any way imply that there is such a thing as religious knowledge…Unless he can formulate this ‘knowledge’ in propositions that are empirically verifiable, we may be sure that he is deceiving himself.”
– Alfred Jules Ayer

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