Chapter

Ayer's Hume

Barry Stroud

in Philosophers Past and Present

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608591
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729621 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608591.003.0007
Ayer's Hume

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Hume was a central figure in Ayer's formation. He claimed that the version of logical positivism he defended in Language, Truth, and Logic and elsewhere descended directly from Hume. This had a profound influence on the interpretation of Hume's philosophy for decades and has not completely disappeared even today. This chapter draws attention to some fundamental aspects of Hume's views — not least the idea of an empirical study of the fundamental principles of human nature as an appropriate goal for philosophy — that that widely shared interpretation either ignores or distorts. There is also the question of the proper goal for philosophy as Ayer sees it quite independently of the interpretation of Hume.

Keywords: Hume; Ayers; logical positivism; human nature

Chapter.  11148 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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