Ayer’s Place in the History of Philosophy

Anthony Quinton

in Of Men and Manners

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199694556
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731938 | DOI:
Ayer’s Place in the History of Philosophy

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • History of Western Philosophy


Show Summary Details


This chapter examines A. J. Ayer's place in the history of philosophy. Ayer thought of himself as the main representative in his own time of the British empirical tradition, running from Hume through John Stuart Mill to Russell. It is a natural and intelligible point of view. His interpretation of the leading ideas of that tradition, in the sharpened form given to them by the Vienna Circle, undoubtedly gave it a new lease of life. In the first post-war decades, philosophy in Britain was dominated by Wittgenstein and Austin, one a genius, the other enormously gifted, but both execrable examples in many ways. Confronted by dire imitations of their respective styles of writing and reasoning Ayer stood out as a marvellous champion of the best traditions of rational discourse.

Keywords: A. J. Ayer; philosophers; philosophy; empirical tradition; rational discourse

Chapter.  8512 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.