There are those who caricature Ayer (And the other Positivists), saying "AJ Ayer said that 'Any statement that is not empirically verifiable is nonsense'; Unfortunately this statement isn't empirically verifiable, therefore it is either untrue or nonsense." They are ill-educated cockweasels, fatuously trying to score points.LOL! I love it!
Ayer considered statements to be "literally meaningful" if they were either empirically decidable, or if they were analytic statements. Analytic statements are statements concerning a formal system. These systems need to start with certain postulates and definitions. The definition of literal meaning is just that: a definition that underlies the entire Positivist discourse.
If you find anyone caricaturing the positivists in this way, kill them. It's better for all of us. If you are a beginner at this, the best way is with "Language, Truth, and Logic" (The revised edition with the giant introduction acknowledging the flaws in the work).
Thursday, September 06, 2007
I was just searching for A.J. Ayer quotes online when I came across this brilliant idea at Everything2 by one Rose Thorn: