Quotes by Sir Alfred Jules Ayer
Sir A.J. Ayer was a British philosopher and educator. His greatest work, Language, Truth and Logic (1936), has become widely read and debated. However, he was also an MI6 agent during WWII. He is most notable for his books, but his philosophies on God are also widely cited.
Ayer graduated from Eton College and later from Christ Church, Oxford. He then became interested with logical positivism while visiting Vienna in 1932 before he began teaching at the University of Oxford.
The professor then wrote his greatest work title Language, Truth and Logic, which he later criticized as inadequate. Ayer wrote 24 works before his death.
No morality can be founded on authority, even if the authority were divine.
Theism is so confused and the sentences in which "God" appears so incoherent and so incapable of verifiability or falsifiability that to speak of belief or unbelief, faith or unfaith, is logically impossible.
I saw a Divine Being. I'm afraid I'm going to have to revise all my various books and opinions.
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.
Profile of Sir Alfred Ayer (June 1971)
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.
Philosophy in the Twentieth Century (1982) p. 133
The traditional disputes of philosophers are, for the most part, as unwarranted as they are unfruitful.
Language, Truth, and Logic (1936) Chaper 1, first lines
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.
The Meaning of Life
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.
The Concept of Freedom