A.J. AYER AND THE ELIMINATION OF METAPHYSICS

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 ABSTRACT

A.J Ayer a logical positivist and indeed at all his fellow logical positivists were moved by the achievements and clarities in science and as it were, they moved to bring these achievements and clarities in science into philosophy. They believed that there are ambiguities and confusion in philosophical languages and that such ambiguities and confusions would be a thing of the past in philosophy when they are all jettisoned. It was their view also that those ambiguities in philosophy gave rise to metaphysics. Metaphysics for these positivists was to be expunged because it contained no knowledge as it purports to give. They (positivists) termed its knowledge pseudo-knowledge. In this work therefore, I wish to show that no matter the amount of attack directed to metaphysics by Ayer and his co-positivists, metaphysics will never be eliminated because man must go beyond the physical to explain realities like: life, God, man, world and man’s place in it, justice etc. for the sake of this work, I shall employ analytical method in order to do justice to this work. 

CHAPTER ONE

1.0GENERAL INTRODUCTION 

Philosophy which began vigorously from the Ancient periods with its attendant rigorosity and criticality in reasoning have

apparently gone beyond the era of animism and

anthropomorphism that marked the works of Homer and Hesiod no thanks to the seeming criticality with which the early lonian philosophers philosophized. Various philosophies were put up, some rejecting the existing culture status quo ante, others supporting the prevalent culture condition by way of proffering solutions. This brings out the truism in the fact that there is no subject or field of study which began without any basis or what Heidegger would call the prestructure of understanding extending also to the maxim of Gardemer that no one speaks from nowhere. Bringing out organically therefore the importance of Heideggerian prestructure of understanding to the development of philosophy, F. Copleston avows “one does not need to know very much about the history of philosophy in order to realize that philosophy does not develop in complete isolation from other elements of human culture.”1 In the light of the above, the emergence of the logical positivists with their principle of verification is precipitated by some antecedents. 

The principle of verification became for A.J. Ayer, a member of the Vienna circle, and indeed all the logical positivists a vademecum for their philosophical activities.