A. J. Ayer

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Sir Alfred Jules Ayer (29 October 1910, London – 27 June 1989) was a British philosopher who first came to fame with the publication of his book Language, Truth, and Logic in 1936.[1] Considered the leading British statement of logical positivism, which he was first exposed to in 1932 during a visit to Vienna,[2] at the time his ideas were seen as a radical departure from established philosophy. His book increased the exposure of logical positivism, particularly among British and American philosophers.[3]

Ayer was a lecturer and research fellow at Oxford's Christ Church College between 1933 and 1944, subsequently becoming a fellow (1944-1945) and then dean (1945-1946) of Wadham College. From 1946 to 1959 Ayer was Grote professor of the philosophy of mind and logic at the University of London, and in 1959 he became Wykeham professor of logic at Oxford.[4] He received a knighthood in 1970.

Selected works

  • Language, Truth and Logic (1936; rev. ed., 1946)
  • The Foundations of Empirical Knowledge (1940)
  • The Problem of Knowledge (1956)
  • The Origins of Pragmatism (1968)
  • Russell and Moore: The Analytical Heritage (1971)
  • The Central Questions of Philosophy (1973)
  • Wittgenstein (1985)


  1. Macdonald, Graham. Alfred Jules Ayer. Stanford Encyclopædia of Philosophy. 7 May 2005. Stanford University. 6 May 2008
  2. Sir A.J. Ayer. Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 May 2008
  3. Sir Alfred Jules Ayer. Philosophy Professor. 2006. Arts & Sciences Network. 6 May 2008
  4. Sir Alfred Jules Ayer op cit