logical fiction and actual fact
Koestler, Arthur. “Darkness at Noon.” Scribner, 2019-09-17. Apple Books.
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AJ ‘Freddie’ Ayer, 1936
Language, Truth and Logic
“The principles of logic and mathematics are true
simply because we never allow them to be anything else.”
We reject metaphysics and knowledge of a transcendent reality.
Kant accused metaphysicians of ignoring the limits of understanding, we accuse them of disobeying the rules of significant language.
For a statement of fact to be genuine it must be possible to verify it through experience.
Philosophy is wholly critical, an activity of linguistic analysis.
Philosophy is not concerned with meaning, but with definitions in use.
As empiricists, we deny that matters of fact can be known to be certainly valid.
Analytic propositions (tautologies), such as logic and mathematics, are true and can give us new knowledge by bringing to light our linguistic usages.
The words ‘true’ and ‘false’ are simply signs of negation or assertion.
The ‘problem of truth’ is the problem of how propositions are validated.
Observation can discredit not just a hypothesis, but a whole system of hypotheses.
But the ‘facts of experience’ can never compel one to abandon a hypothesis.
Assertions of value are not scientific but ’emotive’, thus neither true not false. They express feelings or commands.
On this view it is impossible to dispute questions of value, only questions of fact.
Ethics and aesthetics are to be comprehended in the social sciences.
That a transcendent god or an immortal soul exist are metaphysical assertions of no literal significance.
This view is, in fact, supported by theists.
A sense-experience cannot belong to the sense-history of more than one self.
The ego is fictitious.
We know of other minds in the same way we know of our own, by inference from the body.
What exists need not necessarily be thought of.
Philosophy is the logic of science.