more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 2619

[catalogued under 12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 5. A Priori Synthetic]

Full Idea

Whether a geometry can be applied to the actual physical world or not, is an empirical question which falls outside the scope of the geometry itself.

Gist of Idea

Whether geometry can be applied to reality is an empirical question outside of geometry


A.J. Ayer (Language,Truth and Logic [1936], Ch.4)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'Language, Truth and Logic' [Penguin 1974], p.110

A Reaction

This is a key objection to rationalism by empiricists. You may say that geometry applies to your car, but your car may have been pulverised while you were talking. Why, though, did Einstein find non-Euclidean geometry so useful?