more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5162

[catalogued under 19. Language / D. Propositions / 1. Propositions]

Full Idea

I suggest that every grammatically significant indicative sentence expresses a 'statement', but the word 'proposition' will be reserved for what is expressed by sentences that are literally meaningful.

Gist of Idea

Sentences only express propositions if they are meaningful; otherwise they are 'statements'


A.J. Ayer (Introduction to 'Language Truth and Logic' [1946], p.10)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'Language, Truth and Logic' [Penguin 1974], p.10

A Reaction

We don't have to accept Ayer's over-fussy requirements for what is meaningful to accept that this is a good distinction. Every day we hear statements from people (e.g. politicians) in which we can fish in vain for the underlying proposition.