more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5177

[catalogued under 15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 4. Other Minds / b. Scepticism of other minds]

Full Idea

On the view that we are discussing, I must regard other people as metaphysical objects; for it is assumed that their experiences are completely inaccessible to my observation.

Gist of Idea

Other minds are 'metaphysical' objects, because I can never observe their experiences


A.J. Ayer (Language,Truth and Logic [1936], Ch.7)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'Language, Truth and Logic' [Penguin 1974], p.170

A Reaction

'Metaphysical' is here a dirty word. This is the strictly empirical view of other minds, which pushes Ayer towards behaviourism on this subject. He should have asked about the 'best explanation' of the behaviour of others'.