more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5180

[catalogued under 12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 1. Empiricism]

Full Idea

One way to attack a metaphysician would be to enquire from what premises his propositions were deduced. Must he not begin, as other men do, with the evidence of his senses?

Gist of Idea

All propositions (especially 'metaphysics') must begin with the senses


A.J. Ayer (Language,Truth and Logic [1936], Ch.1)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'Language, Truth and Logic' [Penguin 1974], p.45

A Reaction

This simple idea is the core of empiricism. This is a heavily criticised doctrine, but you must start somewhere. Hume and Russell agreed. Don't forget, though, that Descartes's first move is to reject the senses as untrustworthy.