more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5183

[catalogued under 11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 1. Certainty]

Full Idea

No proposition, other than a tautology, can possibly be anything more than a probable hypothesis.

Gist of Idea

Only tautologies can be certain; other propositions can only be probable


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

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'Language, Truth and Logic' [Penguin 1974], p.51

A Reaction

A nice clear empiricist rejection of all attempts to assert necessary truths about nature. This also seems to be a rejection of empiricist foundationalism. A problem case seems to be introspective observations, which seem irrefutable and obvious.