Logical Positivism and A. J. Ayer are dead

Logical Positivism died a long time ago. I don’t think much of Language, Truth and Logic is true. I think it is full of mistakes. I think it was an important book in its time because it had a kind of cathartic effect. It swept away a lot of rubbish and excited people and to a certain extent it gave a new direction to philosophy. But when you get down to detail, I think it’s full of mistakes which I spent the last fifty years correcting or trying to correct.

A. J. Ayer, author of Language, Truth and Logic, in Roy Abraham Varghese (ed.), Great Thinkers on Great Questions, p49.

Clearly Ayer’s rejection of Logical Positivism occurred well before his experience of “death” for the first time in 1988 (he died properly in 1989). Regardless, his account of this strange episode confirms his view that “God does not exist” is indeed a meaningful statement:

My recent experiences have slightly weakened my conviction that my genuine death, which is due fairly soon, will be the end of me, though I continue to hope that it will be. They have not weakened my conviction that there is no god. I trust that my remaining an atheist will allay the anxieties of my fellow supporters of the Humanist Association, the Rationalist Press, and the South Place Ethical Society.