I do not believe in God. It seems to me that theists of all kinds have very largely failed to make their concept of a deity intelligible; and to the extent that they have made it intelligible, they have given us no reason to think that anything answers to it.

— A.J. Ayer

The most massive A.J. Ayer quotes that will add value to your life

No morality can be founded on authority, even if the authority were divine.

64

If 'god' is a metaphysical term, then it cannot be even probable that a god exists. For to say that 'God exists' is to make a metaphysical utterance which cannot be either true or false. And by the same criterion, no sentence which purports to describe the nature of a transcendent god can possess any literal significance.

58

We say that a sentence is factually significant to any given person, if, and only if, he knows how to verify the proposition which it purports to express.

43

The only possible basis for a sound morality is mutual tolerance and respect: tolerance of one another’s customs and opinions; respect for one another’s rights and feelings; awareness of one another’s needs.

42

The fact that people have religious experiences is interesting from the psychological point of view, but it does not in any way imply that there is such a thing as religious knowledge...Unless he can formulate this 'knowledge' in propositions that are empirically verifiable, we may be sure that he is deceiving himself.

37

Why should you mind being wrong if someone can show you that you are?

36

No moral system can rest solely on authority.

26

If the assertion that there is a god is nonsensical, then the atheist's assertion that there is no god is equally nonsensical, since it is only a significant proposition that can be significantly contradicted.

26

The misfortunes which God is represented in the book of Job as allowing Satan to inflict on Job, merely to test his faith, are indications, if not of positive malevolence, at least of a suspicious and ruthless insecurity, which is characteristic more of a tyrant than of a wholly powerful and benevolent deity.

25

Theism is so confused and the sentences in which "God" appears so incoherent and so incapable of verifiability or falsifiability that to speak of belief or unbelief, faith or unfaith, is logically impossible.

23

If one takes full account of the persecution of heretics, the frequency and savagery of the religious wars which Christianity had endangered, the harm caused, especially to children, by the pernicious doctrine of original sin, a case could be made for saying that the world would have been better off without Christianity.

20

It is possible to be a meta-physician without believing in a transcendent reality; for we shall see that many metaphysical utterances are due to the commission of logical errors, rather than to a conscious desire on the part of their authors to go beyond the limits of experience.

16

About A.J. Ayer

Quotes 31 sayings
Profession Philosopher
Birthday October 29, 1910

We shall maintain that no statement which refers to a 'reality'transcending the limits of all possible sense- experience can possibly have any literal significance.

3

Even logical positivists are capable of love.

0

There never comes a point where a theory can be said to be true.

The most that one can claim for any theory is that it has shared the successes of all its rivals and that it has passed at least one test which they have failed.

0

It seems that I have spent my entire life trying to make life more rational and that it was all wasted effort.

0

The ground for taking ignorance to be restrictive of freedom is that it causes people to make choices which they would not have made if they had seen what the realization of their choices involved.

0

The principles of logic and mathematics are true simply because we never allow them to be anything else. And the reason for this is that we cannot abandon them without contradicting ourselves, without sinning against the rules which govern the use of language, and so making our utterances self-stultifying. In other words, the truths of logic and mathematics are analytic propositions or tautologies.

0

Bertrand Russell would not have wished to be called a saint of any description;

but he was a great and good man.

0

It appears, then, that ethics, as a branch of knowledge, is nothing more than a department of psychologyand sociology.

0

I saw a Divine Being. I'm afraid I'm going to have to revise all my various books and opinions.

0

But if science may be said to be blind without philosophy, it is true also that philosophy is virtually empty without science.

0

I take it, therefore, to be a fact, that one's existence ends with death.

I think it possible to show how this fact can be emotionally acceptable.

0

A prevalent fallacy is the assumption that a proof of an afterlife would also be a proof of the existence of a deity. This is far from being the case. If, as I hold, there is no good reason to believe that a god either created or presides over this world, there is equally no good reason to believe that a god created or presides over the next world, on the unlikely supposition that such a thing exists.

0

While moral rules may be propounded by authority the fact that these were so propounded would not validate them.

0

The traditional disputes of philosophers are, for the most part, as unwarranted as they are unfruitful.

0

I suddenly stopped and looked out at the sea and thought, my God, how beautiful this is ... for 26 years I had never really looked at it before.

0

There is philosophy, which is about conceptual analysis - about the meaning of what we say - and there is all of this ... all of life.

0

It is time, therefore, to abandon the superstition that natural science cannot be regarded as logically respectable until philosophers have solved the problem of induction. The problem of induction is, roughly speaking, the problem of finding a way to prove that certain empirical generalizations which are derived from past experience will hold good also in the future.

0

I see philosophy as a fairly abstract activity, as concerned mainly with the analysis of criticism and concepts, and of course most usefully of scientific concepts.

0