more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5166

[catalogued under 19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 5. Meaning as Verification]

Full Idea

I wish the principle of verification to be regarded, not as an empirical hypothesis, but as a definition.

Gist of Idea

The principle of verification is not an empirical hypothesis, but a definition


A.J. Ayer (Introduction to 'Language Truth and Logic' [1946], p.21)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'Language, Truth and Logic' [Penguin 1974], p.21

A Reaction

This is Ayer's attempt to meet the well known objection of 'turning the tables' on his theory (by asking whether it is tautological or empirically verifiable). However, if it is just a definition, then presumably it is completely arbitrary…