Relevance and Verification

Philosophical Quarterly 71 (3):457-480 (2021)
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A. J. Ayer’s empiricist criterion of meaning was supposed to have sorted all statements into nonsense on the one hand, and tautologies or genuinely factual statements on the other. Unfortunately for Ayer, it follows from classical logic that his criterion is trivial—it classifies all statements as either tautologies or genuinely factual, but none as nonsense. However, in this paper, I argue that Ayer’s criterion of meaning can be defended from classical proofs of its triviality by the adoption of a relevant logic—an idea which is motivated because, according to Ayer, the genuinely factual statements are those which observation is relevant to.

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Ben Blumson
National University of Singapore

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References found in this work

Language, truth and logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London,: V. Gollancz.
Logical Pluralism.Jc Beall & Greg Restall - 2005 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Edited by Greg Restall.
Testability and Meaning.Rudolf Carnap - 2011 - Literary Licensing, LLC.
Language, Truth, and Logic.A. J. Ayer - 1936 - Philosophy 23 (85):173-176.

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