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Analytic Philosophy: The Views by Wittgenstein and Aye Essay

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Updated: Dec 5th, 2021

Philosophy is an attempt of human beings to logically explain the processes that take place in the world. There are numerous branches of philosophy including philosophy of nature, history, logic. However, there is a special branch called analytic philosophy. This paper will consider the ideas by Ludwig Wittgenstein and Alfred Ayer as the basic ones for the analytic philosophy.

To begin with, it is necessary to state that Ludwig Wittgenstein is considered to be one of the central figures in the analytic philosophy. The focus of his though was on the concepts of logical and analytic, a priori and necessary truth. So, according to Wittgenstein, the logical truth is the statement, or assumption, which is true in all given contexts and in all possible worlds where it can be made. At the same time, analytic truth is viewed by Wittgenstein as an explanation of the truthfulness of the logical one. Arguing that a logical truth is true, Wittgenstein proves this by referring to its analytic nature. As far as the statement “All people breathe the air” is true due to the truthfulness of its components, it is analytic. Accordingly, if its true it is logical, and, at the same time, analytic.

However, the relation between the a-priori and the necessary truth proposed by Wittgenstein is different. The two concepts mentioned are treated as the opposite phenomena. The a priori truth is viewed as an ungrounded phenomenon that should be believed irrespective of all the controversy that can arise from it. On the other hand, the necessary truth is close in its essence to the concept of logical truth by Wittgenstein because it is considered to be a statement that cannot be denied under any given circumstances and in any context, or world, as Wittgenstein puts this.

Further on, the ideas by Alfred Ayer have similarities and differences with the views by Wittgenstein. The similar points concern the definitions and practical realizations of the a priori and necessary truths. According to Ayer, an a priori truth is only a theoretical meaning that possesses no actual, based on facts and empirical research data, one. At the same time, the necessary truth is compared and affiliated with the logical one in the view of Ayer. He considers that a necessary truth is logical in its essence, and, respectively, the logical truth is determined by a necessity.

Nevertheless, Ayer expresses different views concerning the relation between the logical and analytic truths. For Ayer, a logical truth, as it has already been stated, is determined by the necessity, while an analytic truth is a pure form without any practical, or factual, meaning. An analytic truth is a sum of the truths of the symbols it consists of and, having no empirical proof, this truth can not be practically verified. IN this respect, conventions play an important role in Ayer’s thought being the determinant factor that conditions a statement being true or false. In other words, conventions determine the usage of logical constants which form logical truths. As a result, logical truths are mainly created by conventions.

To conclude, the views by Wittgenstein and Ayer on the basic issues of the analytic philosophy have their similar and different points. Viewing the logical and necessary truths, both authors agree on their universality. A priori truth also unites the scholars, this time in their rejection of its verifiability. However, the concept of the analytic truths is the main distinguishing point in their views, as Wittgenstein sees it as an undeniable truth, while Ayer doubts it based on the impossibility to empirically verify an analytic truth.

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