Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies
MacDonald (Graham)
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Inside Cover Blurb

  1. A. J. Ayer was the first philosopher systematically to expound logical positivism to the English-speaking world, and his works offer one of the most accessible contemporary presentations of empiricism.
  2. To mark his retirement from the Wykeham Chair of Logic at Oxford University, thirteen distinguished philosophers contribute original essays that address most of the major issues on which he has written.
  3. The volume also includes five telling responses by Professor Ayer in the form of essays on such subjects as perception, induction, and essentialism.
  4. G. F. Macdonald, a graduate of the University of Witwatersrand, received his B.Phil, at Oxford University, where he was a postgraduate pupil of Sir Alfred Ayer. In 1974 he was appointed Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Bradford, having previously taught at the University of Witwatersrand. His publications include an introductory text (with R. Lindley and R. Fellows), What Philosophy Does.
  5. Sir Alfred Ayer was, from 1959 to 1978, Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford University, and a Fellow of New College. He was previously Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College, London University. He was knighted in 1970.

Preface (Full Text)
  1. The twelve essays in this volume have been written in honour of Professor A. J. Ayer, who retired from the Wykeham Chair of Logic at the University of Oxford in 1978. Ayer's philosophical career has been well documented in his autobiography, "Ayer (A.J.) - Part of My Life", and I shall not repeat the details here. He has, since the publication of "Ayer (A.J.) - Language, Truth and Logic" in 1936, become internationally renowned for his forceful and rigorous analysis of important topics in philosophy, especially in the areas of epistemology, the philosophical foundations of probability, the philosophy of science, and metaphysics. His writing has consistently exhibited an elegance and clarity attained by very few other philosophers. In addition he has the pedagogic gifts of patience and understanding, as his many students who have received sympathetic guidance will know.
  2. The contributors were invited to write on topics on which Ayer has published. Most of the articles fall in the area of either philosophy of perception or identity and personal identity. Ayer's responses to the comments on, and criticisms of, his work are a unique feature of the book. The most appropriate place for them seemed to us to be alongside the essays themselves. I would like to thank the contributors for their co-operation and scrupulous care at every stage. It is hoped that the result will be seen as a fitting tribute to Ayer and testimony to the immense contribution he has made to philosophy.

BOOK COMMENT:

Cornell University Press, 1979



"Armstrong (David) - Perception, Sense Data and Causality"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. Traditional criticisms of the representative theory of perception appear to be inconclusive.
  2. But it is argued that the theory is exposed to difficulty when we ask about the causal role which the immediately perceived sense-data play in the process of perception.



"Ayer (A.J.) - Perception & Identity: Replies - I. Perception"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



"Ayer (A.J.) - Perception & Identity: Replies - II. Induction"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



"Ayer (A.J.) - Perception & Identity: Replies - III. Essentialism"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



"Ayer (A.J.) - Perception & Identity: Replies - IV. Personal Identity"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



"Ayer (A.J.) - Perception & Identity: Replies - V. Verification and Metaphysics"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



"Dummett (Michael) - Common Sense and Physics"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



"Foster (John) - In Self-Defense"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



"Korner (Stephan) - Ayer on Metaphysics"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



"Mackie (J.L.) - A Defense of Induction"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



"Pears (David) - A Comparison Between Ayer's Views About the Privileges of Sense-Datum Statements and the Views of Russell and Austin"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



"Strawson (Peter) - Perception and Its Objects"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. A version of commonsense realism, providing for direct perception of visual and tactile qualities of physical things, is defended;
  2. and is held to be reconcilable with scientific or Lockean realism by means of a modest relativization of our conception of the real properties of physical objects to (a) the human perceptual, and (b) the scientific, standpoint.



"Taylor (Charles) - Sense Data Revisited"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. The argument of this paper is to the effect that the classical empiricist notion of an impression, more recently referred to as a "sense-datum," is incoherent.
  2. The aim was to identify a bit of basic evidence which would be both independent of our epistemic activity and yet free of claims about extra-mental reality.
  3. I argue that nothing can meet both these requirements, and thus that theories of which this is the key concept are incoherent.



"Unger (Peter) - I Do Not Exist"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. It is argued that none of the "ordinary entities" that ostensibly exist actually do exist: there are no planets, or rocks, or chairs, or cats, or people; there is no you and no me.
  2. The arguments are variations upon the ancient argument of the heap, the sorites1.
  3. Various objections to the arguments are considered.
  4. The apparently self-defeating character of the arguments is recognized but is not taken as fundamental to the issues.


COMMENT: Also in "Rea (Michael), Ed. - Material Constitution - A Reader"



"Wiggins (David) - Ayer on Monism, Pluralism and Essence"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. After an initial section about "Ayer (A.J.) - Language, Truth and Logic", and Ayer's conceptions of monism, pluralism and essentialism, the article largely coincides (except with respect to its plentiful misprints and with respect to unfortunate house-editorial interventions) with Chapter Four1 of "Wiggins (David) - Sameness and Substance" (Blackwell 1980).
  2. Necessity is treated not as a sentence operator, but as a predicate operator, the traditional conception. A version of Miss Barcan2's necessity of identity result is proved.
  3. It is then suggested that the essential properties of a thing are those whose denial would subvert the singling out of that thing under a sortal3 concept adequate to determine the identity conditions of the thing.
  4. The high price of denying this modest doctrine is then assessed.




In-Page Footnotes ("Wiggins (David) - Ayer on Monism, Pluralism and Essence")

Footnote 1: Ie. "Wiggins (David) - Essentialism and Conceptualism (S&S)".

Footnote 2: Presumably Ruth Barcan Marcus.



"Williams (Bernard) - Another Time, Another Place, Another Person"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979

COMMENT: Also in "Williams (Bernard) - Moral Luck"



"Wollheim (Richard) - Memory, Experiential Memory and Personal Identity"

Source: MacDonald - Perception & Identity - Essays Presented to A J Ayer with His Replies, 1979



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