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Georgia Lofts

Georgia Lofts


Total Article : 86

About Me:I am a first year student studying BioMedical Science. I am interested in a wide range of topics but particularly like to focus on Biology, Art and Philosophy.

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Ayer: 'God-talk is evidently nonsense' Part 3

The mystic will say that new truths are being revealed to him. RE according to James is Noetic as it provides insights into unobtainable truths, through intuition rather than intellect. But Ayer says that the mystic is unable to produce ‘any intelligible propositions at all,’ thus intuition does not provide facts, to validate knowledge, an empirical test is needed. The absence of cognitive, realist statements ‘merely gives us indirect information about the condition of his mind.’ If something is true for them, i.e. real in an anti-realist sense, Jung would agree with Freud’s ideas of ‘illusion’ to an extent, as he believed that the concept of God is produced in the brain (an archetype.) Jung has a more positive view expressing that God is an ‘absolutely necessary psychological reality,’ God is real to those who experience the archetype, it is a part of human personality.

Ayer confirms that RE does not work and disagrees with comparisons to other experiences e.g. seeing a yellow patch. One can see a yellow patch, show someone else there is a patch or even take a picture of it. A religious experience cannot be backed up by another person or through photographic evidence. Even if someone were to agree that they can experience God too, it is not possible to prove that this is the case. One can experience religious emotion but cannot deduce that ‘there is a transcendent being that is the object of their emotion.’ This contrasts with the view of Swinburne in his Principle of Credulity and Testimony where he states we should trust our senses, and believe people who say they have had RE (with the exceptions of untrustworthy sources) until we have evidence to show one is mistaken. But the yellow patch could be ‘empirically verified’ but God cannot, thus the sentence ‘there exists a transcendent God’ has ‘no literal significance.’

Conclusively, Ayer states that ‘the argument from RE is altogether fallacious’ and it is interesting that people have REs ‘from a psychological point of view,’ thus maintaining that nothing of meaning can be obtained from RE. There is no religious knowledge just as there is no moral knowledge. Ayer recognises there are circumstances where the topic of discussion is necessary but non-verifiable, this is explored through the discussion of ethical language. Ayer describes ethical statements as a means to express emotion in his emotivist theory, ‘murder is wrong’ really means ‘I do not like murder.’ As there is no factual evidence to completely support the claim that murder is wrong, but rather we can look a majority and collectively agree that it is. It is an opinion that is shared by many.This leads to the statement ‘unless he can formulate his knowledge in propositions which are empirically verifiable we may be sure his is deceiving himself.’ Philosophers who assert intuition are ‘merely providing material for the psychoanalyst.’ Ayers ideas are strong and highly assertive. He ends the article by stating ‘all such propositions are to be incorporated in the system of empirical propositions which constitutes science.’ Thus summarising that scientific claims are the way to propose meaningful statements, however this has many implications.












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