The Rejection of Metaphysics by Alfred Ayer: A Critical Appraisal

Author: Raphael Chinomso Nwautirikpo
Department: Philosophy
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

The Science of being has been a controversial subject for so many philosophers. Even though it is and remains the dynamic philosophy that treats reality ontologically and in its causal and commutative structure, yet its approach to
reality seems dry and can offer nothing to the developmental project of man to promote his existence in the world and to prepare a better world to be lived in. It is to this effect that some Philosophers came up in the modern era to put an objection to this science of being, trying to make out their individual modes of getting at the objective truth, “the primary objects of science”. Metaphysics, which is mentioned as the highest science by Aristotle, lost its property of the queen of sciences more and more, afterwards it had been denied wherefore philosophy had been reduced to language analysis by philosophers in the Logical Positivists. Ayer has rejected metaphysics and he has argued that it had to be expunged from philosophy because it was not able to adapt to verifiability principle. Ayer’s purpose of verifiability is to prove something by experiment and observation. In this work therefore, I wish to show that no matter the amount of attack directed to metaphysics by Ayer and his co-logical positivists, metaphysics will never be expunged because it is proper to man as a rational being, to go beyond the physical to explain realities. Meanwhile, I would bring out the possible causes of this rejection of metaphysics, not only by Ayer, but also by his colleagues and its consequences on the science of being. However we shall appreciate Ayer’s efforts more, for spurring everyone to engage in a powerful intellectual exercise and open areas of thoughts that would have been overlooked. We shall critically evaluate by way of comparative analysis, trying to reconcile the standard understanding with the Modern Logical Positivists understanding of natural science.

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