Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A. J. Ayer on the Origins of Analytic Philosophy

I have written some posts on philosophy over the past week, and these videos are an interview with A. J. Ayer on Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell, two of the founders of modern analytic philosophy. This is not related to economics, but is interesting, nevertheless!

1 comment:

  1. I saw that a while ago. I remember him pointing out that Russell still had some relevance. I think even in his lifetime logic and philosophy kind of surpassed him or superseded him, but I think he laid the ground work for a lot of it.

    This is a good interview with Russell:


    At 7:38:

    One last question: Suppose, Lord Russell, this film were to be looked at by our descendants like a dead-sea scroll in a thousand years time. What would you think it's worth telling that generation about the life you've lived and the lessons you've learned from it.

    Russell: I should like to say two things: one intellectual, and one moral. The intellectual thing I should want to say to them is this: When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only "What are the facts? And what is the truth that the facts bear out?" Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think could have beneficent social beliefs if it were believed. But look only and solely at what are the facts."

    I think he is speaking to his followers here as well. Out of all the things he could have said, like love your children or try and take care of one another (which is his "moral" response), he just says "follow the facts." Just as a scientist recognizes the propensity to fool yourself, so too should we recognize the same in other matters, including the political. We should do what works best and provides the most happiness and the only way to do this is with facts.