PART OF MY LIFE: The Memoirs of a Philosopher by A. J. Ayer

PART OF MY LIFE: The Memoirs of a Philosopher

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here is a candid record of a famous philosopher's first 36 years--to his attainment of a professorial chair at the University of London. And an attractive record it is, both in manner and substance. A genial nonconformist, Ayer made his reputation with a youthful book (Language, Truth and Logic) reducing philosophy to the analysis of language. But his relish of intellectual dispute and the ruination of philosophical orthodoxy, as well as his penchant for left-wing politics, caused him to be passed over several times for lofty academic positions. Ayer relates these accomplishments and failures with an equanimity and modesty, that make of his life in philosophy truly a philosopher's life. And through the summaries of his salient writings, the honest, often affectionate sketches of his many distinguished friends, and the accounts of his experiences in society and love, there emerges a portrait of a gifted man and his place in the era of British intellectual history permeated with Logical Positivism. Without evident regrets, gentle ""Freddy"" Ayer concludes that his work has made a contribution alongside that of thinkers he considers his superior: ""If I could be thought even to have played Horatio to Russell's Hamlet, I should consider it glory enough."" His rational yet joyful temper has much to teach even the unphilosophical reader.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1977
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich