Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Pinto, Robert C.,






This study examines A. J. Ayer's solution to the problem of perception. The problem of perception, as understood by Ayer, is the problem justifying our belief in the existence of those physical objects which it is commonly taken for granted that we perceive. This examination is based on Ayer's Language, Truth and Logic, The Foundation of Empirical Knowledge, The Problem of Knowledge, and on the article entitled "Phenomenalism." It covers the development of Ayer's ideas concerning a phenomenalist solution to the problem of perception through a process of acceptance, development and abandonment. The most striking characteristic of Ayer's earlier attempts to solve the problem of perception is that he seeks to defend the common phenomenalist stand, which derives from Berkeley, by the method of linguistic analysis. Though Ayer's version of phenomenalism can be criticized in its technical aspects, the decisive objection to all forms of phenomenalism, as Ayer himself acknowledges, is that the existence of a physical object of a certain sort and the occurrence of certain sense-data cannot be sufficient conditions for each other. This difficulty means that statements about physical objects are not formally translatable into statements about sense-data, and therefore the phenomenalist's programme cannot be carried through. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 37-01, page: 0079. Adviser: Robert C. Pinto. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1997.