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[The premise on which the validity of the following argument depends can be found in the sentence which I have italicized. Although Ayer claimed in the introduction to the book which contains this passage, ‘The views which are put forward in this treatise derive from the doctrines of Bertrand Russell and Wittgenstein...’, Russell held, at least some of the time, diametrically opposed views with respect to the premise of this argument. Keeping in mind that he often used words like instinctive, intuitive, insight and vision to mean the same thing, Russell wrote the following in The Problems of Philosophy, 1912, ‘All knowledge must be built up upon our instinctive beliefs, and if these are rejected, nothing is left.’]

The theist, like the moralist, may believe that his experiences are cognitive experiences, but, unless he can formulate his “knowledge” in propositions that are empirically verifiable, we may be sure that he is deceiving himself. It follows that those philosophers who fill their books with assertions that they intuitively “know” this or that moral or religious “truth” are merely providing material for the psycho-analyst. For no act of intuition can be said to reveal a truth about any matter of fact unless it issues in verifiable propositions [my italics]. And all such propositions are to be incorporated in the system of empirical propositions which constitutes science.

A. J. Ayer (from Language Truth and Logic, 1936)

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