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A. J. Ayer
by Ben Rogers
Married four times, Ayer was a leading figure in London 'cafe society', yet he was also a controversial public figure and broadcaster, vehemently left-wing in the 1930s, and later President of the British Humanist Association and the Homosexual Law Reform Society.
Freddie Ayer (1910-89) was one of the most influential philosophers of his generation, while his television and radio appearances, especially in the original `Brains Trust', made him Britain's first 'media philosopher'. In this lively, penetrating study - the first, fully authorised, biography - Ben Rogers relates Ayer's ideas to his remarkable life, strangely troubled beneath its glamorous surface. The 'quintessentially British' thinker was the only child of a Swiss-French father and Dutch-Jewish mother; after a lonely childhood he found his true role at Oxford. A friend of Isaiah Berlin, and a follower first of Bertrand Russell, and then of Wittgenstein. Ayer won fame at twenty-four with his brilliantly iconoclastic LANGUAGE, TRUTH AND LOGIC - an essential text for students ever since. Ben Rogers shows Ayer at work, in London, Oxford and America, and also at play, as a passionate follower of cricket and football, a great dancer, a lover of witty conversation and beautiful women. Married four times, Ayer was a leading figure in London 'cafe society', yet he was also a controversial public figure and broadcaster, vehemently left-wing in the 1930s, and later President of the British Humanist Association and the Homosexual Law Reform Society. Colourful, inimate, zestful and often poignant, this is a powerful biography.
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"A feat of biography that deserves to take its place alongside the two other great biographies of philosophers of recent times: Michael Ignatieff's "Isaiah Berlin" and Ray Monk's "Wittgenstein"." - "Mail on Sunday""Rogers--provides excellent and sympathetic summaries of all Ayer's main books and articles. Admirable." - "Sunday Times""From the Trade Paperback edition."
About Ben Rogers
Ben Rogers reviews regularly for the "TLS," "Guardian" and "Independent on Sunday." He is the author of "Pascal: In Praise of Vanity." "From the Trade Paperback edition."
A. J. Ayer: A Life by Ben Rogers
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