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About the book
  • Published: 15 July 1999
  • ISBN: 9780701163167
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $65.00

A. J. Ayer

A Life




The first authorised, revelatory biography of this influential philosopher and public figure.

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.

  • Pub date: 15 July 1999
  • ISBN: 9780701163167
  • Imprint: Chatto & Windus
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $65.00

About the Author

Ben Rogers

Brilliant young writer and thinker, author of an acclaimed biography of A. J. Ayer, Ben Rogers wrote his doctoral thesis at Oxford on 17th-century moral and political thought, and also has an MA from Columbia University, NY. He writes regularly for various newspapers and journals.

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