Logical positivism is often taught as one of the three new schools of philosophy, together with pragmatism and phenomenology, that went against traditional philosophy in a radical manner. While I am certainly not disputing that rejecting metaphysics and reducing all sensible statements to either logical tautologies or verifiable claims is no small feat, some parts of Ayer's Language, Truth, Logic have led me to reconsider this a little bit.
[...] a list of all the 'great philosophers' whose work is predominantly analytic - a list which would certainly include Plato and Aristotle and Kant [...] (p.23)
I fail to see how these philosophers' work, and most notably Plato's, is "predominantly analytic"; Plato's work had a huge metaphysical component in it, which cannot simply be ignored.
We have been maintaining that much of 'traditional philosophy' is genuinely philosophical by our standards. (p.23)
Again, I feel that this is simply not true. If you interpret their standards strictly, then much of philosophy is not genuinely philosophical. I am aware that he gives a couple of examples before about how Locke, Berkeley and of course Hume are not predominantly metaphysicians, but that does not at all demonstrate that much of the philosophical tradition meets their criteria.
My question is: why did Ayer mention this? Was he simply trying not to come across as being too radical (which would surprise me) by not rejecting too much? Or did he genuinely see value in much of traditional philosophy and/or did he interpret a lot of it in a 'non-metaphysical' sense?