How did A.J. Ayer defeat Mike Tyson?

The Vienna Circle Read more from
Chapter Analytic Philosophy

This is an oft-told story that those who knew Ayer said sounded exactly like him. When, at the age of 77, Ayer was a visiting professor at Bard College in 1987, he went to a party hosted by fashion designer Fernando Sanchez. Ayer noticed that the professional heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson was annoying model Naomi Campbell. Ayer told Tyson to back off, and Tyson responded, “Do you know who the f*** I am? I’m the heavyweight champion of the world!” Ayer shot back, “And I am the former Wykeham Professor of Logic. We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men.” Ayer and Tyson did have a conversation, and Naomi Campbell, who was not yet famous, took advantage of this diversion to elude them both.


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