A. J. Ayer to the rescue!

A. J. Ayer is known for writing "Language, Truth, and Logic." Lesser known is his sequel, "Language, Truth, and Being a Friggin' Badass."

Couldn’t resist this anecdote from the biography of one of my favorite philosophers, logical positivist A. J. Ayer:

“Ayer was now standing near the entrance to the great white living-room of Sanchez’s West 57th Street apartment, chatting to a group of young models and designers, when a woman rushed in saying that a friend was being assaulted in a bedroom. Ayer went to investigate and found Mike Tyson forcing himself on a young south London model called Naomi Campbell, then just beginning her career. Ayer warned Tyson to desist. Tyson: ‘Do you know who the fuck I am? I’m the heavyweight champion of the world.’ Ayer stood his ground: ‘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 began to talk. Naomi Campbell slipped out.”

A. J. Ayer: A Life, by Ben Rogers

8 Responses to A. J. Ayer to the rescue!

  1. Barry says:

    “He’s here! He’s here! Hurray! The philosopher is here!”

  2. Graham says:

    I want a transcript of their conversation more than I’ve ever wanted anything.

  3. davidad says:

    It’s a wonderful story, but I wonder if it’s not what it seems. According to http://j.mp/ihR7n2, Campbell and Tyson were dating in 1989.

    • Julia Galef says:

      An interesting wrinkle, but I don’t think it casts doubt on the story. It’s not that unusual for a woman to date a guy who was violent with her.

  4. Thanks for tipping me off to this biography, had no idea he had such an interesting life. Badass indeed – via wikipedia:
    “It was at Eton that Ayer first became known for his characteristic bravado and precocity. […] He served as an officer in the Welsh Guards during World War II, working for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and spying for MI6. He was an extrovert, social mixer and womaniser, and was married four times, including to Dee Wells and Vanessa Salmon (thus becoming stepfather to Nigella Lawson). […] He was also obsessed with sports: he had played rugby for Eton, and was a noted cricketer and a keen supporter of the Tottenham Hotspur football team.”

  5. Lauren says:

    Why is positivism called positivism, because you are positive of results after an experiment?

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