logical positivism and chivalry

Until yesterday, I did not know the following story about the major British philosopher A.J. Ayer, which wikipedia borrows from Ben Rogers’ life of Ayer. In 1987, “At a party … held by fashion designer Fernando Sanchez, Ayer, then 77, confronted Mike Tyson harassing Naomi Campbell. When Ayer demanded that Tyson stop, the boxer said: “Do you know who the **** I am? I’m the heavyweight champion of the world,” to which Ayer replied: ‘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 then began to talk, while Naomi Campbell slipped out.”

3 thoughts on “logical positivism and chivalry

  1. airth10

    I just had to make some kind of commment, to try out my new Typekey account. I lost my ability to use it on my last server.

    I was wondering what to comment on and then I noticeed the title, logical positivism and chivalry. I looked up logical positivism on Wikipedia and still don’t quite understand it and it relationship with chivilry. Anway, I will take a stab at it.

    Is it that logical positivism doesn’t require an “a priori”, that chivalric behavior should just come naturally, with common sense?

    David Airth

  2. Peter Levine

    I just liked the incongruity of juxtaposing those two concepts, which seem about as related as Tyson and Ayer. (Apart from all the other differences between those two men, Ayer seems part of the history of the 1930s, whereas Tyson is a celebrity from 50 years later.)

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