Michael R. Ayers

Michael Richard Ayers, FBA (born 1935) is a British philosopher and professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Oxford. He studied at St. John's College of the University of Cambridge, and was a member of Wadham College, Oxford from 1965 until 2002. Among his students are Colin McGinn and William Child.


Ayers's research focuses are in the history of philosophy and in epistemology, metaphysics and language. He is co-editor of the Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy and subject editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, has edited the work of George Berkeley and published on Descartes. His most influential contributions, however, concern the work of John Locke. He is the author of Locke: Epistemology and Ontology as well as of several seminal articles on Locke's philosophy.

In 1987 Bryan Magee invited Michael Ayers to talk about Locke and Berkeley in the BBC's series The Great Philosophers.

More recently, Michael Ayers has published on metaphysics.


  • Philosophy and its past, Jonathan Rée, Michael Ayers, Adam Westoby: Harvester Press, 1978.
  • Philosophical works : including the works on vision George Berkeley 1685-1753. Michael Ayers (ed.) New ed., revised and enlarged. London : Dent, 1985.
  • Locke London : Routledge 1991
  • 'The foundations of knowledge and the logic of substance: the structure of Locke's general philosophy' in Locke Vere Chappell (ed.), Oxford University Press 1998
  • The Cambridge history of seventeenth-century philosophy Daniel Garber, Michael Ayers: Cambridge University Press 1998
  • 'What is Realism?' in Supplement to the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Volume 75, Number 1, July 2001
  • 'The Second Meditation and Objections to Cartesian Dualism' in Christia Mercer and Eileen O'Neill (eds.), Early Modern Philosophy: Mind, Matter, and Metaphysics, Oxford University Press, 2005
  • 'Ordinary Objects, Ordinary Language and Identity' in The Monist, Vol. 88, No. 4, October 2005
  • Ayers, Michael R. "Substance, Reality, and the Great Dead Philosophers."[1] American Philosophical Quarterly 7 (1970): 38-49.
    The paper is a reply to: Bennett, Jonathan (1965). "Substance, Reality, and Primary Qualities". American Philosophical Quarterly. 2: 1–17.
  • [2]


External linksEdit


  1. ^ “About the structure of Berkeley’s philosophy and its relation to Locke” (p. 38)
  2. ^ Ayers, Michael (2005). "Was Berkeley an empiricist or a rationalist?". The Cambridge Companion to Berkeley. pp. 34–62. doi:10.1017/CCOL0521450330.003. ISBN 9780521456579.