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.




  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.