Mario Augusto Bunge
|Education||National University of La Plata (Ph.D., 1952)|
|School|| Analytic philosophy |
| Philosophy of science |
Philosophy of physics
Mario Augusto Bunge ( // ; Spanish: [ˈbuŋxe] ; born September 21, 1919) is an Argentine philosopher, philosopher of science and physicist who is mainly active in Canada.
Argentina, officially named the Argentine Republic, is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?
Philosophy of science is a sub-field of philosophy concerned with the foundations, methods, and implications of science. The central questions of this study concern what qualifies as science, the reliability of scientific theories, and the ultimate purpose of science. This discipline overlaps with metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology, for example, when it explores the relationship between science and truth.
Bunge was born on September 21, 1919 in Buenos Aires (Argentina). His mother, Marie Herminie Müser, was a German nurse who left Germany just before the beginning of World War I. His father, Augusto Bunge, also of some German descent, was an Argentinian physician and socialist legislator. Mario, who was the couple's only child, was raised without any religious education, and enjoyed a happy and stimulating childhood in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the South American continent's southeastern coast. "Buenos Aires" can be translated as "fair winds" or "good airs", but the former was the meaning intended by the founders in the 16th century, by the use of the original name "Real de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre". The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas, with a population of around 15.6 million.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
Bunge has four children: Carlos F. and Mario A. J. (with ex-wife Julia), and Eric R. and Silvia A., with his wife of over 60 years, the Argentinian mathematician Marta Cavallo. Mario and Marta live in Montreal.
Bunge began his studies at the National University of La Plata, graduating with a Ph.D. in physico-mathematical sciences in 1952. He was professor of theoretical physics and philosophy, 1956–1966, first at La Plata then at University of Buenos Aires. He was, until his recent retirement at age 90, the Frothingham Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at McGill University in Montreal, where he had been since 1966.
The National University of La Plata is one of the most important Argentine national universities and the biggest one situated in the city of La Plata, capital of Buenos Aires Province. It has over 90,000 regular students, 10,000 teaching staff, 17 departments and 106 available degrees.
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics that employs mathematical models and abstractions of physical objects and systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. This is in contrast to experimental physics, which uses experimental tools to probe these phenomena.
The University of Buenos Aires is the largest university in Argentina and the second largest university by enrollment in Latin America. Founded on August 12, 1821 in the city of Buenos Aires, it consists of 13 departments, 6 hospitals, 10 museums and is linked to 4 high schools: Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires, Escuela Superior de Comercio Carlos Pellegrini, Instituto Libre de Segunda Enseñanza and Escuela de Educación Técnica Profesional en Producción Agropecuaria y Agroalimentaria.
Bunge's students include Roger Angel, David Blitz, Mike Dillinger, Andrés Kálnay, Jean-Pierre Marquis, Dan A. Seni, Héctor Vucetich, and Miguel A. Quintanilla.
Bunge is a prolific intellectual, having written more than 400 papers and 80 books, notably his monumental Treatise on Basic Philosophy in 8 volumes (1974–1989), a comprehensive and rigorous study of those philosophical aspects Bunge takes to be the core of modern philosophy: semantics, ontology, epistemology, philosophy of science and ethics.Here, Bunge develops a comprehensive scientific outlook which he then applies to the various natural and social sciences.
Semantics is the linguistic and philosophical study of meaning, in language, programming languages, formal logics, and semiotics. It is concerned with the relationship between signifiers—like words, phrases, signs, and symbols—and what they stand for in reality, their denotation.
Ontology is the philosophical study of being. More broadly, it studies concepts that directly relate to being, in particular becoming, existence, reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology often deals with questions concerning what entities exist or may be said to exist and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.
His thinking embodies global systemism, emergentism, rationalism, scientific realism, materialism and consequentialism. Bunge has repeatedly and explicitly denied being a logical positivist, and has written on metaphysics. In the political arena, Bunge has defined himself as a "left-wing liberal" and democratic socialist, in the tradition of John Stuart Mill and José Ingenieros. He is also a supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which advocates for democratic reform in the United Nations, and the creation of a more accountable international political system.
In the context of systems science and systems philosophy, systemics is an initiative to study systems. It is an attempt at developing logical, mathematical, engineering and philosophical paradigms and frameworks in which physical, technological, biological, social, cognitive and metaphysical systems can be studied and modeled.
In philosophy, emergentism is the belief in emergence, particularly as it involves consciousness and the philosophy of mind, and as it contrasts with reductionism. A property of a system is said to be emergent if it is a new outcome of some other properties of the system and their interaction, while it is itself different from them. Emergent properties are not identical with, reducible to, or deducible from the other properties. The different ways in which this independence requirement can be satisfied lead to variant types of emergence.
In philosophy, rationalism is the epistemological view that "regards reason as the chief source and test of knowledge" or "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification". More formally, rationalism is defined as a methodology or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive".
Popularly, he is known for his remarks considering psychoanalysis as an example of pseudoscience.He has also freely criticized the ideas of well known scientists and philosophers such as Karl Popper, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, and Daniel Dennett.
In his review of Between Two Worlds: Memoirs of a Philosopher-Scientist, James Alcock sees in Bunge "a man of exceedingly high confidence who has lived his life guided by strong principles about truth, science, and justice" and one who is "[impatient] with muddy thinking".
Mario Bunge has been distinguished with twenty one honorary doctorates and four honorary professorships by universities from both the Americas and Europe. Bunge is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1984–) and of the Royal Society of Canada (1992–). In 1982 he was awarded the Premio Príncipe de Asturias (Prince of Asturias Award), in 2009 the Guggenheim Fellowship,and in 2014 the Ludwig von Bertalanffy Award in Complexity Thinking.
Willard Van Orman Quine was an American philosopher and logician in the analytic tradition, recognized as "one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century." From 1930 until his death 70 years later, Quine was continually affiliated with Harvard University in one way or another, first as a student, then as a professor of philosophy and a teacher of logic and set theory, and finally as a professor emeritus who published or revised several books in retirement. He filled the Edgar Pierce Chair of Philosophy at Harvard from 1956 to 1978. A 2009 poll conducted among analytic philosophers named Quine as the fifth most important philosopher of the past two centuries. He won the first Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy in 1993 for "his systematical and penetrating discussions of how learning of language and communication are based on socially available evidence and of the consequences of this for theories on knowledge and linguistic meaning." In 1996 he was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy for his "outstanding contributions to the progress of philosophy in the 20th century by proposing numerous theories based on keen insights in logic, epistemology, philosophy of science and philosophy of language."
Instrumentalism is an interpretation within the philosophy of science that holds that a successful scientific theory reveals nothing known either true or false about nature's unobservable objects, properties or processes. That is, scientific theories are assessed not on their ability to explain the truth value of some unobservable phenomenon, but rather on its usefulness in generating predictions and in confirming those predictions in data and observations. The question of "truth" is not taken into account one way or the other. According to instrumentalists, scientific theory is merely a tool whereby humans predict observations in a particular domain of nature by formulating laws, which state or summarize regularities, while theories themselves do not reveal supposedly hidden aspects of nature that somehow explain these laws. Initially a novel perspective introduced by Pierre Duhem in 1906, instrumentalism is largely the prevailing theory that underpins the practice of physicists today.
Scientific realism is the view that the universe described by science is real regardless of how it may be interpreted.
Ian MacDougall Hacking is a Canadian philosopher specializing in the philosophy of science. Throughout his career, he has won numerous awards, such as the Killam Prize for the Humanities and the Balzan Prize, and been a member of many prestigious groups, including the Order of Canada, the Royal Society of Canada and the British Academy.
Wilfrid Stalker Sellars was an American philosopher and prominent developer of critical realism, who "revolutionized both the content and the method of philosophy in the United States".
David Kellogg Lewis was an American philosopher. Lewis taught briefly at UCLA and then at Princeton from 1970 until his death. He is also closely associated with Australia, whose philosophical community he visited almost annually for more than thirty years. He made contributions in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of probability, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical logic, and aesthetics. He is probably best known for his controversial modal realist stance: that (i) possible worlds exist, (ii) every possible world is a concrete entity, (iii) any possible world is causally and spatiotemporally isolated from any other possible world, and (iv) our world is among the possible worlds.
Raimo Tuomela is a Finnish philosopher. Tuomela received his first degree of doctor of philosophy in 1968 from the University of Helsinki and the second one in 1969 from Stanford University. Tuomela has been full professor of philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, University of Helsinki since 1971.
Naturalized epistemology, coined by W. V. O. Quine, is a collection of philosophic views concerned with the theory of knowledge that emphasize the role of natural scientific methods. This shared emphasis on scientific methods of studying knowledge shifts focus to the empirical processes of knowledge acquisition and away from many traditional philosophical questions. There are noteworthy distinctions within naturalized epistemology. Replacement naturalism maintains that traditional epistemology should be abandoned and replaced with the methodologies of the natural sciences. The general thesis of cooperative naturalism is that traditional epistemology can benefit in its inquiry by using the knowledge we have gained from the cognitive sciences. Substantive naturalism focuses on an asserted equality of facts of knowledge and natural facts.
Bastiaan Cornelis van Fraassen is a Dutch-American philosopher. He is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University and the McCosh Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University, noted for his seminal contributions to philosophy of science.
Hans Reichenbach was a leading philosopher of science, educator, and proponent of logical empiricism. He was influential in the areas of science, education, and of logical empiricism. He founded the Gesellschaft für empirische Philosophie in Berlin in 1928, also known as the “Berlin Circle”. Carl Gustav Hempel, Richard von Mises, David Hilbert and Kurt Grelling all became members of the Berlin Circle. He authored The Rise of Scientific Philosophy. In 1930, Reichenbach and Rudolf Carnap became editors of the journal Erkenntnis (Knowledge). He also made lasting contributions to the study of empiricism based on a theory of probability; the logic and the philosophy of mathematics; space, time, and relativity theory; analysis of probabilistic reasoning; and quantum mechanics.
The philosophy of biology is a subfield of philosophy of science, which deals with epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical issues in the biological and biomedical sciences. Although philosophers of science and philosophers generally have long been interested in biology, philosophy of biology only emerged as an independent field of philosophy in the 1960s and 1970s. Philosophers of science then began paying increasing attention to biology, from the rise of Neodarwinism in the 1930s and 1940s to the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953 to more recent advances in genetic engineering. Other key ideas include the reduction of all life processes to biochemical reactions, and the incorporation of psychology into a broader neuroscience.
Michael David Resnik is a leading contemporary American philosopher of mathematics.
The unity of science is a thesis in philosophy of science that says that all the sciences form a unified whole.
Metaphysical naturalism is a philosophical worldview which holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences. Methodological naturalism is a philosophical basis for science, for which metaphysical naturalism provides only one possible ontological foundation. Broadly, the corresponding theological perspective is religious naturalism or spiritual naturalism. More specifically, metaphysical naturalism rejects the supernatural concepts and explanations that are part of many religions.
Nicla Vassallo, is an Italian philosopher with research and teaching interests in epistemology, philosophy of knowledge, theoretical philosophy, as well as gender and sexuality studies. She is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Genova, Italy.
An index list of articles about the philosophy of science.
Werner Leinfellner was professor of philosophy at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and at the Vienna University of Technology. After recovering from life-threatening wounds during World War II, he studied chemistry and physics at the Universities of Vienna and Graz, eventually turning to the study of the philosophy of science, and receiving his Ph.D. in 1959. He moved to the United States in 1967, in part, because of problems faced by empirically oriented philosophers in obtaining academic positions in Austria and Germany. He is notable for his contributions to philosophy of science, as a member of European Academy of Sciences and Arts, for founding the journal Theory and Decision, for co-founding Theory and Decision Library, and for co-founding the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society and International Wittgenstein Symposium.
Critical realism, a philosophical approach associated with Roy Bhaskar (1944–2014), combines a general philosophy of science with a philosophy of social science to describe an interface between the natural and social worlds.
Patrick Aidan Heelan, S.J. was an Irish-American Jesuit priest, physicist, and philosopher of science. He was William A. Gaston Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University.
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