Ceea ce ne uneşte: istorii, biografii, idei. Sorin Antohi în dialog cu Moshe Idel (Those things that bind us: histories, biographies, ideas. Sorin Antohi in dialogue with Moshe Idel) Ed. Polirom, Iaşi, 2006.
This article considers the two major biographies of sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, MD (1868—1935), an early campaigner for ‘gay rights’ avant la lettre. Like him, his first biographer Charlotte Wolff (1897—1986) was a Jewish doctor who lived and worked in Weimar Republic Berlin and fled Germany when the Nazi regime came to power. When researching Hirschfeld’s biography (published in English in 1986) Wolff met a librarian and gay activist, Manfred Herzer, who would eventually be a cofounder of the Gay Museum (...) in Berlin and publish (in German, in 1992) the other major Hirschfeld biography currently available. Using, inter alia, the correspondence between Wolff and Herzer, the article aims to explore and interrogate the boundaries and possibilities of ‘biography’ as a form of ‘doing history’. (shrink)
Temporalités, rythmes sociaux, biographies et trajectoires Le RéDoc – Réseau international d'écoles doctorales en sociologie/sciences sociales – tiendra du 30 juin au 4 juillet 2014 à Bruxelles sa cinquième Université d'été, organisée par l'École Doctorale Thématique en Sciences Sociales près le Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique, qui associe l'ensemble des universités de la fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, ainsi que par l'Association belge francophone de sociologie et d'anthropologie (ABFSA). L'appel à (...) - Actualités.
In referring to biographies of Edison as examples, the following are shown: the image of a scientist or an engineer in biographies has dramatically changed over time; the images produced anew in each period fitted well to the social milieu of the day; biographies therefore acquired a large readership and contributed to informing to the public of the value of science and technology and the necessity of promoting them. It is also pointed out that a new image (...) of scientist or engineer is to be created which is surely attractive to people today if we expect biographies to remain effective in promoting public understanding of science as before. (shrink)
Abstract This article is based on a longitudinal study of relations between biographical conditions and the personality development of 21 young workers ranging from 23 to 30 years of age who had passed through an apprenticeship in large plants of the metal industry in West Berlin. The biographical analyses focused mainly on occupational conditions; the personality analyses, on such socio?cognitive variables as patterns of control awareness and structures of moral judgement. A review of the relevant literature led to the hypothesis (...) that seven social conditions in particular promote development. Data on these conditions were collected continually through in?depth interviews of the workers, observations of their work and information from their superiors, personnel managers and works councils. Data on moral judgement were collected at the beginning and end of the study by confronting the workers with five real?life dilemmas in a semi?structured interview. Before the second series of ?moral interviews?, predictions of the individual moral levels of all subjects were derived from their former reasoning and their intermediate biographical experiences. The responses of the interviewees confirmed nearly all the predictions. Occupational experiences appeared to have contributed considerably to moral development in most respondents. (shrink)
Much writing on scientific biography focuses on the legitimacy and utility of this genre. In contrast, this essay discusses a variety of genre conventions and imperatives which continue to exert a powerful influence on the selection of biographical subjects, and to control the plot and structure of the ensuing biographies. These imperatives include the following: the plot templates of the Bildungsroman (the realistic novel of individual self-development), the life trajectories of Weberian ideal types, and the functional elements and personae (...) of the folkloric tale of the "hero's quest." The essay discusses the nature and application of these genre conventions in some detail, with the conclusion that biography, however useful, exerts a powerfully distorting influence on the image of how most science gets done. (shrink)
Abstract Biography is usually distinguished from history and, in comparison, looked down upon. R. G. Collingwood's view of biography seems to fit this statement considering that he says it has only gossip-value and that “history it can never be“. His main concern is that biography exploits and arouses emotions which he excludes from the domain of history. In the paper I will try to show that one can salvage a more positive view of biography from within Collingwood's work and claim (...) that his explicit attacks against biography target specifically the sensationalist kind. First, I will show that Collingwood, in his later writings, allowed that, not only thought, but also relevant emotions can be the subject matter of history, which means that even if one takes biography to deal with emotions, it can still qualify as history. Second, I will argue, based mainly on Collingwood's Principles of Art , that biography can be compared to portrait painting, in which case, it can be redeemed as a work of art and not just craft and, thus, have more than entertainment value. It can also be part of history, and more specifically part of the history of art which Collingwood endorses, if one takes the life of an individual, recounted by a biographer, to be an artistic creation, as Collingwood seems to suggest. (shrink)
This article is a response to Ole Martin Skilleås's "Knowledge and Imagination in Fiction and Biography." The first section of the article summarizes the line of the argument in four theses: (1) What is real is more influential than what is made up; (2) there is no metaphysical chasm between autobiographers and us; (3) (auto)biographies are not just empirical; and (4) the moral lesson of a fiction need not be accepted. In the second section each of these theses is (...) criticized. This criticism leads to the conclusion that we should welcome (auto)biographical texts in our moral investigations, but not at the cost of fictional texts. This conclusion is coupled with a proposal to formulate criteria to distinguish texts that matter from those that do not. (shrink)
Abstract Is `History Man', Fred Inglis' biography on R.G. Collingwood a successful biography? Inglis' explicit ambition is to portray the concrete figure Collingwood by abducting him from what he calls the vacuum-packed academic world of scholars. But the best biographers look for a balanced equilibrium between rendering philosophical ideas and dramatizing a philosopher's life. Put another way, they evoke the interweaving of a philosopher's thought with the vicissitudes of his life. Despite the unmistakable qualities of this biography, Fred Inglis did (...) not fully succeed in finding that very balance, mainly due to a lack of philosophical background. While Oxford University Press with the new edition of his works and manuscripts is thoroughly reorienting the traditional view of Collingwood, Inglis' fluently written but rather biased portrayal does no full justice to the heart of his fascinating philosophy and personality. (shrink)
Interviewing offers the biographer unique opportunities for gathering data. I offer three examples. The emphatic bacterial geneticist Norton Zinder confronted me with an interpretation of Barbara McClintock's science that was as surprising as it proved to be robust. The relaxed setting of the human geneticist Walter Nance's rural summer home contributed to an unusually improvisational oral history that produced insights into his experimental and thinking style. And "embedding" myself with the biochemical geneticist Charles Scriver in his home, workplace, and city (...) enabled me to experience the social networks that drive the practical events of his career, which in turn helped me explain the theoretical basis of his science. Face-to-face interaction and multisensory experience will shape each biographer's experience uniquely. Recent developments in sensory physiology suggest that the experience of integrating sense data encourages different patterns of observation and reflection. It is reasonable, then, to think that biography based on face-to-face interviews will, for a given author, have a different character than one based entirely on documents. I reflect on how interviewing shapes my own writing and I encourage the reader to do the same. (shrink)
The life of George Price (1922-1975), the eccentric polymath genius and father of the Price equation, is used as a prism and counterpoint through which to consider an age-old evolutionary conundrum: the origins of altruism. This biographical project, and biography and history more generally, are considered in terms of the possibility of using form to convey content in particular ways. Closer to an art form than a science, this approach to scholarship presents both a unique challenge and promise.
This book constitutes the first volume of a projected two-volume intellectual biography of Auguste Comte, the founder of modern sociology and a philosophical movement called positivism. Volume One offers a reinterpretation of Comte's "first career," (1798-1842) when he completed the scientific foundation of his philosophy. It describes the interplay between Comte's ideas and the historical context of postrevolutionary France, his struggles with poverty and mental illness, and his volatile relationships with friends, family, and colleagues, including such famous contemporaries as Saint-Simon, (...) the Saint-Simonians, Guizot, and John Stuart Mill. Pickering shows that the man who called for a new social philosophy based on the sciences was not only ill at ease in the most basic human relationships, but also profoundly questioned the ability of the purely scientific spirit to regenerate the political and social world. (shrink)
Richard Goldschmidt was one of the most controversial biologists of the mid-twentieth century. Rather than fade from view, Goldschmidt's work and reputation has persisted in the biological community long after he has. Goldschmidt's longevity is due in large part to how he was represented by Stephen J. Gould. When viewed from the perspective of the biographer, Gould's revival of Goldschmidt as an evolutionary heretic in the 1970s and 1980s represents a selective reinvention of Goldschmidt that provides a contrast to other (...) kinds of biographical commemorations by scientists. (shrink)
This paper explores the special problems encountered by the biographer of a living scientific subject. In particular, it explores the complex of problems that emerges from the intense interpersonal dynamic involving issues of distance, privacy and trust. It also explores methodological problems having to do with oral history interviews and other supporting documentation. It draws on the personal experience of the author and the biographical subject of G. Ledyard Stebbins Jr., the botanist, geneticist and evolutionist. It also offers prescriptives and (...) recommendations for future research. (shrink)
Literature, for Sartre, it could be said, is not so much an object of theory as the focus of a question. The notion of 'committed literature' is less prescriptive than it is interrogative: the title of the text most commonly associated with 'littérature engagée' is, after all, a question about literature itself, and the nature of 'commitment' lends itself much more to a practice of contestation than to implementation of any particular programme. In what follows, I shall be examining some (...) of the ways in which Sartre makes literature synonymous with a question. And I shall be arguing that the very terms in which literature is presented as a form of self-contestation make biography, rather than theory, the arena in which the notion of literature is most extensively opened up. (shrink)