Marjorie Grene's work expresses the conviction that what is called "the new philosophy of science" will not become viable until it is rooted in an understanding of the knower and the known which breaks with the familiar Cartesian dualisms. In order to provide this understanding, she has sought to restore central significance to the phenomenon of life -- to the distinctive ways in which animals, including human beings, perceive and act in their worlds. It is argued that her fundamental (...) premise is that humans, as living beings, bring a shared experience of the world with them into scientific activity. On this basis, she is able to show how scientific objectivity may be seen as a form of pre-scientific exploration and how the scientifically known world may be seen as the pre-scientific life-world interpreted and enriched in scientific terms. (shrink)
This essay pulls together from myriad sources the record of Marjorie Grene’s early collaboration with Michael Polanyi as well as her interesting, changing commentary on Polanyi’s philosophical perspective and particularly that articulated in Personal Knowledge. It provides an account of the conflicting perspectives of Grene and Harry Prosch, who collaborated in publishing Polanyi’s last work, Meaning.
These reflections summarize major themes in Marjorie Grene’s A Philosophical Testament. I also highlight Grene’s comments on her many years of work with Polanyi and try to draw out some connections between Grene’s thought and that of Polanyi.
Professor Grene's work on Aristotle is considered under three headings: teleology, form, and reductionism. A picture of Aristotle's philosophy of biology is sketched which stresses three elements: the place of living activity in the teleological account of the development and nature of organic structures; the functional nature of Aristotelian form; and the autonomy of biology as a natural science with its own basic principles. These elements are aspects of Aristotle's approach to biology with which Professor Grene has expressed sympathy.
Grene's Two Evolutionary Theories (1958), a philosophical analysis of the nature of scientific disputes, itself contributed directly to discourse in evolutionary theory. I conclude that Grene's descriptions of two rival theories of evolutionary paleontologists — those of George Gaylord Simpson, who stressed traditional Darwinian continuity, and of Otto Schindewolf, who stressed discontinuity in paleontological data — were entirely accurate. But I further argue that both Simpson, as well as Mayr and Dobzhansky, had incorporated notions of discontinuity into their earlier work, (...) but later removed, or at least de-emphasized discontinuity, in their later work. Grene's analysis, published in the year of the Darwinian centennial, was initially treated as a provocative sore point. The paper kept the issue of discontinuity alive in evolutionary theory, and directly influenced work in the 1960s and 1970s, which restored and further elaborated on the significance of discontinuity in evolutionary theory. (shrink)