Category: Sciences

Timeline of the life and work of Karl Marx

The following timeline is adapted from Marxists.org, which is an excellent source for Marx and Marxism. (The links below will lead to texts at Marxists.org.)  Marxists.org also has a timeline of the works of Marx and Engels. There is also a  good timeline for Karl Marx at the Wikipedia. May 5, 1818 A son Karl is born to barrister Heinrich Marx and his wife, Henriette, in Trier November 28, 1820 A son Frederick is born to textile manufacturer Friedrich Engels and his wife, Elisabeth, in Barmen July 27-29, 1830 Revolution in France September Revolution in Belgium 1830-31 Uprisings in Poland October 1830 Karl...

Interview with Heinz von Foerster, 1995.

This Interview was conducted by Stefano Franchi, Güven Güzeldere, and Eric Minch, representing Stanford Humanities Review. stanford humanities review: The primary goal of this special issue of SHR is to promote a multidisciplinary dialogue on Artificial Intelligence and the humanities. We think you are most qualified to facilitate such a dialogue since you have trotted along many disciplinary paths in your career, ranging from mathematics and physics to biophysics and hematology, to pioneering work on cybernetics, to philosophy, and even family therapy. One could even say that “transdisciplinarity” has been your expertise. . . . heinz von foerster: I don’t...

Scientific Assumptions

For a long time, science has operated on the assumption that nature is ruled by causality. What this means, however, is by no means clear to philosophers, and has become a major philosophical debate during the 20th century. Wittgenstein is one of the more prominent skeptics. He argues in the Tractatus that when we scientifically explain something, we try to establish links between one event and another. But are the different states of the world really linked at all? Furthermore, how recognizable are these links, if they existed? Consider the Gambler’s fallacy: People expect certain outcomes based on past events,...

Challenges of the Anthropocene

This paper draws on early twentieth-century philosophical anthropology as well as cognitive science and evolutionary anthropology to examine how humans compensated for their biological under-determination by becoming second-natured, empathetic, cooperative, symbol-using creatures. Examining the capacities for cooperation that emerged in our evolutionary history may help clarify our thinking about contemporary problems that require collective decisions.

The History of South East Asia

Southeast Asia is an extremely diverse region on Earth. It consists of many large and small ecological areas. It has a staggering variety of economic, social, and cultural niches. Hundreds of ethnic groups and languages coexist in the space between the two large cultural neighbors, India and China. Over the centuries, the region has been colonized by the Europeans, and in the aftermath, it has developed its independence with a strong underlying sense of unity. unity,

Ronald Coase: The Institutional Structure of Production. 1991

Neoclassical economics focuses on the economic exchange process itself, driven by “sovereign” consumers and producers. There is a strong reliance on the market as self-equilibrating, and it is assumed that the collective action of self-interested economic agents still produces a socially beneficial outcome for all. But the focus on exchange and consumption neglects the sphere of production itself. This was pointed out by Ronald Coase in his Nobel Prize Lecture in 1991. He described Neoclassical economics as a theory fit only for the analysis of ‘lone individuals exchanging nuts and berries on the edge of the forest’. Source: “Ronald H....

Wilhelm Wundt: The Problem of Psychology. 1897

This short excerpt from the beginning of Wundt’s Outlines of Psychology, 1897, discusses the starting point of the discipline of psychology as an empirical discipline. Wilhelm Wundt opened the Institute for Experimental Psychology at the University of Leipzig in Germany in 1879.  This was the first laboratory dedicated to psychological research, and its opening marks the beginning of modern psychology as a scientific discipline. Wundt is therefore seen as the father of experimental psychology. He separated psychology from philosophy by analyzing the workings of the mind in a more structured way, with the emphasis on objective measurement. He came from...

Humanistic Psychology

Humanistic psychology is a psychological perspective that emphasizes the study of the whole person. Humanistic psychologists look at human behavior not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person who acts, thinks, or experiences the world. They believe that an individual’s behavior cannot be separated from her feelings, her intentions, her self-image, or her history.  Overview Unlike the behaviorists, humanistic psychologists believe that humans are not just the product of their environment or their learning history. Humanistic psychologists study a person’s understanding of the meaning of life, and the experiences of growing, teaching, and...

Gordon Allport: Becoming (1955)

This is an extract from a short text by Gordon Allport (Becoming, 1955) subtitled: Basic Considerations for a Psychology of Personality. In these passages, the human being is seen as characterized by a process of individuation (personal) and socialization (tribal). According to the vision of the human being held by Gordon Allport: “All his life. this human being will be attempting to reconcile these two modes of becoming, the tribal and the personal: the one that makes him into a mirror, the other that lights the lamp of the individuality within”. The Goal of Psychology The goal of psychology is...

Abraham Maslow: Toward a Psychology of Being. (1955-1957)

Abraham Maslow has become famous as a psychologist for his “hierarchy of needs.” He focuses more on the healthy personality, rather than on forms of psychopathology. He belongs to the tradition of existential-humanistic thinking in America. These extracts from texts written in the middle of the 20th century have not lost any of their insight and freshness. Deficiency motivation and growth motivation (1955) So far as motivational status is concerned, healthy people have sufficiently gratified their basic needs for safety, belongingness, love, respect and self-esteem so that they are motivated primarily by trends to self-actualization (defined as ongoing actualization of...

Erich Fromm: Territorialism and Dominance (1973)

In this short extract from [easyazon_link identifier=”080501604X” locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness[/easyazon_link], Erich Fromm rejects the idea that an instinct of territorialism exists that leads humans and animals to defend vast areas of territory they inhabit. He argues instead that there is a tendency to invade and appropriate new territories. In his view, this has nothing to do with innate human instincts, but with man-made aggressive ideologies and institutions. Here is the excerpt:  The popular picture of animal aggressiveness has been largely influenced by the concept of territorialism. [easyazon_link identifier=”B001UKYQUE” locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Robert Ardrey’s Territorial Imperative[/easyazon_link] (1967) has left the general public...

Stanley Milgram: Obedience to Authority (1974)

During the years 1960-1963 Stanley Milgram carried out some experiments on obedience while working in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. Years later, in 1972-1973, he was granted a Fellowship and, while living in Paris, he wrote a book about the results and reflections on those experiments that had already been presented in a shorter form in various scientific journals. The following text is an excerpt from chapter one and chapter 15, where he applies his experimental findings to a massacre in Vietnam (My Lai.) It was published in 1974 as “[easyazon_link identifier=”B01LWV0NY3″ locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Obedience to Authority[/easyazon_link].” Milgram unmasks in...

Max Horkheimer: Feudal Lord, Customer, and Specialist. 1964

Max Horkheimer: Feudal Lord, Customer, and Specialist. The End of the Fairy Tale of the Customer as King. Source: [easyazon_link identifier=”B01FIXWAI8″ locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Max Horkheimer: Critique of Instrumental Reason[/easyazon_link].  Published by Continuum 1974; Now that the bourgeois world is entering a new situation which may be interpreted either as more rational or as regressive, the forms of human relationship which originated in the feudal order and were transposed to a new level in the bourgeois order are about to be liquidated. Bourgeois culture was deeply influenced by the dignity, honor, and freedom of the feudal lord and, in the last analysis,...

Carl Rogers: Freedom to Learn (1969)

What happens when a creative and original psychologist like Carl Rogers writes down his ideas about learning? The following two excerpts are from his book: [easyazon_link identifier=”0024031216″ locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Freedom to Learn[/easyazon_link], published in 1969. The contains basic ideas on learning from a humanistic perspective, taking the whole person into account. Personal Thoughts on Teaching and Learning (1952) I wish to present some very brief remarks, in the hope that if they bring forth any reaction from you, I may get some new light on my own ideas. My experience is that I cannot teach another person how to teach. To...

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels on free trade (1848/1888)

Introduction Marx’s speech on free trade was given before the Democratic Association of Brussels on January 9, 1848. It was published in French in Brussels, in early February 1848. The German translation appeared in the same year and was done by Joseph Weydemeyer – a friend of Marx and Engels. In compliance with a wish expressed by Engels, this speech was appended to the first German edition of The Poverty of Philosophy (1885). It is usually included in an appendix in the various editions of that book ever since. Below is the final part of the speech where Marx, after...

Schumpeter: Creative Destruction. 1942

The following excerpt is Chapter 7 of Joseph Schumpeter’s book “Capitalism, Socialism, Democracy, originally written in 1942. It describes Capitalism as an evolutionary process, with continuous creative destruction of old structures. The theories of monopolistic and oligopolistic competition and their popular variants may in two ways be made to serve the view that capitalist reality is unfavorable to maximum performance in production. One may hold that it always has been so and that all along output has been expanding in spite of the secular sabotage perpetrated by the managing bourgeoisie. Advocates of this proposition would have to produce evidence to...

Joseph Schumpeter: State Imperialism and Capitalism (1919)

These are selected passages from an essay on the “Sociology of Imperialism” (1919) written by Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950). For a short time, he was the Finance Minister of Austria in 1919, and later he became a Harvard professor of economics. He is famous for [easyazon_link identifier=”B00AWO0CYI” locale=”US” tag=”mainacademicsite-20″]Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy[/easyazon_link] (1942). Schumpeter’s analysis of imperialism contradicts the analysis of Lenin. Imperialism is not seen as the most advanced stage of capitalism but as the clear sign that pre-capitalistic (i.e. feudal) aspects survive in capitalism. This results from the subservience of the capitalists to state rulers from whom they ask for “protection...

Kevin Kelly: Ten Rules for the Networking Economy.

This is a short summary from “New Rules for the New Economy“, originally written in 1998. Kevin Kelly is one of the co-founders of Wired Magazine and has been at the forefront of the technology revolution and its consequences for society. The following passages from Kevin Kelly’s “New Rules for the New Economy” maybe almost 20 years old, but they are still relevant today. The central focus is on the network and on what happens when a multitude of nodes connect and interact. Kelly explores possibilities already more or less visible around us, and he offers suggestions for operating in...

Bruno Latour: The Social as Association. 2004

From very early on, since science studies started, I have not considered the social to be at the center of sociology, and from this starting point I slowly developed an argument about the anthropology of modernity. So, it actually goes the other way: because I started in science studies I realized that the social was not at the center of sociology but rather what I call association.

The Execution of Damiens

The use of torture as a form of punishment was commonplace in European societies into the early 19th century. Today, we are outraged by mass killings, genocide, and ISIS beheadings, but extreme violence has always been there; it runs deep in human history. We are all traumatized, and it is difficult to work through the shadows of our violent past. The worst form of violence is often state-sponsored. Most political systems have a very dark and unexamined history when it comes to torture and killings. One case that made history was the execution of Robert-François Damiens in 1757 in France. He...