|Was||Scientist Geneticist Philosopher Writer Essayist Sociologist Professor Educator Physicist|
|Type||Academia Biology Literature Philosophy Science Social science|
|Birth||21 September 1919, Florida Oeste, Argentina|
|Death||25 February 2020, Montreal, Canada|
Mario Augusto Bunge (/ˈbʊŋɡeɪ/; [ˈbuŋxe]; September 21, 1919 – February 24, 2020) was an Argentine philosopher of science and physicist who was mainly active in Canada.
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.
He became a centenarian in September 2019 and died in Montreal, Canada, in February 2020 at the age of 100.
Wife and children
Bunge had 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 lived with Marta in Montreal since 1966, with one-year sabbaticals in other countries.
Studies and career
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 retirement at age 90, the Frothingham Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at McGill University in Montreal, where he had been since 1966.
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 was a prolific intellectual, having written more than 400 papers and 80 books, notably his monumental Treatise on Basic Philosophy in eight 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. In his Treatise, Bunge developed a comprehensive scientific outlook which he then applied to the various natural and social sciences.
His thinking embodies global systemism, emergentism, rationalism, scientific realism, materialism and consequentialism. Bunge repeatedly and explicitly denied being a logical positivist, and wrote on metaphysics.
An inspection of his work allows one to identify a variety of scientists and philosophers who have influenced his thought in one way or another. Among those thinkers, Bunge explicitly acknowledged the direct influence of his own father, the Argentine physician Augusto Bunge, the Czech physicist Guido Beck, the Argentine mathematician Alberto González Domínguez, the Argentine mathematician, physicist and computer scientist Manuel Sadosky, the Italian sociologist and psychologist Gino Germani, the American sociologist Robert King Merton, and the French-Polish epistemologist Émile Meyerson.
In the political arena, Bunge defined himself as a left-wing liberal and democratic socialist, in the tradition of John Stuart Mill and José Ingenieros. He was 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.
Popularly, he is known for his remarks considering psychoanalysis as an example of pseudoscience. He 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 saw 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 was distinguished with twenty-one honorary doctorates and four honorary professorships by universities from both the Americas and Europe. Bunge was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (1984–) and of the Royal Society of Canada (1992–), and he is in the Science Hall of Fame of the AAAS. 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.
- 1959. Causality: The Place of the Causal Principle in Modern Science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. (Fourth edition, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2009.)
- 1960. La ciencia, su método y su filosofía. Buenos Aires: Eudeba. (In French: La science, sa méthode et sa philosophie. Paris: Vigdor, 2001, ISBN 2-910243-90-7.)
- 1962. Intuition and Science. Prentice-Hall. (In French: Intuition et raison. Paris: Vigdor, 2001, ISBN 2-910243-89-3.)
- 1967. Scientific Research: Strategy and Philosophy. Berlin, New York: Springer-Verlag. Revised and reprinted as Philosophy of Science (1998).
- 1967. Foundations of Physics. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer-Verlag.
- 1973. Philosophy of Physics. Dordrecht: Reidel.
- 1980. The Mind-Body Problem. Oxford: Pergamon.
- 1983. "Demarcating Science from Pseudoscience," Fundamenta Scientiae 3: 369–388.
- 1984. "What is Pseudoscience?" The Skeptical Inquirer. Volume 9: 36–46.
- 1987. Philosophy of Psychology (with Rubén Ardila). New York: Springer.
- 1987. "Why Parapsychology Cannot Become a Science", Behavioral and Brain Sciences 10: 576–577.
- 1988. Ciencia y desarrollo. Buenos Aires: Siglo Veinte.
- 1974–89. Treatise on Basic Philosophy: 8 volumes in 9 parts:
- I: Semantics I: Sense and Reference. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1974.
- II: Semantics II: Interpretation and Truth. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1974.
- III: Ontology I: The Furniture of the World. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1977.
- IV: Ontology II: A World of Systems. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1979.
- V: Epistemology and Methodology I: Exploring the World. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1983.
- VI: Epistemology and Methodology II: Understanding the World. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1983.
- VII: Epistemology and Methodology III: Philosophy of Science and Technology: Part I. Formal and Physical Sciences. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1985. Part II. Life Science, Social Science and Technology. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1985.
- VIII: Ethics: the Good and the Right. Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1989.
- 1996. Finding Philosophy in Social Science. New Haven: Yale University Press.
- 1997. Foundations of Biophilosophy (with Martin Mahner). New York: Springer.
- 1998. Dictionary of Philosophy. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
- 1998. Philosophy of Science, 2 Vols. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
- 1998. Social Science under Debate: A Philosophical Perspective. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
- 1999. The Sociology–Philosophy Connection. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
- 2001: Scientific Realism: Selected Essays of Mario Bunge. Edited by Martin Mahner. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
- 2001. Philosophy in Crisis. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
- 2003. Emergence and Convergence: Qualitative Novelty and the Unity of Knowledge. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
- 2004. Über die Natur der Dinge. Materialismus und Wissenschaft (with Martin Mahner). Stuttgart: S. Hirzel Verlag.
- 2006. Chasing Reality: Strife over Realism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
- 2009. Political Philosophy: Fact, Fiction, and Vision. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
- 2010. Matter and Mind: A Philosophical Inquiry. New York: Springer.
- 2012. Evaluating Philosophies. New York: Springer.
- 2012. "Does Quantum Physics Refute Realism, Materialism and Determinism?", Science & Education 21(10): 1601–1610.
- 2013. Medical Philosophy: Conceptual Issues in Medicine. New Jersey: World Scientific Publishing Company.
- 2016. Between Two Worlds: Memoirs of a Philosopher-Scientist. New York: Springer.
- 2017. Doing Science: In the Light of Philosophy. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Company.
- 2018. From a Scientific Point of View: Reasoning and Evidence Beat Improvisation across Fields. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars.