Hubert Dreyfus (1929-2017)

Hubert Dreyfus (1929-2017), Daily Nous, April 24 2017

An obituary of Hubert Dreyfus by Sean D. Kelly, Teresa G. and Ferdinand F. Martignetti Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University.

Hubert Dreyfus, a renowned philosopher and a professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley for almost 50 years, died early Saturday morning [22 April]. He was 87 years old.

Dreyfus studied philosophy at Harvard, arriving from Terre Haute, Indiana as a freshman in the fall of 1947. He received his B.A. with highest honors in 1951, completing an undergraduate thesis in the philosophy of physics under what he once described as the none-too-strenuous supervision of Quine. He stayed at Harvard for graduate work in philosophy, receiving an M.A. in 1952 and a Ph.D. in 1964.


Perhaps Dreyfus’ most important influence within philosophy was to interpret and extend recent European philosophy for the English speaking world. This was no mean feat. During the famous philosophical summit at Royaumont between French and English philosophers, in 1958, the two sides were so far apart that Charles Taylor described the event as a “dialogue de sourds” (dialogue of the deaf). It is no exaggeration to say that, insofar as English speaking philosophers have any access at all to thinkers like Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Michel Foucault, it is through the interpretation that Dreyfus originally offered of them.

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Obituary in Berkeley News


Sandra Lee Bartky (1935-2016)

bartky-obit-1-blog427 Sandra Lee Bartky, at the Vanguard of Feminist Philosophy, Dies at 81
By Sam Roberts, New York Times 23 October 2016

Sandra Lee Bartky, an influential feminist philosopher who argued that women were subconsciously submitting to men by accepting an unnatural cultural standard for the ideal female body — what she called the “tyranny of slenderness” — died on Oct. 17 at her home in Saugatuck, Mich. She was 81.


Professor Bartky, who taught philosophy and gender and women’s studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, contended that women suffered from self-loathing, shame and guilt — internalized oppression, she called it — fostered by cultural cues about their bodies that devalue them if they do not meet the prescribed standard.

Through the diminishment of dieting and by being undemonstrative, she said, women are encouraged “to take up as little space as possible.”

“The body by which a woman feels herself judged and which by rigorous discipline she must try to assume is the body of early adolescence, slight and unformed, a body lacking flesh or substance, a body in whose very contours the image of immaturity has been inscribed,” Professor Bartky wrote in an essay published in an anthology, “Feminism and Foucault: Reflections on Resistance,” in 1988.

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French philosopher Andre Glucksmann dies at 78 (2015)

André Glucksmann en 2007 à Paris. Photo Frédéric Stucin pour Libération

André Glucksmann en 2007 à Paris. Photo Frédéric Stucin pour Libération

French philosopher Andre Glucksmann dies at 78, BBC News site

See also The Guardian

En français: Libération

Andre Glucksmann, one of the most prominent figures in French philosophy, has died aged 78.

An associate of Jean-Paul Sartre, he helped provide the intellectual underpinning for the student and worker revolts of May 1968.

He was originally seen as a Maoist but changed his views when he discovered the reality of totalitarianism.

He persuaded Sartre to back his call to help boat people fleeing the communist regime in Vietnam in 1979.

“My first and best friend is no more,” his son Raphael wrote on Tuesday. “I had the incredible luck to know, laugh, debate, travel, play – do all and nothing at all with such a good and brilliant man.”

Andre Glucksmann was born into a Jewish family originally from Poland and his experience of the Nazi occupation of France during World War Two inspired his early involvement with the French Communist party, as well as Maoists who advocated civil war.

In the early 1970s he condemned President Georges Pompidou’s France as “fascist”.

It was when he read The Gulag Archipelago by Soviet writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn in 1974 that his views dramatically changed, Le Figaro reports.

In common with other leading French thinkers such as Bernard-Henri Levy, he soon made a much-publicised break with Marxism. Together they came to be known as the “New Philosophers”.

In 1977, he wrote a stinging attack on communism in Barbarism with a Human Face.

Glucksmann’s thinking focused increasingly on the rights of the individual against the threat of totalitarianism, and he was prominent in promoting human rights in Bosnia, Chechnya and the Middle East, says the BBC’s Hugh Schofield in Paris.

Current events Obituaries

Gary S. Becker, 1930-2014

becker Gary S. Becker, Nobel-winning scholar of economics and sociology, 1930-2014

Obituary by William Harms, UChicago News, May 4 2014

Nobel Laureate Gary S. Becker, AM’53, PhD’55, made historic changes to the study of economics and the social sciences, combining disciplines to understand decisions in everyday life, while spawning rich new questions for scholars in diverse fields to pursue.

Becker, 83, University Professor of Economics and of Sociology at the University of Chicago, died on May 3 following complications from a recent surgery. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992 [1] “for having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behavior and interaction, including non-market behavior.”

Becker pioneered study in the fields of human capital, economics of the family, and economic analysis of crime, discrimination, addiction, and population. University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer said Becker will be remembered as one of the foremost economics scholars of the 20th century.

“Gary was a transformational thinker of truly remarkable impact on the world and an extraordinary individual,” Zimmer said. “He was intellectually fearless. As a scholar and as a person, he represented the best of what the University of Chicago aspires to be.”

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André Schiffrin (1935-2013)

Schiffrin-obitAndré Schiffrin, Publishing Force and a Founder of New Press, Is Dead at 78
The New York Times Books, December 1, 2013

André Schiffrin, a publishing force for 50 years, whose passion for editorial independence produced shelves of serious books, a titanic collision with a conglomerate that forced him out to stem losses, and a late-in-life comeback as a nonprofit publisher, died in Paris on Sunday. He was 78.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, his daughter Natalia Schiffrin said.

The son of a distinguished Paris publisher who fled Nazi-occupied France during World War II, Mr. Schiffrin grew up in a socialist New York literary world and became one of America’s most influential men of letters. As editor in chief and managing director of Pantheon Books, a Random House imprint where making money was never the main point, he published novels and books of cultural, social and political significance by an international array of mostly highbrow, left-leaning authors.

Taking risks, running losses, resisting financial pressures and compromises, Mr. Schiffrin championed the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, Günter Grass, Studs Terkel, Michel Foucault, Simone de Beauvoir, Noam Chomsky, Julio Cortázar, Marguerite Duras, Roy Medvedev, Gunnar Myrdal, George Kennan, Anita Brookner, R. D. Laing and many others.

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See also article by LORI HINNANT, Schiffrin, rebel of corporate publishing, dies
Time, December 2, 2013
Associated Press.


François Jacob 1920 – 2013

Décès du prix Nobel de médecine François Jacob, à 92 ans

Le biologiste avait notamment écrit "La logique du vivant", qualifiée de plus remarquable histoire de la biologie par le philosophe Michel Foucault.
Le biologiste avait notamment écrit “La logique du vivant”, qualifiée de plus remarquable histoire de la biologie par le philosophe Michel Foucault. (AFP THOMAS COEX)

Le prix Nobel de médecine, François Jacob, s’est éteint vendredi à l’âge de 92 ans. Cet éminent biologiste et chercheur avait obtenu le prix Nobel en 1965.

Le biologiste et professeur François Jacob, prix Nobel de médecine en 1965, est décédé vendredi à l’âge de 92 ans, a indiqué dimanche soir  l’ancien chancelier de l’Ordre de la Libération Fred Moore.

Ses recherches sur la génétique bactérienne et les circuits de régulation lui ont valu d’innombrables récompenses scientifiques, dont le prix Nobel, conjointement avec André Lwoff et Jacques Monod.

“La logique du vivant”

Jacob souhaitait devenir chirurgien mais ses blessures de guerre le faisant souffrir – notamment la station debout – il s’est tourné à la Libération vers la biologie, “par nécessité intérieure et hasard extérieur”, expliquait cet homme charmant à belle allure et doté d’un solide sens de l’humour.

François Jacob, par ailleurs amateur de peinture, était l’auteur de nombreux articles scientifiques et de plusieurs ouvrages, notamment un essai qui eut un grand écho, “La Logique du vivant” (1970), qualifié par le philosophe Michel Foucault de “plus remarquable histoire de la biologie jamais écrite”.

Biologiste de réputation

Professeur titulaire de la chaire de génétique cellulaire au Collège de France (1965-1991), ce Compagnon de la Libération, membre de l’Académie des sciences (1977) et de l’Académie française (1996), avait été de 2007 à 2011 chancelier de l’Ordre de la Libération, 16e personnage de l’Etat dans l’ordre protocolaire.

Il était Grand Croix de la Légion d’Honneur, Grand Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite et Croix 39/45. Une cérémonie militaire devrait avoir lieu mercredi en début d’après-midi aux Invalides, a-t-on précisé de même source.

Après le décès de François Jacob, il ne reste plus que 22 Compagnons de la Libération en vie.

See also article on Le blog des livres


Robert Castel 1933 – 2013

Robert Castel, cinquante ans de pugnacité sociologique
Jean-François Laé
13 mars 2013 Site Mediapart

Directeur d’études à l’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Robert Castel, né à Brest en 1933, est mort à Paris, mardi 12 mars, des suites d’un cancer. A juste distance entre Michel Foucault et Pierre Bourdieu, dont il était l’ami, non sans bataille, son œuvre voulait être un diagnostic du temps présent.

Robert Castel, c’était d’abord une silhouette courbée sur sa cigarette, un regard caché sous ses longs sourcils, une présence discrète qui jaugeait longuement son interlocuteur. Il y avait chez lui quelque chose du vieux marin, légèrement méfiant, qui se manifestait par des silences, regard de travers, par une blague pour détendre le sérieux du milieu académique. Car ça le faisait rire, la pose des sociologues ou des historiens. Il devait alors penser à son certificat d’étude, passé à Brest, ou à sa mère lui disant : « A la maison, on manquera jamais de rien, il y aura toujours du vin. » Sous le manteau, il aimait brandir son diplôme d’ajusteur mécanicien, son orientation forcée dans une école technique, la rencontre d’un professeur de mathématique, surnommé Buchenwald, ancien rescapé du camp, qui le somma de quitter le collège pour faire de la philosophie à Rennes.


La fréquentation de Michel Foucault marque alors ses analyses transversales, notamment par cette démarche généalogique que l’on peut suivre dans Le psychanalysme, l’ordre psychanalytique et le pouvoir (Maspero, 1973) ; L’ordre psychiatrique (Minuit, 1977) ; La société psychiatrique avancée : le modèle américain (avec Françoise Castel et Anne Lovell, Grasset, 1979) ; La gestion des risques (Minuit, 1981).  Le traitement et la prise en charge des malades mentaux sont violemment passés au crible de la critique. Du coup, il entretenait un rapport assez particulier avec la sociologie, réintroduisant le passé « avec ses problèmes qui ne sont jamais dépassés ».


See also Le blog des livres

Current events Obituaries