The Place of Mario Bunge

  • John Wettersten
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 67)

Abstract

The name of Mario Bunge conjures unease amongst those who are in the know. He is today one of the most well known of living philosophers, his numerous publications are well known, and his positions leave sharp impressions; nevertheless, there has been relatively little critical appraisal of his work. This seems a pity, since his work is quite intriguing and recognized as such by many who look for challenges yet are frustrated by him. The current situation of a well-known, controversial and slightly read author seems paradoxical enough to call for some explanation. My own conjecture, for what it is worth, is that Bunge’s work is not presented as the obvious alternative to the work of the philosophers who are in the public eye, and therefore it does not generate the public discussion it profitably might generate, because it is not clearly seen as constituting such an alternative. Now why is an alternative seen, yet not as an alternative? In order to answer this we need know what, in general, makes one view one alternative to the other. Tentatively, let me say, it is a question: two views are alternatives to each other when viewed as competing answers to a given question. We can now answer my question thus. Perhaps Bunge’s view is not publicly debated because it is not seen as an alternative to publicly debated views, because the question that might make, them competing is not obvious. The question, which can make Bunge’s view a competitor to publicly debated answers to it, to conclude my conjecture, is this. Under what conditions can two views be made competing by devising a question to which both views may be deemed answers, and when are these competing and when not? This question, I may note in passing, is a problem that I need to solve, however partially, in writing this essay, as well as the subject of the essay.

Keywords

Sine Alan Bete 

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Wettersten

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