The Place of Mario Bunge

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


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.


Scientific Theory Speech Community Contemporary Philosophy Rational Discussion Translation Rule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agassi, J .: 1968-69, ‘Changing Our Background Knowledge’, Review of Mario Bunge Scientific Research I, II, Synthese 19, 453–64.Google Scholar
  2. Agassi, J.: 1975, ‘Between Metaphysics and Methodology’, Poznań Studies 1, 1–8; reprinted in his Science and Society (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. 65 ), D. Reidel, Dordrecht, 1981.Google Scholar
  3. Bar-Hillel, Y.: 1964, Language and Information, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass.Google Scholar
  4. Bar-Hillel, Y.: 1970, Aspects of Language, Magnes Press, Jerusalem; North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  5. Bunge, M.: 1959, Metascientific Queries, Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, 111.Google Scholar
  6. Bunge, M.: 1967a, Scientific Research I, The Search for System, Springer, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Bunge, M.: 1967b, Scientific Research II, The Search for Truth, Springer, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Bunge, M.: 1967c, Foundations of Physics, Springer, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Bunge, M.: 1973, Method, Model and Matter, D. Reidel, Dordrecht, Holland, and Boston.Google Scholar
  10. Bunge, M.: 1974–79, Treatise on Basic Philosophy, vols. I-IV, D. Reidel, Dordrecht, Holland, and Boston. Semantics I, Sense and Reference, 1974. Semantics II, Interpretation and Truth, 1974. Ontology I, The Furniture of the World, 1977. Ontology II, A World of Systems, 1979.Google Scholar
  11. Bunge, M.: 1974, ‘The Concept of Social Structure’, in Developments in the Methodology of Social Science, W. Leinfellner and E Koehler (eds.), Reidel, Dordrecht and Boston, pp. 175–215.Google Scholar
  12. Bunge, M.: 1979, Causality, The Place of the Causal Principle in Modern Science, rev. ed., Dover Publ., New York.Google Scholar
  13. Collingwood, R. G. 1939, An Autobiography, Oxford University Press, London and New York.Google Scholar
  14. Collingwood, R. G.: 1940, An Essay on Metaphysics, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  15. Davidson, D., and J. Hintikka: 1969, Words and Objects, Essays on the Work of W. V. Quine, D. Reidel, Dordrecht, Holland.Google Scholar
  16. Donagan, A.: 1962, The Later Philosophy of R. G. Collingwood, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  17. Gellner, E.: 1973, ‘Thought and Time, or, the Reluctant Relativist’, Times Literary Supplement, 3708 (30 March 1973), 337–339; reprinted in his The Devil in Modern Philosophy, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, Boston, 1974.Google Scholar
  18. Gellner, E.: 1975, ‘The Last Pragmatist’, Times Literary Supplement, July 25.Google Scholar
  19. Popper, K .: 1947. ‘New Foundations for Logic’, Mind 56.Google Scholar
  20. Popper, K.: 1961, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Science Editions, New York.Google Scholar
  21. Quine, W. V. O.: 1953, From a Logical Point of View, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  22. Quine, W. V. O.: 1960, Word and Object, MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  23. Wettersten, J.: 1978a, ‘Traditional Rationality vs. a Tradition of Criticism, a Criticism of Popper’s Theory of the Objectivity of Science’, Erkenntnis 12 329–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wettersten, J.: 1978b, ‘Tasks without Purpose’, review of W. Leinfellner and E. Koehler, eds., Developments in the Methodology of Social Science, Phil, of Sci. 8 299–311.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Wettersten

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations