Ernan McMullin 1924-2011

terça-feira, fevereiro 08, 2011

Ernan McMullin 1924-2011

A Sage and a Seer

The moment had finally come. Ernan McMullin senior sage of history and philosophy of science took his place at the podium and gazed out over the conference room. It was packed, with a row of people standing at the back and more sitting in the aisle. I sat back to listen to his charming Irish lilt and to watch those mischievous eyes that promised unexpected amusements.

It had taken well over a year to come to this moment. The idea has generated spontaneously in email two summers ago when a number of us all had the same thought. There really needs to be a conference in which the marriage of history and philosophy of science is celebrated. It would be a place where those of us who practice both in one paper need not apologize that now we are injecting some serious history or now some serious philosophy. The presumption would be that everyone in the room values both and appreciates the sensibilities and passions of both fields.

That thought had grown like a luxurious tropical creeper that each day grows larger than you expect. So it was with "&HPS." The committee grew unstoppably until we had 19 committee members from six countries. Our call for papers swamped us. These 19 had to select from more than 100 strong proposals to fill a program that could hold less that half that many. Then as the registrations flowed in, we knew that this event would need more space and more funds that we had planned.

We wanted just two invited speakers to anchor the ends of the conference. The first, we decided, should be Ernan McMullin. He would be our "Sage." Ernan had only reluctantly agreed to the honorific title and the commission. He was to speak of the past of history and philosophy of science, to remind us how we came to be where we are now. That he was perfectly positioned to do, for he had experienced that past first hand.



Ernan McMullin, um dos autores que contribuíram para o recente livro The Nature of Nature, faleceu hoje às 12:30 pm (5:30 pm horário da Irlanda), no Letterkenny General Hospital próximo de sua residência em Donegal.