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Edgar Morin is a Frenchmarker philosopher and sociologist who was born in Parismarker on July 8, 1921 under the original name Edgar Nahoum. He is of Judeo-Spanish (Sefardi) origin. He is known for the transdisciplinarity of his works, in that he covers a wide range of interests and dismisses the conventional boundaries between academic disciplines.

Biography

At the beginning of the 20th century, Morin's family migrated from the Greek town of Salonica (then part of the Ottoman Empire) to Marseillemarker and later to Parismarker, where Edgar was born. As a boy, he enjoyed reading, cinema, aviation and cycling. He began his work in philosophy with a study of diverse types of illustration of the 17th century. He first became tied to socialism in connection with the Popular Front and the Spanish Republican Government during the Spanish Civil War. When the Germans invaded France in 1940, young Edgar fled to Toulousemarker, where he assisted refugees and committed himself to Marxist socialism. As a member of the French Resistance he adopted the pseudonym Morin, which he would use for the rest of his life. He joined the Communist Party in 1941, when the Party was being persecuted by the Gestapomarker. He participated in the liberation of Paris in August 1944. The following year, Morin married Violette Chapellaubeau and they lived in Landaumarker, where he served as a Lieutenant in the French Occupation army in Germany.

In 1946, he returned to Paris and gave up his military career to pursue his activities with the Communist party. Due to his critical posture, his relationship with the party gradually deteriorated until he was expelled in 1951 after he published an article in Le Nouvel Observateur (then known as France-observateur). In the same year, he was admitted to the National Center of Scientific Investigation (CNRS) on the recommendation of several intellectuals.

On joining the CNRS, Morin entered the field of social anthropology in the area of cinematography, exploring surrealism, though he still had not abandoned socialism. He shared ideas with Franco Fortini, Roberto Guiducci, Herbert Marcuse, and other philosophers. He founded and directed the magazine Arguments (1954-1962). During the same period he was active in protesting the French involvement in the Algerian War of Independence. In 1959 his book Autocritique was published.

In 1960, Morin travelled extensively in Latin America, visiting Brazilmarker, Chilemarker, Boliviamarker, Perumarker and Mexicomarker. The indigenous and Afro-Brazilian cultures made a strong impression on him. He returned to France where he published L'Esprit du Temps.

That same year, French sociologist Georges Friedmann brought him and Roland Barthes together to create the CECMAS (Centre for the Study of Mass Communication) that, after several name-changes, was to be become the Edgar Morin Centremarker of the EHESSmarker, Paris.

Beginning in 1965, Morin became involved in a large multidisciplinary project, financed by the Délégation Générale à la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (DGRST) in Plozevet. He spent 1965 doing investigation (along with his collaboraters) while living in a rustic cabin in Poulhan. Two years later, when the results were released, Morin was labeled a heretic by the DGRST due to the transdisciplinary nature of the work. This contributed to his increasing aversion to the academic world of Paris, and he spent more and more time working outside the city.

In 1968, Morin replaced Henri Lefebvre at the University of Nanterre. He became involved in the student revolts that began to emerge in France. In May 1968, he wrote a series of articles for Le Monde that tried to understand what he called "The Student Commune." He followed the student revolt closely and wrote a second series of articles in Le Monde called "The Revolution without a Face," as well as co-authoring Mai 68: La brèche with Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort.

In 1969, Morin spent a year at the Salk Institute for Biological Studiesmarker in La Jollamarker, California. While at the institute, he became familiar with the revolution in genetics initiated by the discovery of DNA, which contributed to his views on cybernetics, information theory and a theory of systems.

In 1983, he published De la nature de l’URSS, which deepened his analysis of Soviet communism and anticipated the Perestroika of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Morin was married to Johanne Harrelle, with whom he lived for 15 years.

In 2002, Morin participated in the creation of the International Ethical, Scientific and Political Collegium.

Philosophical development

Morin's epistemological work can be seen as "revolutionary" because of his attempt to reconsider the relation-triangle: ideology-politics-science through what he calls "complexity". The "complex" being here not the opposite of simple but a "method" which "respects the mystery" of the universe knowing that "the simple is just, always, something simplified" by someone.This titanic effort can be discovered in his six volume masterwork La Méthode, not merely a scientific project but also a complex message from the heart of the 20th century.

According to Alfonso Montuori (in "Edgar Morin: A partial introduction", see below) "The 5 volume Method is perhaps Morin’s culminating work, a remarkable and seemingly inexhaustible treasure trove of insights, reflection, and a real manual for those who are interested in broadening the nature of human inquiry. Drawing on cybernetics, information theory, systems theory, but also integrating all the work he has done before, from the work on imagination in his research on movies to his profound reflections on death, Method integrates Morin’s journey and provides the reader with an alternative to the traditional assumptions and method of inquiry of our time.".

Literary Work

Books

  • 1951, L’Homme et la mort
  • 1956, Le cinema ou l'homme imaginaire
  • 1957, Les Stars
  • 1969, La Rumeur d’Orléans
  • La Méthode (6 volumes)
    • 1977, La Nature de la nature
    • 1980, La Vie de la vie
    • 1986, La Connaissance de la connaissance
    • 1991, Les Idées
    • 2001, L’Humanité de l’humanité
    • 2004, L'Éthique complexe
  • 1970, Journal de Californie
  • 1973, Le paradigme perdu: la nature humaine
  • 1981, Pour sortir du siècle XX
  • 1982, Science avec conscience
  • 1983, De la nature de l’URSS
  • 1988, Penser L'Europe
  • 1990, Introduction à la pensée complexe
  • 1993, Terre-patrie
  • 1994, Mes démons
  • 1994, La Complexité humaine
  • 1997, Comprendre la complexité dans les organisations de soins
  • 1999, L’Intelligence de la complexité
  • 1999, Relier les connaissances
  • 1999, La Tête bien faite
  • 2000, Les Sept savoirs nécessaires à l'éducation du futur
  • 2001, Journal de Plozévet, Bretagne
  • 2002, Pour une politique de civilisation
  • 2002, Dialogue sur la connaissance. Entretiens avec des lycéens
  • 2003, La Violence du monde
  • 2003, Éduquer pour l’ère planétaire, la pensée complexe comme méthode d’apprentissage dans l’erreur et l’incertitude humaine
  • 2003, Les Enfants du ciel: entre vide, lumière, matière
  • 2004, Pour Entrer dans le siècle XXI
  • 2006, Le Monde Moderne et La Question Juive
  • 2007, Vers l'abîme ?
  • 2007, Où va le monde ?


Articles

  • “The Noise and the Message”. Telos 33 (Fall 1977). New York: Telos Press.


Conferences



See also



References



External links




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