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Bachelard, Gaston


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


(1884–1962) French scientist, philosopher, and literary theorist. Among the most comprehensive and sophisticated French thinkers of the twentieth century, Bachelard first completed his studies in mathematics and physics and was especially influenced by the scientific thinking of Einstein and Heisenberg and their respective theories of relativity and indeterminacy. Immediately following his scientific studies, Bachelard began to explore philosophy as a necessary complement to the evolution of thought that he recognized occurring in contemporary science. He then commenced teaching at the University of Dijon (1930–40), where he lectured on mathematics and physics and pursued his scientific writings, which are best represented by his book The New Scientific Spirit (1934). Increasingly concerned with the philosophy of science, he was subsequently invited to the Sorbonne as professor of the history and philosophy of science (1940–54). By the time he went to Paris, he had already published 13 books and many articles focusing mainly on issues related to physics. Here began his rigorous investigations into the formation of scientific and humanistic knowledge, which, he argued, took place not simply by the accretion of facts, but rather by combat leading to conquest over conventional epistemological hindrances in perception, opinion, and reductive thinking that tended to become rigid or ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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