Mario Bunge 1919 – 2020

Mario Augusto Bunge passed away. He died on 24 February 2020 at an age of 100 years old. He was born in Buenos Aires, studied physics at the National University of La Plata, became Professor for Theoretical Physics in La Plata and later in Buenos Aires, and since 1966 he was Professor for Logics and Metaphysics at the McGill University in Montreal, Québec, where he retired when 90 years old. 

However, he did not stop to be active after that. In 2014, Wolfgang Hofkirchner, when President of the Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science, invited him to Vienna to hold a lecture* and receive the Ludwig von Bertalanffy Award for Complexity Thinking – the laudation** was given by Rainer E. Zimmermann –, to hold another lecture*** at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) with Director Caslav Brukner as well as Anton Zeilinger and a third lecture° at the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI) with Head Robert Trappl, then President of the International Academy of Systems and Cybernetic Sciences (IASCYS), and to meet other academicians, among them Gerhard Banse, then President of the Leibniz-Sozietät der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. The last paper Bunge shared with us was a 120 pages manuscript submitted in 2018 to Foundations of Science with the title “Inverse Problems”°°. 

Bunge’s scientific positions are realistic (materialistic) as to ontology, close to what is known under the term Critical Realism, and have been called Emergentist Systemism°°°, and they repudiate any kind of reductionism like mathematisation, mechanism, informationism, geneticism, and economism as to epistemology/methodology. While the underlying philosophy of pseudoscience is made up of a pentagon of irrationalism, subjectivism, spiritualism, anti-systemism, and commercialism, says Bunge^, scientific progress needs to be committed to scientism, realism, materialism, systemism, and humanism.

Those positions had become a crucial factor for the decision to build up our new institute and they will be constant companions of our research. Bunge joined the Advisory Committee of The Institute for a Global Sustainable Information Society in February 2019. We are grateful to have been able to work with him. 

* Mario Bunge | Big questions come in bundles, hence they should be tackled systemically | abstract | video 

** Rainer E. Zimmermann | Laudatio: Mario Bunge | pdf 

*** Mario Bunge | Does the Aharonov-Bohm effect occur? | abstract | video 

° Mario Bunge | The sciences and philosophies of mind | video 

°° Vol. 24, 483-525 (2019). The manuscript is available on request. 

°°° Poe Yu-ze Wan: Reframing the Social: Emergentist Systemism and Social Theory. Ashgate, Aldershot 2011.

^ Mario Bunge: Evaluating Philosophies. Springer, Dordrecht 2012.

(Photo: Marta Bunge)


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