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Gilles Campagnolo (CNRS Aix-Marseille): “The ‘young Popper’: before The Logic of Scientific Discovery.”

2 March 2020, 4:00 pm5:30 pm

Abstract: Karl Popper, born in 1902, lived and wrote his first texts in Vienna from 1925 to 1935, preceding Logik der Forschung (The Logic of Scientific Discovery) that would make him famous. His youth writings display the setting of this genesis (what the German language designates as a genre per se, an Entstehungsgeschichte). They help retrace the matrixes of new modes of learning and discovery of knowledge in the context of “Red Vienna” school reform, neo-psychological schools of thinkers like his mentor Karl Bühler and, albeit later, the Vienna Circle. Set upon the background of this often studied cosmopolitan and progressive milieu of the end-of-Empire and Interwar Vienna, Popper’s early texts surprisingly remained quite unknown even today. They were accessible only in German. As the translator, editor and commentator of the French version, I will show how the young Popper evolved in his environment, how he was an enthusiastic young thinker preoccupied with social reform, the relationship between pupils and school-masters (as he himself practiced as one of them), the process of memorizing and how to cope with ideas like nation/homeland (one text is about Heimatgedanke) or “rule-learning” through personal experience. The Press of the École Normale Supérieure rue d’Ulm (Paris) thus offered the last stage of publishing Popper’s Works into French and, in my Postface, I strove to set Popper in his original setting and true mindset.


Educated at Paris Ecole “Normale Sup”, Harvard and Tokyo Universities, Gilles Campagnolo explores economic philosophy and the sources of liberalism in a comparatist perspective, notably through archives. A full Research Professor at the French Center for Scientific Research/ Aix-Marseilles School of Economics, he explores liberal values and economic development heading an International Research Network on “Justice and Interest” with 8 institutions from all over Europe (including LSE CPNSS). He is known as a specialist of the Austrian school of economics (translating Carl Menger into French) and the fundamentals of Austrian ideas (Karl Popper and Friedrich Hayek in particular) in a comparatist perspective. He last edited the Youth Writings of Karl Popper heretofore available only in the original German.


2 March 2020
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
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