His medical studies at the John Casimir University were interrupted by military service. He graduated in , when Lvov belonged to the reborn Poland. At the end of his studies he was an assistant of the famous typhus specialist Rudolf Weigl. In Fleck founded a private laboratory of medical analysis and was in charge of the Lvov Sick Fund and the bacteriological-chemical laboratories of the General Public Hospital. Although he was only loosely related with any academic environment at that time, Fleck conducted medical research, the results of which he published in about 40 papers, mostly in Polish and in German.
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His medical studies at the John Casimir University were interrupted by military service. He graduated in , when Lvov belonged to the reborn Poland. At the end of his studies he was an assistant of the famous typhus specialist Rudolf Weigl. In Fleck founded a private laboratory of medical analysis and was in charge of the Lvov Sick Fund and the bacteriological-chemical laboratories of the General Public Hospital.
Although he was only loosely related with any academic environment at that time, Fleck conducted medical research, the results of which he published in about 40 papers, mostly in Polish and in German. In March , Schlick replied and expressed his willingness to recommend it for publication under the condition that a specialist on the history of medicine would also review it positively.
When Lvov was incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in , Fleck had been appointed the head of the municipal laboratory of hygiene and bacteriology.
On June 30, , Lvov was captured by Germans. Anti-Jewish pogroms began, and Germans also started to murder university professors of Polish origin. Fleck and his wife survived, probably because Rudolf Weigl included him on the list of employees of the Lvov Institute of Research on Typhus and Viruses. In August , Germans resettled Fleck to the Lvov ghetto, where he developed and produced an anti-typhus vaccine from the urine of sick people.
He was then relocated with his family to the area of the pharmaceutical company Laokoon and tasked with producing an anti-typhus vaccine for German soldiers. Finally he and his wife and son were deported to the concentration camp in Auschwitz. In December Fleck was transferred to the concentration camp in Buchenwald.
There a group of prisoners—scientists and medical doctors of various nationalities—led by a scientifically illiterate German doctor produced an anti-typhus vaccine. The Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated in April One month later Fleck found his wife and son in Lvov, which once again belonged to the Soviet Union.
They hastily left for Poland, whose territory—by the decision of the Allies—was moved km to the west. In October Fleck became the head of the Institute of Medical Microbiology at that university, and he became a full professor in In he testified in the Nuremberg Trials of German doctors, who conducted criminal experiments on prisoners of concentration camps.
It was the chief subject of most of his roughly 80 medical papers which he published in those years, mostly in Polish, but also in English and French. In he became the director of the bacteriology and immunology laboratory of the Institute of Mother and Child in Warsaw. Fleck was honored with many high national distinctions; he had a company car at his disposal, and attended international conferences abroad. In he became a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. When Fleck emigrated with his wife to Israel in , where his only son had been living for many years, he was already very ill with cancer and heart problems.
Ludwik Fleck died on June 5, , of a second heart attack. Predecessors In his epistemological works, Fleck combined: 1 experience of a scientist; 2 reflections on the history of medicine; 3 philosophical ideas; and 4 sociological ideas. In the light of his own sociology and philosophy of science, one needs first to ask which thought collectives he belonged to and what thought styles he assimilated. Thus the group of mathematicians is a group of a very special, mathematical mentality. However, Fleck does not mention any of these scholars in his writings, even though they created the thought style and intellectual mood that, according to his views, were necessary for his sociology and philosophy of science to emerge.
In his writings Fleck makes a few critical remarks on conventionalists and logical empiricists; however, nothing really supports the claim that he knew their views well. Thus, we cannot include Fleck among any esoteric philosophical circles. In contrast, Fleck claims that scientific thinking is an object of sociological examination to the same extent as mythical thinking. She claims that the chief role in the development of his thought was played by the interdisciplinary journal Die Naturwissenschaften, where on the turn of the s and s scientists and philosophers carried out a philosophical debate about the relativistic and quantum revolution in physics.
Something else will be demanded from scientific solutions and different problems will be regarded as important. Much that has been proven will be found unproven, and much of what was never proven will turn out to be superfluous Fleck As Fleck—because of the lack of education in this area—could not write about physics, he found corresponding episodes in the history of medicine with which he illustrated theses circulating in the thought collective of physicists who were debating what was happening in their discipline.
Thought Collectives Immanuel Kant made us aware that while we learn about nature from experience, in order to do this we have to know something before experiencing anything. According to Kant, a priori synthetic knowledge is unchangeable and plays an active role in cognition: our picture of the world is formed as much by things in themselves as by our forms of perception and categories of thought, and we will never know whether and how that picture is similar to what exists independently of our cognitive acts.
So, before a mind starts to experience, and on the basis of experience starts to think, it has to be filled with some initial knowledge. But the quantum revolution in physics has shown that there is nothing necessary or unchangeable in a priori forms and categories. A non-Kantian explanation of the origins of cognitive a priori was badly needed.
According to Fleck, the basic phenomenon we have to accept in order to build the edifice of epistemology is the collective mental differentiation of men , II. People perceive and think differently, but those differences concern groups rather than individuals. So we speak of various ways of perceiving and thinking about stars and planets by astronomers, by astrologists, by theologians or by mystics. Those people understand each other very well within their groups: an astronomer understands another astronomer well, and an astrologist another astrologist; but between groups—like between an astrologist and an astronomer—there is usually no understanding.
Cognition is a collective activity. What to a stubborn metaphysician appears as necessary forms of thinking results from the social nature of cognition: A truly isolated investigator is impossible …. An isolated investigator without bias and tradition, without forces of mental society acting upon him, and without the effect of the evolution of that society, would be blind and thoughtless.
Thinking is a collective activity …. Its product is a certain picture, which is visible only to anybody who takes part in this social activity, or a thought which is also clear to the members of the collective only.
What we do think and how we do see depends on the thought-collective to which we belong b. A thought collective is defined by Fleck as a community of persons mutually exchanging ideas or maintaining intellectual interaction a, II.
It is easy to observe this phenomenon in everyday life. When a group of people speak about something important, they start to speak about things which would not cross their minds if they were alone and which they would not tell if they were in another group of people.
There arises a thought style characteristic for that group. There also arises a certain collective mood which straightens up the ties among the group members and inclines them to act in a certain way. Some collectives last shortly—even only as long as an individual conversation lasts. When social forces connecting people operate for a long time, there arise thought collectives lasting for many generations. They take forms of religious movements, folk traditions, art or science.
Long-lasting collectives create social institutions which enable and regulate the method by which next generations are added to a given collective: educational systems and social rituals accompanying the admission of new members.
All members of small ethnic groups belong to the same thought collective: everybody perceives and thinks in the same way, just like everybody performs the same or very similar actions. Within more developed societies there are many various collectives: religious, artistic, scientific, astrological, and those related to fashion, politics, economy, medicine, quack, sport, etc.
The corresponding exoteric circles for those groups are: lay believers; art-lovers; school teachers of physics, chemistry, and biology, and also engineers and all people interested in science. Exoteric circles have an access to a proper thought style only through esoteric circles—for example through listening to sermons given by priests, or reading popular literature written by scientists.
Members of exoteric circles trust the initiated. In contemporary societies almost everybody belongs to many thought collectives; e.
Most of people belong only to exoteric circles; only few become members of any esoteric circle, sporadically belonging to more than one. In other places he omits stragglers and introduces a distinction between professionals specialists sensu stricto and more general specialists , VI. The force which maintains the collective and unites its members is derived from the community of the collective mood. This mood produces the readiness for an identically directed perception, evaluation and use of what is perceived, i.
These are collective moods which induce members of collectives both to sacrifice themselves for others and to burn dissenters at stakes. They make scientists work for public enlightenment, and at the same time they arouse the feeling of disdain for astrologists or alchemists. Emotions have a social character; they are already hidden in a language employed by a collective. If the position of an elite is stronger than the position of the masses, the elite isolates itself and demands obedience from the masses.
Such collectives develop dogmatic styles of thinking in which a test of correctness is usually located in some distant past in a more or less mythical master or savior. Collective life acquires a ceremonial character and access to the esoteric circle is well-guarded. Conservatism reigns: there is no place for fundamentally new ideas, and one can only better or worse realize the revealed principles.
This is characteristic of most religious collectives. If the position of the masses is stronger than that of an elite—like in scientific collectives—the elite endeavors after trust and appreciation of the masses, pledging its commitment to serve common good. Everybody is encouraged to learn, and everybody who meets intellectual standards can become a member of the esoteric circle. In principle every man—not only an elite with special privileges—should be able to verify whether a statement is true, to repeat an experiment conducted by somebody else etc.
Here an unsolvable problem arises. General education, necessary for joining a scientific collective, is acquired in schools before maturing, and if this is not achieved an individual is practically doomed to remain outside the scientific collective. In science no transfers from the uneducated general public to the body of general specialists occur. Objective truth expressed clearly and precisely becomes an ideal.
Of course, this ideal is to be realized in some distant maybe even infinite future. However, even if a researcher herself is removed from the results of her work, a cult of scientific heroes and geniuses devoted to scientific service develops.
Part of a collective mood arises at the point of contact between esoteric and exoteric circles. On the one hand, members of exoteric circles usually trust professionals and they admire them. On the other hand esoteric circles act under pressure of expectations of the masses. When a certain domain lacks support from outside, it does not have significant achievements. Fleck here uses an analogy of sand carried by the wind. A rock sometimes hits its target and sometimes it does not, whereas sand carried by the wind unavoidably accumulates in hollows a, III.
So when some social pressure makes enough researchers work long enough on a certain issue and obtain sufficient material support, they finally arrive at more or less satisfying results. A condition of success is not the alleged truth of employed theories but the systematicity of research. Genesis and Development of a Thought Style and of Facts The democratically equal regard for everybody makes scientists write popular works to familiarize laypersons—as far as it is possible—with a current state of knowledge.
They use widely understood common language full of imprecise expressions and metaphors. Since popular texts cannot include complications which a professional meets every day in her work and because an author speaks to the public as an authority, such books and articles have a dogmatic character.
Ab , noch vor seiner Promotion zum Dr. Instytut Matki i Dziecka wurde. Nach einem Herzinfarkt und einer Krebsdiagnose Lymphosarkom emigrierte Fleck mit seiner Frau zum Sohn Ryszard, der bereits nach dem Krieg nach Israel ausgewandert war. Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache[ Bearbeiten Quelltext bearbeiten ] Fleck verband wissenschaftliches und philosophisches Denken, einzelwissenschaftliche Analyse und allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie. Er entwickelte in seinem Hauptwerk Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsache die Begriffe Denkstil und Denkkollektiv. Von besonderer Bedeutung sei die Unterscheidung zwischen einem esoterischen Kreis der Fachspezialisten und einem exoterischen Kreis der interessierten Laien.