William Warren Bartley

William Warren Bartley

Infobox Celebrity
name = William Warren Bartley, III

imagesize = 120px
caption = William Warren Bartley, III
birth_date = birth date|1934|10|2|mf=y
birth_place = Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania,
United States
death_date = death date|1990|2|5|mf=y
death_place = Oakland, California,
United States
occupation = Philosopher
Member, Advisory Board,
Est, an educational corporation
spouse =
children =
website =
footnotes =

William Warren Bartley, III, (1934–1990) was an American Professor of Philosophy, a Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University and an author.


Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1934, Bartley was brought up in a Protestant Christian home. He completed his secondary education in Pittsburgh. He studied at Harvard University between 1952 and 1956 and graduated with a BA degree in philosophy.Mariano Artigas: "The Ethical Nature of Karl Popper's Theory of Knowledge" (1999)] rp|18 He spent the winter semester of 1956 and the summer semester of 1957 at the Harvard Divinity School and the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1958, he completed his MA degree in philosophy at Harvard. Bartley was training to become a Protestant minister, but rejected Christianity at that point.rp|44f He went on to study at the London School of Economics under Sir Karl Popper, where he completed his PhD in 1962. Parts of his disseration, "Limits of Rationality: A critical Study of Some Logical Problems of Contemporary Pragmatism and Related Movements", were subsequently published at "The Retreat to Commitment" in the same year.

Bartley and Popper had a great admiration for each other, driven by their common stand against justificationism, a view which Popper fought at the British Academy's Annual Philosophical Lecture in 1960 for the first time. [Karl R. Popper: On the Sources of Knowledge and of Ignorance. "Proceedings of the British Academy" 46 (1960), p. 39–71, reprinted in "Conjectures and Refutations".] However, at the International Colloquium in the Philosophy of Science at Bedford College, University of London, 11–17 July 1965, they came into a conflict with each other. Bartley had presented a paper 'Theories of demarcation between science and metaphysics' and had attacked Popper in it sharply. He accused Popper of a positivist attitude in his early works and proposed that Popper's demarcation criterion was not as important as Popper thought. Popper took this as a personal attack, and Bartley took his reply as ignorant towards his criticism.rp|81f Their friendship was not restored until 1974, after the publication of "The Philosophy of Karl Popper".rp|87 Bartley toned down his views on Popper's demarcation, however, as regards content of these views, the differences remained.rp|First Part [Kiichi Tachibana: [http://www.law.keio.ac.jp/~popper/v5n1tachibana.html Mails exchanged between Prof. Tachibana and Prof. Agassi On the Kyoto Prize Workshop] . "Popper Letters" 5:1 (November 17, 1992)]

After his doctoral graduation, Bartley worked as a lecturer in logic in London. Later, he held positions at the Warburg Institute and the University of California, San Diego. [David Miller: Bartley. "Critical Rationalism" (1994), p. 75] He was appointed to his first full professorship in 1969, at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1970 he joined the California State University, Hayward faculty as a Professor of Philosophy, where he received in the same year the distinction of “Outstanding Professor” of the entire California State University System. His last position was that of a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.Gerard Radnitzky: [http://www.law.keio.ac.jp/~popper/v2n1radnitzky2.html William W. Bartley III (1934-1990)] . "Popper Letters" 2:1 (1990)] Bartley died of cancer on February 5, 1990 at his home in Oakland, California, after having been diagnosed with the disease in the middle of the preceding year. [Stephen Kresge: [http://www.law.keio.ac.jp/~popper/v2n1kresge.html On the Passing of W. W. Bartley III] . "Popper Letters" 2:1 (1990)]

Author and Editor

Bartley published a biography of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, titled simply "Wittgenstein", in 1973. [William Warren Bartley III, "Wittgenstein," Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1973.] The book contained a relatively brief, 4–5 page treatment of Wittgenstein's homosexuality, relying mainly on reportage from the philosopher's friends and acquaintances. This matter caused enormous controversy in intellectual and philosophical circles; many perceived it as a posthumous "attack" on Wittgenstein. Some foreign editions of the book, like the Spanish, were printed with the "offending" material excised. [Bartley treats the criticisms and related matters in the second edition of the biography: "Wittgenstein", La Salle, Illinois, Open Court, 1985; pp. 159-97.] In a second edition of the biography, Bartley answered the objections of critics, pointing out that Wittgenstein's period of active homosexuality is verified by the philosopher's own private writings, included his coded diaries; extensive confirmation was also available from people who knew Wittgenstein in the period between the two World Wars in Vienna, including ex-lovers. Bartley also considers, and rejects, the idea of a connection between the private life and the philosophy.

Bartley wrote a best-selling biography [Bartley, William Warren, "Werner Erhard The Transformation of a Man": "The Founding of EST", Clarkson Potter, 1988. ISBN 0-517-53502-5] of Werner Erhard, the founder of est. Bartley was graduate of Erhard Seminars Training, from 1972. Werner Erhard refers to Bartley in the book as "My friend Bill". William Bartley served on the advisory board of Est, an educational company.

Bartley edited Lewis Carroll's book "Symbolic Logic" (see symbolic logic), including the second volume, which Carroll had never published.

Bartley is perhaps best known today for his work in extending Popperian epistemology, discussed in his book "The Retreat to Commitment". In it, he describes Pancritical rationalism (PCR), a development of critical rationalism and panrationalism. PCR attempts to work around the problem of ultimate commitment or infinite regress by decoupling criticism and justification. A pancritical rationalist holds all positions open to criticism, including PCR, and never resorts to authority for justification.

Parts of Popper's "Realism and the Aim of Science", a book which Bartley edited, and the Addendum to the fourth edition to "The Open Society and its Enemies" contain passages that are commonly interpreted as Popper's acceptance of Bartley's views. Mariano Artigas held that these were in fact written by Bartley himself.rp|23–25, 96 Alan Ebenstein, a biographer of F. A. von Hayek, criticized Bartley for the extent of the changes he did as the editor of "The Fatal Conceit". [Alan Ebenstein: [http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2005_03/ebenstein-deceit.html Investigation: The Fatal Deceit] . "Liberty" 19:3 (March 2005)]

At the time of his death, Bartley had just finished his last book, "Unfathomed Knowledge, Unmeasured Wealth: On Universities and the Wealth of Nations". Other works he was preparing at that time included writing a biography, and editing the collected works, of Friedrich Hayek. The latter is still being completed after Bartley's death by his colleagues. Also unfinished is a biography of Karl R. Popper. Both biographies were already in an advanced stage at the time of Bartley's death.



*"The Retreat to Commitment", 1962
*"Morality and Religion", 1971
*"Lewis Carroll's Symbolic Logic", 1977
*"Wittgenstein," 1973, 1985
*"Ludwig Wittgenstein e Karl Popper: maestri di scuola elementare," 1976
*"Come demarcare la scienza della metafisica", 1983
*"", 1988
*"Unfathomed Knowledge, Unmeasured Wealth", 1990
*"Karl Popper: A Life," unpublished

External links

* [http://www.kli.ac.at/theorylab/AuthPage/B/BartleyWW.html KLI Theory Lab — Authors] , William Warren Bartley III (1934-1990)
* [http://clublet.com/c/c/why?Bartley clublet.com] , "Often referred to on Why simply as Bartley."
* [http://www.the-rathouse.com/aboutphilos.html about the philosophers] , Bill Bartley (1934-1990)
* [http://www.the-rathouse.com/writingsonbartley.html writings on w.w. bartley]
* [http://www.the-rathouse.com/bartunfathom.html bio at Review] , "Unfathomed Knowledge"
* [http://www.maxmore.com/pcr.htm Pancritical Rationalism: An Extropic Metacontext for Memetic Progress]

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