Alexandre Koyré

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Alexandre Koyré ( Russian : Александр Владимирович Койра ; born August 29, 1892 in Taganrog , Russian Empire ; † April 28, 1964 in Paris ; actually Alexander Wladimirowitsch Kojra ) was a French philosopher and historian of science of Russian origin.


Koyré was a Russian of Jewish descent. His father was a wealthy businessman and oil investor. In Rostov-on-Don and later in Tbilisi , the son received a classical humanistic education, which made him familiar with ancient Greek, classical and medieval Latin. At the age of sixteen he went to Göttingen in 1908 to study mathematics and philosophy. Edmund Husserl and David Hilbert were among his teachers there . In 1911 he went to the Sorbonne in Paris , where he heard lectures by Henri Bergson , Victor Delbos (1862–1916), André Lalande (1867–1963) and Léon Brunschvicg , and began a dissertation.

As a Russian citizen, he took part in the First World War from 1914 , initially in the French army, after two years in a Russian regiment volunteers on the southwest front until it collapsed after the October Revolution . He returned to Paris in 1919, where he married Doris Rèybermann, who came from an emigrant family from Odessa.

In 1922 he acquired a diploma from the École Pratique des Hautes Études with a study on the idea of ​​God at Descartes and thus at the same time the license to teach at this university. In 1923 he also completed his dissertation on the idea of ​​God with Anselm of Canterbury and received his doctorate from the Sorbonne. In 1929 he completed his habilitation with a major study on Jakob Böhme . By studying mystical philosophy, Koyré gained an accurate knowledge of the history of astronomy . In 1934 he published the first commented translation of Nicolaus Copernicus' main work into French. From the mid-1930s Koyré turned under the influence of Émile Meyerson from theological studies and the history of science .

In the 1930s he was a colleague of Alexandre Kojève , who occasionally represented him in his Hegel lectures. In 1940 the methodologically important Études galiléennes appeared . Koyré wrote it while teaching in Cairo, from where he emigrated to New York in 1941 . There he was one of the founders of the École Libre des Hautes Études . He then often taught in the USA (including Harvard, Yale, Chicago) and in 1956 became a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton . Also in 1956 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . In 1958 he founded the Center de recherches d'histoire des sciences et des techniques in Paris (today Center A. Koyré ).

In 1961 Koyré was awarded the George Sarton Medal , the prize for the history of science of the History of Science Society (HSS) founded by George Sarton and Lawrence Joseph Henderson . He worked with I. Bernard Cohen on a critical edition of Newton's Principia , which appeared in 1972.

In his honor the Académie internationale d'histoire des sciences , of which he was temporarily secretary , awards the Koyré Medal .

Publications (selection)

  • Notes on the Zenonic Paradoxes. In: Yearbook for Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Vol. 5, 1922, ZDB -ID 217924-6 , pp. 603-628.
  • Essai sur l'idée de Dieu et les preuves de son existence chez Descartes (= Bibliothèque de l'École des Hautes Études. Section des Sciences Religieuses. Vol. 33, ZDB -ID 773725-7 ). Leroux, Paris 1922 (In German: Descartes und die Scholastik. Cohen, Bonn 1923. Translation: Edith Stein and Hedwig Conrad-Martius , new in ESGA vol. 25, Herder Verlag, Freiburg i.Br. 2005. ISBN 3-451 -27395-0 ).
  • L'idée de Dieu dans la philosophie de saint Anselme , Paris 1923 (Paris, Université de Paris, These de Doctorat, 1921).
  • La philosophie de Jacob Boehme. Études sur les origines de la Métaphysique allemande. Vrin, Paris 1929.
  • La philosophie et leproblem national en Russie au début du XIXe siècle (= Bibliothèque de l'Institut Français de Léningrad. Vol. 10, ZDB -ID 769988-8 ). Champion, Paris 1929.
  • Études galiléennes. 3 volumes. Hermann, Paris 1939;
    • Tape. 1: A l'Aube de la Science Classique (= Histoire de la pensée. Vol. 1, ZDB -ID 2204332-9 = Actualités Scientifiques et Industrielles. Vol. 852);
    • Volume 2: La Loi de la Chute des Corps. Descartes et Galilée (= Histoire de la pensée. Vol. 2 = Actualités Scientifiques et Industrielles. Vol. 853);
    • Volume 3: Galilée et la Loi d'Inertie (= Histoire de la pensée. Vol. 3 = Actualités Scientifiques et Industrielles. Vol. 854).
  • Entretiens sur Descartes. Brentano’s , New York 1944.
  • The political function of the modern lie. In: Contemporary Jewish Record. Vol. 8, No. 3, June 1945, ISSN  0363-6909 , pp. 290-291.
  • Introduction à la lecture de Plato. Brentano's, New York NY 1945 (in German: Pleasure at Platon (= Wagenbach's pocket library. Vol. 285). Wagenbach, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-8031-2285-6 ; and numerous other translations).
  • Mystiques, spirituels, alchimistes (du XVIe siècle allemand). Schwenckfeld, Séb. Franck, Weigel, Paracelse (= Cahiers des Annales. Vol. 10; ISSN  0755-1487 ). Colin, Paris 1955.
  • From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe (= Johns Hopkins University. Publications of the Institute of the History of Medicine . 3rd Series: The Hideyo Noguchi Lectures. Vol. 7, ZDB -ID 1014843-7 ). Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore MD 1957 (In German: From the closed world to the infinite universe. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1969).
  • Études d'histoire de la pensée philosophique (= Annales. Économies, Sociétés, Civilizations. Cahiers. Vol. 19, ISSN  0755-1487 ). Edited by René Taton . Colin, Paris 1961.
  • La révolution astronomique. Copernic, Kepler, Borelli (= École pratique des hautes études, Sorbonne. Histoire de la pensée. Vol. 3, ISSN  0073-2362 ). Hermann, Paris 1961. English edition: The astronomical revolution. Copernicus, Kepler, Borelli , Hermann / Methuen / Cornell University Press 1973
  • Newtonian Studies. Edited by I. Bernard Cohen . Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA 1965.
  • Metaphysics and Measurement. Essays in Scientific Revolution. Edited by MA Hoskin. Chapman & Hall, London 1968.
  • Reflections on the mensonge. Allia, Paris 1996, ISBN 2-911188-12-8 .
  • Leonardo, Galileo, Pascal. The beginnings of modern science (= Fischer 13776). Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1998, ISBN 3-596-13776-4 .


  • Søren Gosvig Olesen: Knowledge and Phenomenon. An investigation of the ontological clarification of the sciences with Edmund Husserl, Alexandre Koyré and Gaston Bachelard (= Epistemata. Series Philosophy. Vol. 209). Königshausen and Neumann, Würzburg 1997, ISBN 3-8260-1256-9 .
  • Joseph W. Dauben , Christoph J. Scriba (Ed.): Writing the history of mathematics. Its historical development (= Science networks, historical studies. Vol. 27). Birkhäuser, Basel a. a. 2002, ISBN 3-7643-6167-0 .
  • Jean-François Stoffel: Bibliography d'Alexandre Koyré (= Biblioteca di Nuncius. Volume 39). LS Olschki, Firenze 2000, ISBN 88-222-4914-3 .

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