8 July 1921
|Alma mater||University of Paris|
|La méthode (1977–2004, 6 vols.)|
|Institutions||CNRS, École des hautes études en sciences sociales(EHESS)|
|Complex thought Chaosmos|
Criticism of structuralism
Criticism of Ludwig von Bertalanffy's systems theory autos (auto-(geno-pheno)-eco-re-organization)
Edgar Morin (//; French: [mɔʁɛ̃]; born Edgar Nahoum on 8 July 1921) is a French philosopher and sociologist who has been internationally recognized for his work on complexity and "complex thought" (pensée complexe), and for his scholarly contributions to such diverse fields as media studies, politics, sociology, visual anthropology, ecology, education, and systems biology. He holds degrees in history, economics, and law. Though less well known in the anglophone world due to the limited availability of English translations of his over 60 books, Morin is renowned in the French-speaking world, Europe, and Latin America.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Morin's family migrated from the Ottoman city of Salonica (Thessaloniki) to Marseille and later to Paris, where Edgar was born. He is of Judeo-Spanish (Sefardi) origin.
When the Germans invaded France in 1940, Morin assisted refugees and joined the French Resistance. As a member of the French Resistance he adopted the pseudonym Morin, which he would use for the rest of his life. He joined the French Communist Party in 1941.
In 1945, Morin married Violette Chapellaubeau and they lived in Landau, where he served as a lieutenant in the French Occupation army in Germany.
In 1946, he returned to Paris and gave up his military career to pursue his activities with the Communist Party. Due to his critical posture, his relationship with the party gradually deteriorated until he was expelled in 1951 after he published an article in L'Observateur politique, économique et littéraire. In the same year, he was admitted to the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS).
Morin founded and directed the magazine Arguments(1954–1962). In 1959 his book Autocritique was published. The book was a sustained reflection on his adherence to, and subsequent exit from, the Communist Party, focusing on the dangers of ideology and self-deception.
In 1960, Morin travelled extensively in Latin America, visiting Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Mexico. He returned to France, where he published L'Esprit du Temps, a work on popular culture.
That same year, French sociologist Georges Friedmann brought him and Roland Barthes together to create a Centre for the Study of Mass Communication that, after several name changes, became the Edgar Morin Centre of the EHESS, Paris.
Also in 1960 Morin and Jean Rouch coauthored the film Chronique d'un été, an early example of cinéma vérité and direct cinema.
Beginning in 1965, Morin became involved in a large multidisciplinary project, financed by the Délégation Générale à la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique in Plozévet.
In 1968, Morin replaced the incumbent professor of philosophy, Henri Lefebvre, at the University of Nanterre. He became involved in the student revolts that began to emerge in France. In May 1968 he wrote a series of articles for Le Monde that tried to understand what he called "The Student Commune." He followed the student revolt closely and wrote a second series of articles in Le Monde called "The Revolution without a Face," as well as coauthoring Mai 68: La brèche with Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort.
In 1969, Morin spent a year at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Jonas Salk invited him under the recommendation of Jacques Monod and John Hunt, with the sole imposed condition of learning. It was there, in this "breeding ground for Nobel Prizes" that he familiarized himself with systems theory. He read Henri Laborit, James Watson, Stéphane Lupasco, Bronowski, and was introduced to the thought of Gregory Bateson and the "new problematic in ecology".
In 1983 he published De la nature de l’URSS, which deepened his analysis of Soviet communism and anticipated the perestroika of Mikhail Gorbachev.
In 2002 Morin participated in the creation of the International Ethical, Scientific and Political Collegium. Also that year, he made a trip to Iran with Dariush Shayegan.
Following a meeting at a music festival in Fez, Morocco, in 2009, Morin became close with sociology professor Sabah Abouessalam. The couple married in 2012. He collaborated with her on the text, L'homme est faible devant la femme (Presses de la Renaissance, 2013), and in 2020 on Changeons de voie - Les leçons du coronavirus (Denoël, 2020).
In addition to being the UNESCO Chair of Complex Thought, Morin is known as a founder of transdisciplinarity and holds honorary doctorates in a variety of social science fields from 21 universities (Messina, Geneva, Milan, Bergamo, Thessaloniki, La Paz, Odense, Perugia, Cosenza, Palermo, Nuevo León, Université de Laval à Québec, Brussels, Barcelona, Guadalajara, Valencia, Vera Cruz, Santiago, the Catholic University of Porto Alegre, the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, and Candido Mendes University (Rio de Janeiro)).
The University of Messina in Sicily, Ricardo Palma University in Lima, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the French National Research Center in Paris, have established research centers based on his transdisciplinary methods and philosophy. In addition, the Multiversidad Mundo Real Edgar Morin, a university based on his work, was established in Mexico. Morin did not embrace the French postmodern or poststructuralist movements, instead pursuing his own research agenda. As a result, US academics did not transport his theories into disciplinary discourses in same fashion as they did Foucault's and Derrida's. Morin's work spans scholarly and popular literature, and he has appeared on the cover of multiple publications including Sciences Humaines and a special issue of Le Monde.
According to Alfonso Montuori in "Edgar Morin: A partial introduction"
"The 6 volume Method is perhaps Morin’s culminating work, a remarkable and seemingly inexhaustible treasure trove of insights, reflection, and a real manual for those who are interested in broadening the nature of human inquiry. Drawing on cybernetics, information theory, systems theory, but also integrating all the work he has done before, from the work on imagination in his research on movies to his profound reflections on death, Method integrates Morin’s journey and provides the reader with an alternative to the traditional assumptions and method of inquiry of our time."
|France||Grand officier of the Legion of Honour|
|France||Grand officier of the National Order of Merit|
|France||Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres|
|Portugal||Gran Croce of the Military Order of Saint James of the Sword|
|Morocco||Commander of the Order of Intellectual Merit|
|Spain||Officier of the Order of Civil Merit|