Peter Finke

Peter Finke

Peter Finke

Title:

Linguistics at the End of Bacon’s Age

Biography:

Having studied in Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Oxford, Peter Finke (born 1942) became Professor of Philosophy of Science at the Faculty of Linguistics, Bielefeld University (Germany). In 2004 he was awarded an honorary doctorate at the Hungarian Lajos Kossuth University of Debrecen. Later, in protest against European science policy, Finke voluntarily gave up his chair before reaching retirement age.

In the 1970s, Finke was one of the first researchers to develop a consistent theoretical foundation for linguistics based on an ecosystemic view. As a theorist of culture, Finke follows the broad tenets of Gregory Bateson’s “Ecology of Mind”. More recently, Finke’s extensive experience with the research of amateurs and laymen in the fields of history, nature, and economics has made him into an internationally recognized authority in citizen science (cf his book, Citizen Science: Das unterschätzte Wissen der Laien, Oekom Verlag 2014).

Writing in the spirit of Paul Feyerabend and Joseph Weizenbaum, Finke is a sharp critic of how contemporary scientific practices and policies destroy the evolutionary benefits of natural and cultural diversity; their loss, he argues, necessitates profound changes in scientific culture. To achieve this, it is inevitable to use the epistemological potential of all natural languages. This is because free non-professional science exhibits the failure of the current scientific world view much more clearly than the dependant and institution-bound activities of professional science.