Morin, Edgar

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MORIN, EDGAR (1921– ), sociologist and one of France's leading contemporary thinkers. He was born in Paris to a family of Salonikan origin. His parents were Vidal and Luna Nahum. He adopted the name "Morin" during the period of his clandestine activities in the French Resistance during World War ii. Formerly an active member of the Communist Party, he published his Autocritique in 1959. An emeritus researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (cnrs), Morin introduced the notion of inter-disciplinarity in his work, from his first book, L'an zéro de l'Allemagne (1946) until his last, La violence du monde, published with Jean Baudrillard (2003)). His interests covered an extensive range of themes, from cinema to modern biology, regardless of the current disciplinary boundaries. He became internationally famous – especially in Latin America – by attaching his name to the age of complexity. He was president of the European Agency for Culture (unesco), president of the Association for Complex Thought (apc), and a member of the council of the International Center for Transdisciplinary Research and Studies (cetsap). His major work, on which he worked for over 20 years (1977–91), is the monumental six-volume series in which he aimed at reforming our way of thinking: La méthode – (1) la nature de la nature, 1981; (2) La vie de la vie, 1985; (3) La connaissance de la connaissance, 1986; (4) Les idées, leur habitat, leur vie, leurs moeurs, leur organisation, 1991; (5) L'humanité de l'humanité: L'Identité humaine, 2001; (6) Éthique, 2004. He also published his intellectual biography, Mes démons (1998). Several of his books were translated into English: The Stars (1960), The Red and the White: Report from a French Village (1970), Method: Towards a Study of Mankind – The Nature of Nature (1992), Homeland Earth (1998), Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future (1999), Concept of Europe (2006).

Acknowledging his Jewishness, he published his family's biography, Vidal et les siens (1989), and contributed a preface to Henry Méchoulan's Les Juifs d'Espagne: histoire d'une diaspora: 1492–1992 (1992). Most of the following have been translated into Chinese, English, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish: Rumour in Orleans (1971); Human Race, Preceded by an Homage to Robert Antelme (1992); Homeland Earth: A Manifesto for the New Millennium (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity and the Human Sciences) (1998).


M. Kofman, E. Morin, From Big Brother to Fraternity (1996); R. Barbier, c. 2, "Morin et la connaissance,"in: L'Approche Transversale. L'écoute sensible en sciences humaines (1997); J.B. Fages, Comprendre Edgar Morin (Pensée) (1988), F. Bianchi, Le Fil des idées: Une éco-biographie intellectuelle d'Edgar Morin (2001); R. Fortin, Comprendre la complexité. introduction à "La Méthode" d'Edgar Morin (2002).

[Sylvie-Anne Goldberg (2nd ed.)]