Foucault on Bachelard

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Bachelard and Philosophy of Education
James Marshall
University of Auckland

Gaston Bachelard was born 27 June 1884 at Bar-sur-Aube, Champaigne, where his parents owned a small paper and tabacconist shop. He received his secondary education in Bar-sur-Aube, and served in the first World War (including 38 months in the trenches and the award of Le Croix de Guerre). Essentially he was an outsider to the academy, for he had taught himself chemistry whilst working as a postman, before teaching in secondary colleges at Bar-sur-Aube. Studying slowly he was awarded his doctorate from the Sorbonne in 1927. It is clear that the achievements in particle physics had both excited and influenced him. He was to say: ‘one decade in our epoch is equal to centuries in earlier epochs’ (quoted in Lecourt, 1975, p.33). Having turned to philosophy of science, he was to teach for 10 years in the Faculté des Lettres de Dijon before becoming a Professor at the Sorbonne in 1940. In May 1960 he was made an Officier de la Legion d’Honneur and, dying on 16 October 1962, he was to be interred at his Bar-sur-Aube on 19 October.

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