Mary Hesse

Mary Brenda Hesse (15 October 1924 – 2 October 2016) was an English philosopher of science, latterly a professor in the subject at the University of Cambridge.[1][2][3].


Mary Hesse was born in Reigate, Surrey, to Ethelbert (Bertie) Thomas Hesse and Brenda Hesse (née Pelling)[1]. From 1949, she studied at Imperial College London, where she received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1945, followed by a PhD in electron microscopy in 1948[1]. She further acquired a master's degree in 1949 from University College London[1]. Hesse lectured on mathematics at Royal Holloway College from 1947 to 1951, and at the University of Leeds from 1951 to 1955[2]. From 1955 to 1959 she taught philosophy and history of science at the University of London[1][2] (this being the subject of her 1949 UCL master's degree[1]). In 1960 she was appointed to a lectureship in the same subject at the University of Cambridge, and in 1968 to a readership[2]. Hesse was a Fellow of Wolfson College from its beginning in 1965, and served as its Vice-President from 1976 to 1980[4]. From 1975 until her early retirement in 1985, she remained at Cambridge as Professor of Philosophy of Science[2][1]. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1971,[2] as president of the Philosophy of Science Association in 1979,[5] and awarded a Cambridge honorary ScD in 2002.[2]


Hesse's work has focused on the philosophical interpretation of logic and scientific methods, as well as to the principles of the natural and social sciences. She suggested a scientific methodology based on an analogical modelling approach. She distinguishes those models in formal and material, as well as positive, negative and neutral analog properties.

Models and Analogies in Science

Her publication Models and Analogies in Science is a widely cited and accessible introduction to the topic. Hesse argues, contra Duhem, that models and analogies are integral to understanding scientific practice in general and scientific advancement in particular, especially how the domain of a scientific theory is extended and how theories generate genuinely novel predictions. Examples of such models include the famous billiard ball model of the dynamical theory of gases and models of light based on analogies to sound and water waves.

Hesse thought that, in order help us understand a new system or phenomenon, we will often create an analogical model that compares this new system or phenomenon with a more familiar system or phenomenon. In her book, Hesse makes a distinction between three types of analogues in scientific models:

  • Positive analogies,
  • Negative analogies, and
  • Neutral analogies.

Positive analogies are those features which are known or thought to be shared by both systems, negative analogies are those features which are known or thought to be present in one system but absent in the other, and neutral analogies are those features whose status as positive or negative analogies is uncertain at present.

Neutral analogies are by far the most interesting of the three types of analogies, for they suggest ways to test the limits of our models, guiding the way for scientific advancement. In the late 19th century, for example, the idea that light-waves have a physical medium called the luminiferous ether would have been best thought of as a neutral analogy with water and sound waves. Eventually, due to a null result in the Michelson–Morley and Trouton–Noble experiments, as well as other similar experiments, this analogy came to be accepted as a negative analogy - we now accept that light has no physical medium, unlike sound and water waves. The discovery of this negative analogy led to further advances, including the unification of electromagnetic theory with optics, and the eventual creation of new and more informative models of light.


Books, a selection:

  • 1954. Science and the Human Imagination: Aspects of the History and Logic of Physical Science; London, England: SCM Press
  • 1961. Forces and Fields: A Study of Action at a Distance in the History of Physics; London, England: Thomas Nelson and Sons
  • 1963. Models and Analogies in Science; London, England: Sheed and Ward
  • 1966. Models and Analogies in Science, revised ed.; Notre Dame, Indiana: Notre Dame University Press
  • 1974. The Structure of Scientific Inference; London, England: Macmillan, and Berkeley, California: University of California Press
  • 1980. Revolutions and Reconstructions in the Philosophy of Science; Brighton, England: The Harvester Press, and Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press
  • 1986. Michael A. Arbib and Mary B. Hesse, The Construction of Reality; Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Mary Hesse". The Times. 2016-12-31. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Professor Mary Hesse (1924–2016) | HPS". Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  3. ^ Hallberg, Margareta (2017-06-01). "Revolutions and Reconstructions in the Philosophy of Science: Mary Hesse (1924–2016)". Journal for General Philosophy of Science. 48 (2): 161–171. doi:10.1007/s10838-017-9364-1. ISSN 1572-8587.
  4. ^ "Professor Mary Hesse | Wolfson College Cambridge". 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  5. ^ "Mary Brenda Hesse". The Gifford Lectures. 2014-08-18. Retrieved 2019-03-19.

External links

2016 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 2016 in the United Kingdom.

Arnold Thackray

Arnold Thackray (born 30 July 1939) is a science historian who is the founding president of the Chemical Heritage Foundation (now the Science History Institute). He is an emeritus professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Attachment in children

Attachment in children is "a biological instinct in which proximity to an attachment figure is sought when the child senses or perceives threat or discomfort. Attachment behaviour anticipates a response by the attachment figure which will remove threat or discomfort". Attachment also describes the function of availability, which is the degree to which the authoritative figure is responsive to the child's needs and shares communication with them. Childhood attachment can define characteristics that will shape the child's sense of self, their forms of emotion-regulation, and how they carry out relationships with others. Attachment is found in all mammals to some degree, especially nonhuman primates.

Attachment theory has led to a new understanding of child development. Children develop different patterns of attachment based on experiences and interactions with their caregivers at a young age. Four different attachment classifications have been identified in children: secure attachment, anxious-ambivalent attachment, anxious-avoidant attachment, and disorganized attachment. Attachment theory has become the dominant theory used today in the study of infant and toddler behavior and in the fields of infant mental health, treatment of children, and related fields.

Attachment theory

Attachment theory is a psychological model attempting to describe the dynamics of long-term and short-term interpersonal relationships between humans. "Attachment theory is not formulated as a general theory of relationships; it addresses only a specific facet": how human beings respond in relationships when hurt, separated from loved ones, or perceiving a threat.Provided any caregiver, all infants become attached—however, individual differences in the quality of the relationships remain significant.

In infants, attachment as a motivational and behavioral system directs the child to seek proximity with a familiar caregiver when they are alarmed, with expectation they will receive protection and emotional support.

John Bowlby believed that the tendency for primate infants to develop attachments to familiar caregivers was the result of evolutionary pressures, since attachment behavior would facilitate the infant's survival in the face of dangers such as predation or exposure to the elements.The most important tenet of attachment theory is an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for the child's successful social and emotional development, and in particular for learning how to regulate their feelings. Any caregiver is likely to become the principal attachment figure if they provide most of the child care and related social interaction. In the presence of a sensitive and responsive caregiver, the infant will use the caregiver as a "safe base" from which to explore.

This relationship can be dyadic, as in the mother-child dyad often studied in Western culture, or it can involve a community of caregivers (siblings/extended family/teachers) as can be seen in areas of Africa and South America.It should be recognized "even sensitive caregivers get it right only about fifty per cent of the time. Their communications are either out of sync, or mismatched. There are times when parents feel tired or distracted. The telephone rings or there is breakfast to prepare. In other words, attuned interactions rupture quite frequently. But the hallmark of a sensitive caregiver is that the ruptures are managed and repaired."Attachments between infants and caregivers form even if this caregiver is not sensitive and responsive in social interactions with them. This has important implications. Infants cannot exit unpredictable or insensitive caregiving relationships. Instead they must manage themselves as best they can in such relationships.

Based on her established Strange Situation Protocol, research by developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth in the 1960s and 1970s found children will have different patterns of attachment depending on how they experienced their early caregiving environment. Early patterns of attachment, in turn, shape — but do not determine — the individual's expectations in later relationships.Four different attachment classifications have been identified in children:

Secure attachment occurs when children feel they can rely on their caregivers to attend to their needs of proximity, emotional support and protection. It is considered to be the most advantageous attachment style.

Anxious-ambivalent attachment occurs when the infant feels separation anxiety when separated from the caregiver and does not feel reassured when the caregiver returns to the infant.

Anxious-avoidant attachment occurs when the infant avoids their parents.

Disorganized attachment occurs when there is a lack of attachment behavior.In the 1980s, the theory was extended to attachment in adults. Attachment applies to adults when adults feel close attachment to their parents, their romantic and platonic partners and their friends.

Attachment theory has become the dominant theory used today in the study of infant and toddler behavior and in the fields of infant mental health, treatment of children, and related fields.

Boston University Center for Philosophy and History of Science

Boston University Center for Philosophy and History of Science is an interdepartmental, interuniversity forum on the nature of science, and each year organizes the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science.

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (BJPS) is a peer-reviewed, academic journal of philosophy, owned by the British Society for the Philosophy of Science (BSPS) and published by Oxford University Press. The journal publishes work that uses philosophical methods in addressing issues raised in the natural and human sciences.

Deaths in October 2016

The following is a list of notable deaths in October 2016.

Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:

Name, age, country of citizenship and reason for notability, established cause of death, reference.

Elliott Sober

Elliott R. Sober (born 6 June 1948, Baltimore) is Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at University of Wisconsin–Madison. Sober is noted for his work in philosophy of biology and general philosophy of science.

Glass ceiling

A glass ceiling is a metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that keeps a given demographic from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy.The metaphor was first coined by feminists in reference to barriers in the careers of high-achieving women. In the US, the concept is sometimes extended to refer to obstacles hindering the advancement of minority women, as well as minority men. Minority women often find the most difficulty in "breaking the glass ceiling" because they lie at the intersection of two historically marginalized groups: women and people of color. East Asian and East Asian American news outlets have coined the term "bamboo ceiling" to refer to the obstacles that all East Asian Americans face in advancing their careers.Within the same concepts of the other terms surrounding the workplace, there are similar terms for restrictions and barriers concerning women and their roles within organizations and how they coincide with their maternal duties. These "Invisible Barriers" function as metaphors to describe the extra circumstances that women undergo, usually when trying to advance within areas of their careers and often while trying to advance within their lives outside their work spaces.“A glass ceiling” represents a barrier that prohibits women from advancing toward the top of a hierarchical corporation.

Women in the workforce are faced with “the glass ceiling.” Those women are prevented from receiving promotion, especially to the executive rankings, within their corporation. Within the last twenty years, the women who are becoming more involved and pertinent in industries and organizations have rarely been in the executive ranks. Women in most corporations encompass below five percent of board of directors and corporate officer positions.

Hesse (surname)

Hesse is a German surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Adolf Friedrich Hesse (1809–1863), German composer

Amandine Hesse (born 1993), French tennis player

Christian Heinrich Friedrich Hesse (1772-1832), German pastor and naturalist

Eva Hesse (sculptor) (1936–70), painter and sculptor

Eva Hesse (writer) (born 1925), writer and translator

Hermann Hesse (1877–1962), German-born poet, novelist, and painter, Nobel Prize in Literature 1946

Karen Hesse (born 1952), US writer

Konrad Hesse (1919–2005), German jurist

Lucien Hesse (1866-1929), French architect

Mary Hesse (born 1924), US philosopher

Otto Hesse (1811–74), German mathematician, known for the Hessian matrix

Paul Hesse (1857–1938), German malacologist

Richard Hesse (1868–1944), German zoologist

Ruth Hesse (born 1936), German operatic mezzo-soprano and contralto

Walther Hesse (1846–1911), German microbiologist

Lo Hesse (born August 6, 1889 Berlin, † 1983 ?), German dancer.

Index of philosophy of science articles

An index list of articles about the philosophy of science.

John Forrester (historian)

John Forrester (25 August 1949 – 24 November 2015) was a British historian and philosopher of science and medicine. His main interests were in the history of the human sciences, in particular psychoanalysis and psychiatry.

List of University of Cambridge people

This is a list of University of Cambridge people, featuring members of the University of Cambridge segregated in accordance with their fields of achievement. The individual must have either studied at the university (although they may not necessarily have taken a degree), or worked at the university in an academic capacity; others have held fellowships at one of the university's colleges. Honorary fellows or those awarded an honorary degree are not included and neither are non-executive chancellors. Lecturers without long-term posts at the university also do not feature, although official visiting fellows and visiting professors do.

The list has been divided into categories indicating the field of activity in which people have become well known. Many of the university's alumni/ae have attained a level of distinction in more than one field. These individuals may appear under two categories. In general, however, an attempt has been made to put individuals in the category for which they are most often associated with.

Cantabrigians is a term for members of the university derived from its Latin name Cantabrigia, a medieval Latin name for Cambridge.

List of philosophers born in the 20th century

Philosophers born in the 20th century (and others important in the history of philosophy) listed alphabetically:

For the history of philosophy in the 20th century, see 20th-century philosophy.Note: This list has a minimal criterion for inclusion and the relevance to philosophy of some individuals on the list is disputed.

List of philosophers of science

This is a chronological list of philosophers of science. For an alphabetical name-list, see Category:Philosophers of science.

List of scholars on the relationship between religion and science

This is a list of notable individuals who have focused on studying the intersection of religion and science.

List of women philosophers

This is a list of women philosophers ordered alphabetically by surname. Although often overlooked in mainstream historiography, women have engaged in philosophy throughout the field's history. Some notable philosophers include Hypatia of Alexandria (ca. 370–415 AD), Anne Conway (1631–1679), Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797), Sarah Margaret Fuller (1810–1850), Ayn Rand (1905–1982), Hannah Arendt (1906–1975), Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986), Iris Murdoch (1919–1999), Elizabeth Anscombe (1919–2001), Mary Midgley (1919–2018), Philippa Foot (1920–2010), Mary Warnock (born 1924), Joyce Mitchell Cook (1933–2015, the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in philosophy), Cora Diamond (born 1937), and Susan Haack (born 1945).

Paul Cilliers

Friedrich Paul Cilliers (25 December 1956 – July 31, 2011) was a South-African philosopher, complexity researcher, and Professor in Complexity and Philosophy at the Stellenbosch University. He was known for his contributions in the field of complex systems.

Women in philosophy

Women have engaged in philosophy throughout the field's history. While there were women philosophers since ancient times, and a relatively small number were accepted as philosophers during the ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary eras, particularly during the 20th and 21st century, almost no woman philosophers have entered the philosophical Western canon.In Asia, women were vital in philosophy in ancient times. In the oldest text of the Upanishads, c. 700 BCE, the female philosophers Gargi and Maitreyi are part of the philosophical dialogues with the sage Yajnavalkya. Ubhaya Bharati (c. 800 AD) and Akka Mahadevi (1130–1160) are other known female thinkers in the Indian philosophical tradition. In China, Confucius hailed the female Jing Jiang of Lu (5th c. BCE) as being wise and an example for his students, while Ban Zhao (45–116) wrote several vital historical and philosophical texts. In Korea, Im Yunjidang (1721–93) were among the most notable women philosophers during the enlightened mid-Chosŏn era. Among notable female Muslim philosophers are Rabia of Basra (714–801), A’ishah al-Ba’uniyyah of Damascus (d. 1517), and Nana Asma'u (1793–1864) from the Sokoto Caliphate of today's Nigeria. In early colonial Latin-America, the philosopher Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651–95) was known as "The Phoenix of America".

In ancient philosophy in the West, while academic philosophy was typically the domain of male philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, female philosophers such as Hipparchia of Maroneia (active ca. 325 BC), Arete of Cyrene (active 5th–4th century BC) and Aspasia of Miletus (470–400 BC) were active during this period. Notable medieval philosophers include Hypatia (5th century), St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) and St. Catherine of Sienna (1347-1380). Notable modern philosophers included Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) and Sarah Margaret Fuller (1810-1850). Influential contemporary philosophers include Edith Stein (1891-1942), Susanne Langer (1895–1985), Hannah Arendt (1906–1975), Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986), Elizabeth Anscombe (1919–2001), Mary Midgley (1919–2018), Philippa Foot (1920–2010), Mary Warnock (born 1924), Julia Kristeva (born 1941), Patricia Churchland (born 1943) and Susan Haack (born 1945).

In the early 1800s, some colleges and universities in the UK and US began admitting women, giving rise to new generations of female academics. Nevertheless, U.S. Department of Education reports from the 1990s indicate that philosophy is one of the least proportionate fields in the humanities with respect to gender. Women make up as little as 17% of philosophy faculty in some studies. In 2014, Inside Higher Education described the philosophy "...discipline’s own long history of misogyny and sexual harassment" of women students and professors. Jennifer Saul, a professor of philosophy at the University of Sheffield, stated in 2015 that women are "...leaving philosophy after being harassed, assaulted, or retaliated against."In the early 1990s, the Canadian Philosophical Association claimed that there is gender imbalance and gender bias in the academic field of philosophy. In June 2013, a US sociology professor stated that "out of all recent citations in four prestigious philosophy journals, female authors comprise just 3.6 percent of the total." The editors of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy have raised concerns about the underrepresentation of women philosophers, and they require editors and writers to ensure they represent the contributions of women philosophers. According to Eugene Sun Park, "[p]hilosophy is predominantly white and predominantly male. This homogeneity exists in almost all aspects and at all levels of the discipline." Susan Price argues that the philosophical " remains dominated by white males—the discipline that...still hews to the myth that genius is tied to gender." According to Saul, "[p]hilosophy, the oldest of the humanities, is also the malest (and the whitest). While other areas of the humanities are at or near gender parity, philosophy is actually more overwhelmingly male than even mathematics."

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.