W.W. Bartley, III

William Warren Bartley ( born October 2, 1934 in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia; † 5 February 1990 in Oakland, California ) was an American philosopher.


Bartley was originally Christian, and aspired to the priesthood, but turned away from the faith. He studied with Willard Van Orman Quine and his PhD on its own initiative under Karl Popper, against the advice of his environment. Despite initially very good relationship they separated in 1965 in a dispute. In 1972, Bartley part in the controversial est and was subsequently active in the Advisory Board. He also wrote the official biography of the founder Werner Erhard. In 1974, he resumed contact with Popper. The relationship relaxed, but a match both could no longer reach: Popper distanced himself after Bartley's death in the introduction to his myth of the frame of Bartley's views, without mentioning his name; on a sound document received as spontaneous speech at a meeting he did it more clearly and with an explicit link. Bartely died before he could finish a biography of Popper.

He taught as a professor at the University in Hayward (California ) (California State University, East Bay ), as he was a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. There, he collected and cataloged the works of Popper. He was editor of Popper's three-volume " Afterword " to the Logic of Scientific Discovery ( The open universe, Quantum theory and the schism in physics, Realism and the aim of science ). He planned the publication of Hayek's collected works, but died after he completes only one band ( The fatal conceit ). From this belt, but is now strongly suspected that he sprang from Bartley's own pen over large parts or even complete, and thus in reality not a work of Hayek is that Bartley had merely published, but to its own plant Bartley, he of to under the name of by this time seriously ill and no longer be involved, Hayek published.


Bartley criticized in his major work, The Retreat to Commitment Christianity and Critical Rationalism poppers that they asked their followers to accept a moral creed as a basis ( "Jesus Christ is Lord " on the one hand, Popper's concession of an " irrational faith in reason " in The Open society and its Enemies on the other). He presented the contrary, the concept of pancritical rationalism, in which he replaced the belief base by the self-sufficient in his view claim that all claims are criticized, including this assertion itself

" I maintain, therefore, that the permanent crisis of integrity, regularly fall into the rationalists, or into which they are forced into it, has its roots in a neglected crisis of identity in the rationalist tradition. Neglecting it is partly because the philosophers in general neglect to seek as much about the development of a theory of rationality as to a theory of knowledge. Because of these crises is the precious factotum in the house of irrationalist - the tu quoque argument - the body in the basement of the rationalists. Rationalists are very committed to a concept of rationality or a rationalist identity to gain is impossible, and the inevitable disappointment of their efforts to meet this obligation excessive justice, prevents them to gain integrity. At the same time many irrationalists added this inability of the rationalist tradition to solve their identity crisis, regardless of their bonds in a position to maintain their own identity without loss of integrity. " ( The Retreat to Commitment, p 90)

Which is based on moral reasoning of Christianity and poppers he replaced by an economy of knowledge.


  • Bartley, The Retreat to Commitment, translated by Klaus Pähler ( Translator ), Tübingen ( Mohr Siebeck ), 1987, ISBN 3-16-945130-8.
  • Bartley, Wittgenstein - A Life, btv - Verlag 1999, ISBN 3-442-75541-7.