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Rom Harré


Rom Harré

Horace Romano Harré
Rom Harré in Tartu (2011)
Born 1927
New Zealand
Era 20th century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic philosophy
Precursor to critical realism

Horace Romano Harré (born 1927), known widely as Rom Harré, is a distinguished philosopher and psychologist.


He began his university studies in chemical engineering (for which he retains a great affection) and later graduated in mathematics. He taught mathematics for several years while continuing work in philosophy and anthropology. After lecturing at the University of Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan, he took up a travelling scholarship to University College, Oxford, where he completed a B. Phil. under the supervision of J.L. Austin. After several years in the Midlands he returned to Oxford as the successor to Frederick Waismann. At Oxford he was active in the founding of the Honours School of Physics and Philosophy and played an important part in the discursive turn in social psychology. After mandatory retirement from Oxford he joined the psychology department of Georgetown University, Washington, DC where he continues as Distinguished Research Professor teaching every year in the Spring Semester. He has given occasional courses at both American University in Washington, D.C. and at George Mason University at Fairfax, Virginia. From 2009 until 2011 he served as Director Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics in conjunction with his US post. he has been Visiting Professor at many places teaching courses at Aoyama University, Tokyo; Universidad Santiago de Compostella, Spain; Universidad Caetano, Peru; Free University at Brussels; Aarhus University in Denmark and elsewhere.

Academic genealogy
Notable teachers
Notable students
  • Roy Bhaskar
  • Patrick Baert
  • Jonathan Smith
  • Intellectual interests

    Harré has written on a wide variety of subjects which includes: philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of science, ontology, psychology, social psychology, sociology and philosophy. He was an important early influence on the British philosophical movement Critical Realism, publishing Causal Powers with Madden in 1975, the same year as A Realist Theory of Science. He supervised Roy Bhaskar's doctoral studies, and has continued to maintain close involvement with realism. He also supervised Patrick Baert and Jonathan Smith (psychologist)'s doctoral studies, respectively in social theory and social psychology. Another one of Harré's distinctive contributions was to the understanding of the social self in microsociology, which he called "ethogenics:" this method attempts to understand the systems of belief or means by which individuals can attach significance to their actions and form their identities, in addition to the structure of rules and cultural resources that underlie these actions.[1]

    Publications (selection)

    • Key Thinkers in Psychology, London: Sage, 2006.
    • (With M. Tissaw) Wittgenstein and Psychology, Basingstoke, UK: Ashgate, 2005.
    • Cognitive Science: A Philosophical Introduction, Los Angeles: Sage, 2001.
    • Princess Diana and the emotionology of contemporary Britain, International Journal of Group Tensions, 30, 29-38, 2001.
    • (With L. van Langenhove) Positioning Theory, Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.
    • (With Charles R. Varela) "Conflicting Varieties of Realism: Causal Powers and the Problems of Social Structure." Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 26.3 (September 1996): 313-325.
    • (With Grant Gillett) The Discursive Mind London: Sage, 1994.
    • Varieties of Realism, Oxford: Blackwell, 1986.
    • (With Jerrold L. Aronson & Eileen Cornell Way) Realism rescued: how scientific progress is possible London, Duckworth, 1994
    • (With Michael Krausz) Varieties of Relativism, Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.
    • (Ed.) The Social Construction of Emotions. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986.
    • (With David Clarke and Nicola De Carlo) Motives and Mechanisms: An Introduction to the Psychology of Action. London: Metheun, 1985.
    • Personal Being, Oxford: Blackwell, 1983.
    • Physical Being: a theory for a corporal psychology, Blackwell, Oxford, 1991.
    • The Philosophies of Science: An Introductory Survey, Oxford, 1989.
    • Social Being: A Theory for a Social Psychology II, Oxford: Blackwell, 1979.
    • (With Edward H. Madden) Causal Powers, Oxford: Blackwell, 1975.
    • (With Paul F. Secord) The Explanation of Social Behaviour, Oxford: Blackwell, 1972.

    See also


    External links

    • Harre's page at Georgetown University
    • An article by Caroline New
    • Prof R. Harré awarded with honorary doctorate from Massey University in 2012

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