Talk:Stephan Körner

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Date of death[edit]

The date of 18th August is much better sourced than 17th August. Here are three references:

  • Who was Who: This is a standard reference work, and the editors would have checked with Prof. Körner's son.
  • Obituary in The Guardian: Aug 30, 2000; Andrew Harrison; p. 18: "Stephan Korner, philosopher, born September 26 1913; died August 18 2000".
  • Obituary in The Times; Sep 4, 2000: "And so on August 18, Stephan and Edith Korner made sure their affairs were in scrupulous order, fetched some pills and, for the last time, did what they thought was proper."


--Runcorn 13:22, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

See, here we have a problem. On the one hand, we have the two newspaper stories (the Times wasn't an obit, incidentally, more like a piece on the subject - [1]) and the Who Was Who report, saying 18th.
On the other we have the obits from both universities (Bristol; Yale) as well as the VC's annual report at Bristol, all saying 17th. There's an "in memoriam" article in Erkenntnis (55(1), 2001) which says 17th - this is a scholarly journal in his field.
So which do we go with? Here is where the fun kicks in - the family certainly think he and his wife died on the 17th, which strongly suggests that Who Was Who didn't check the date with them. I'm certainly not arguing that we should take "the family say" over print sources, but where we have already have two sets of print sources we need to decide between, it seems fair enough to let that information inform our choice of which to go with. Shimgray | talk | 16:23, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I'd be very reluctant to disregard contemporary reports from two of Britain's top national papers. The Yale report, in particular, is unlikely to be a credible independent source. However, I won't have an edit war over it.--Runcorn 00:34, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Given the context of the death, it strikes me as entirely plausible that the initial reports could have stated the wrong day and been picked up by the newspapers. Certainly the Erkenntnis article strikes me as a fairly heavyweight source, but critically one published late enough it could have feedback and corrections added. (There is a 2002 biographical sketch in the Proceedings of the British Academy, which I haven't yet tracked down; I'd be interested to see what it states. My suspicion is the 17th, for much the same reason.)
I'm sorry to sound unyielding about this, and I know it's vaguely skirting the edges of the sources policies, but where we have a situation where the established sources are divided but the family agree with one (there's a letter from Ann Altman in the Guardian of Jan 13 2001 (following a year-in-review article mentioning them) which states in passing "My parents did indeed die on August 17, 2000"), I feel it strongly suggests that's more likely to be accurate. (I confess I wouldn't be saying this if it was anything contentious, but in the case of something as minor as a date...)
Now to write the article on Edith! Perhaps the more interesting figure, and certainly the one with the most unexpected career path given her background... Shimgray | talk | 01:14, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, she richly deserves an article, which is why I linked her name. We might even have an article on Korner bumber, her device for monitoring the Health Service. I'm happy to leave the date of death as is.--Runcorn 14:54, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

According to the coroner's report, Edith Korner was still warm when found, in bed, with two plastic bags tied over her head and a pillow on top of them, by a visiting doctor and nurse on August 17. The time of death in the coroner's report is given as 10.30 hrs. 17.8.00. Stephan Korner, lying on the floor also with plastic bags - secured with an elastic band - over his head and a pillow resting on top of them, was given the same date and time of death. You can confirm these details in the coroner's report (Bristol, October 18 2000).

With respect to the cited death-related reference, namely, 'An organised death, Anjana Ahuja. The Times, September 4 2000. (Electronic copy), note that the first paragraph includes the sentence, "Instead of being divided by disease the couple chose to be united in death, taking a lethal overdose and breathing their last in each other's arms at their Bristol home." Reference to the coroner's report of the inquest (Coroner Paul Forrest, Bristol, UK; October 18 2000), reveals that, far from dying in each other's arms, Mrs. Körner was found in bed, while Professor Körner had fallen on the floor, and the heads of both were enclosed in pairs of plastic bags, with a pillow on top of each. Ms. Ahuja's article, dated September 4 2000, was written before she had access to the coroner's report and, thus, in the absence of an accurate informant at the time, she had no way of knowing the truth about the way the Körners died, which can be found in the aforementioned coroner's report.

Mentioning Jewishness in intro?[edit]

I think that this might be justifiable. He (and his wife) only came to Britain because they were fleeing Nazi persecution of Jews, so their Jewishness had a fundamental effect on their lives.--Runcorn 01:10, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Mmh. I just saw it slapped in as "was a Jewish XYZ" which, to my eyes, isn't appropriate; it had an effect on his life but it isn't the significant factor in who he was - note that the obits view it as vaguely surprising there was a prayer at the funeral! - and I'm not entirely happy with cluttering the initial sentence with adjectives. As a first glance it seemed more sensible to move it to the one point where it was relevant...
Perhaps we could expand the intro a bit? "...was a British philosopher, etc. Born in Czechoslovakia, he fled to the United Kingdom to escape the German persecution of Jews; [something about Bristol and Yale]. He was married to..." Shimgray | talk | 20:47, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Looks good to me.--Runcorn 21:16, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

From Ann M. Altman - Stephan's daughter: There is no question that Jewishness is a very important part of my father's story. My parents both fled Czechoslovakia to escape death at the hands of the Nazis. My father was warned by an old schoolmate of his, who came to his house in full Nazi regalia and said, "Stephan, if you don't leave today, you won't be able to leave tomorrow." He left his parents (who perished - his father, according to what my father told me, committing suicide on the way to Auschwitz, or more likely from what I have since learned, dying on a transport "to the East") and walked into Poland with two friends, Willi Haas and Otto Eisner. All he carried was a small briefcase of books. My parents chose to be fully assimilated into the non-Jewish Bristol community and never practiced any form of Judaism, with the exception that birthdays and Christmas were celebrated "on the eve" or "erev" and they drew the line at having a Christmas tree. I was astonished that my mother wanted Kaddish said at her (their?) funeral. She had always been very dismissive of my own husband's Jewish heritage and our somewhat Jewish home. My father, by contrast, chose for his (their?) funeral, a piece on the unknowable by Leibnitz, which seemed more appropriate. I think my father would not have minded being referred to as a Jewish philosopher. When first hired by the University of Bristol, he had to dispel rumors that he had been a Hungarian circus rider - perhaps a confused reference to his time in the Second Siberian Hussars, where he learned to ride a horse over a fence with three horses in each hand.

Showing Later Editions ist Verboten?[edit]

User:Shimgray reverts the edit that shows the ISBN number for the book entitled Kant. Did he ever consider that some people might want to look the book up on Amazon.com and purchase it as a used book? This is possible when the ISBN number is shown. Yes, User:Shimgray, the 1964 edition is a later version than the 1955 version. What is so wrong with listing the later version?Lestrade 03:10, 19 February 2007 (UTC)PutziKornwinkle

Hum. Changing publication dates makes me very uncomfortable, you see... the problem isn't with listing the later version; it's with replacing it with the later version and reordering the list, which I think throws off the whole point of having an outline bibliography - namely, to show the rough outline of the works and the way it develops over time. I'm agnostic on ISBNs.
On looking into it, in this specific case, there is no 1964 edition - 0140203389 is in fact a 1964 printing of the 1955 edition. (Penguin were very good at keeping their paperbacks in print for decades; the 1955 original printing has no ISBN as they didn't exist then, so it got added when reprinted). 0140134859 is another ISBN applied to the same edition, by the looks of it, in a more modern Penguin reissue. There's also a 1982 Yale University Press reprint - 0300027923 - and a 1967 German edition. Shimgray | talk | 13:25, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

I am amused that there has been so much discussion of the date of my parents' deaths and the publication of "Kant" but nobody caught the error in the title of the book that is correctly entitled, "Categorial Frameworks" :) AA

Decisive error?[edit]

In the section "Philosophical work," the following words appear: "Korner [sic] mistakenly assumed that Kant's categories apply directly to ordinary empirical science, a decisive error in understanding Kant…." This dogmatic, assertive, declarative statement is presented as though the idea that it tries to communicate is self–evident. It seems to me that such an unclear statement is subjective and mere opinion. It is not defined or explained.Lestrade (talk) 21:58, 14 January 2013 (UTC)Lestrade