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UGA professor emeritus writes new book looking back at his ‘Improbable Life’

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Partial Memories: Sketches from an Improbable Life
By Ernst von Glasersfeld
Imprint Academic
£17.95 (British pounds) $34.90

Ernst von Glasersfeld, emeritus professor of psychology at UGA, has penned a book of autobiographical sketches entitled Partial Memories: Sketches from an Improbable Life.

“Memories are a personal affair. They are what comes to mind when you think back, not what might in fact have happened at that earlier time in your life,” he said. “You can no longer be certain of what seemed important then, because you are now looking at the past with today’s eyes. The Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico had that insight 300 years ago: When we think of things that lie in the past, we see them in terms of the concepts we have now.”

Glasersfeld is a research associate at the Scientific Reasoning Research Institute and an adjunct professor in the department of psychology at the University of ­Massachusetts, Amherst.

A philosopher and cybernetician born in 1917 in Munch, he spent large parts of his life in Ireland, lived in Italy in the 1950s and has been in the U.S. since the mid-1960s.

Elaborating upon authors as diverse as Vico and James Joyce, von Glasersfeld developed his own model of Radical Constructivism. He retired from UGA in 1987.