by Adolfo García de la Sienra and Theo Kuipers
Lambertus (Bert) Hamminga was a gentle Dutchman and distinguished scholar (Ph.D. Economics, M.D. Philosophy). Being born in Amsterdam on July 1, 1951, due to Covid he passed away in Beesd, the Netherlands, on April 16, 2021. Until 2001 he was a university lecturer in Tilburg, Netherlands; in philosophy of science, specialized in mathematical modelling, methodology, formal axiomatics and structural analysis of scientific theories. His generous work of organizing the second and third international conference on methodology and philosophy of economics (‘Tilburg I’, July 1987 and ‘Tilburg II’, July 1991), gathered together scholars from the Americas and Europe that eventually gave rise to the International Network of Economic Methodology. His impulse to organize these conferences (with Wolfgang Balzer the first one, and with Neil De Marchi the second one) sprang from the very first conference pioneering the field, organized in Munich in July 1981, by W. Balzer W. Spohn, and W. Stegmüller. Bert’s stimulating role in the rise of the field cannot be overestimated.
His own scientific and philosophic work was mainly devoted to topics in economics and economic methodology (see Bibliography), but he was also interested in the philosophy of culture, with a book comparing Western and African epistemology. His last interest was Spinoza’s Ethics, about which he provided a reference web for students of the Ethica, EthicaWeb. It is referred to in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy by the Spinoza biographer Steven Nadler. Until his death he maintained a very lively website, www.asb4.com, reporting his life and his scientific and literary studies, partly from his sailing dhow in Africa. He was a consummated Jazz-saxophone player, a passionate classical boat yachtsman, and organiser of JOL112-tournaments. As the family announcement stated (in Dutch): he was an ‘opinionated, colourful, humoristic scientist, philosopher, saxophonist, and above all sailor’.
Publications by Bert Hamminga (1951-2021)
- Monograph B. Hamminga, Neoclassical Theory Structure and Theory Development, Springer, 1983.
The Proceedings of the two conferences in Tilburg in 1987 and 1994 of which he was the initiator and main organizer: Tilburg I and II.
Tilburg I: W. Balzer and B. Hamminga, Eds, Philosophy of Economics, Erkenntnis, Vol. 30.1/2, Kluwer, 1989, based on Tilburg I, 1987.
Tilburg II : B. Hamminga and N.B. De Marchi (Eds.), Idealization in economics, Idealization VI, Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Vol. 38, Rodopi, Amsterdam, 1994, based on Tilburg II, 1991.
N.B. Munich: A conference in 1981 in Munich was the crucial start of his involvement; its proceedings are W. Stegmüller, W. Balzer, W. Spohn, Eds, Philosophy of Economics, Springer, 1982, based on Munich, 1981.
A third book edited by Bert: B. Hamminga, Eds, Knowledge cultures: comparative western and African epistemology, Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Vol. 88, 2005.
(1982) B. Hamminga, Neoclassical Theory Structure and Theory Development: The Ohlin Samuelson Programme in the Theory of International Trade. In München, 1 – 15.
(1986) W. Balzer and B. Hamminga, The Basic Structure of Neoclassical General Equilibrium Theory, Erkenntnis 25.1, 31-46.
(1989) B. Hamminga, Sneed versus Nowak: An Illustration in Economics. In Tilburg I, 247-265.
(1990) B. Hamminga, The structure of Six Transformations in Marx’s Capital, In: Idealization I: General Problems eds. J. Brzezinski, F. Coniglione, T. Kuipers, L. Nowak, Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Vol. 16, Rodopi, Amsterdam,1990, 89-111.
(1991) B. Hamminga, Comments on Hands: meaning and measurements of excess content. In: eds. N. de Marchi and M. Blaug, Appraising economic Theories, Hants-Brookfield: Edward Elgar, 76-84.
(1992) B. Hamminga, Learning Economic Method from the Invention of Vintage Models, In: N. de Marchi (ed), Post-Popperian Methodology of Economics, Recovering Practice, Kluwer, 327-54.
(1992) B. Hamminga, Idealization in the practice and methodology of classical economics: the logical struggle with lemma’s and undesired theorems, In: Idealization III: Approximation and Truth, eds. J. Brzezinski and L. Nowak, Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Vol. 25, 103-126.
(1994) B. Hamminga and N. de Marchi, Idealization and the Defence of Economics: Notes towards a History. In Tilburg II, 11- 40.
(1994) K. Cools, B. Hamminga, and T. Kuipers, Truth approximation by concretization in capital structure theory. In (3), 205-28.
(1995), B. Hamminga, Demoralizing the Labour Market: Could Jobs be like Cars and Concerts?, The Journal of Political Philosophy, 3.1 (1995), 23-35
(1995), B. Hamminga, Interesting Theorems in Economics, in: Cognitive patterns in science and common sense. Eds. T. Kuipers and A.R. Mackor. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Vol. 45, Rodopi, Amsterdam-Atlanta, 1995, 227-239.
(2005), B. Hamminga, Constructive Realism and Scientific Progress, In: Confirmation, Empirical Progress, and Truth Approximation, Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities, Vol. 83, Eds R. Festa, A. Aliseda, and J. Peijnenburg. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi, 2005: 317-336.
(2012) Bert Hamminga, Spinozae Ethica Help-Web, accessible via the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and also via http://asb4.com/EthicaWeb/index.html