Ernst Gryzanowski

photo neededIn human chemistry, Ernst Georg Friederich Gryzanowski (1824-1888), cited as E. Gryzanowski, was a German physician and diplomat, of Polish extraction, of primarily Italian residency, or “versatile German scholar” (Ernest Samuels, 1989), a Henry Adams (Ѻ) associate, knowledgeable about Hegelian metaphysics, noted for his 1875 article “Comtism”, wherein he seems to be pro-sociophysics in philosophy, i.e. an advocate of Adams-conceptualized physicochemical sociology ideas.

In 1875, Gryzanowski published his North American Review article “Comtism”, wherein, during his discussion of the social physics proposals of French sociologist Auguste Comte, he refers to people as both ‘social molecules’ and ‘human molecules’, and concludes that: [1]

“Civil law, commerce, political economy, and international ethics are all based on the assumption that the social body consists of such human molecules, and there is no reason why the methods of physical science should not be applied to the statics and dynamics of that society, the passions and rights of the individual man corresponding exactly to the chemical and physical forces inherent in the material molecule.”

Gryzanowski ridiculed Comte for his distancing himself from the origin of life question:

“We maintain, that as long as we are unable not only to bridge over the gulf that separates organic from inorganic nature, but even to see the bottom of it, the onus probandi must lie on those who deny its width and its depth. Comte himself holds curious opinions on this point. He deprecates the inquiry into the origin of organic life as a useless speculation (thus admitting the partly speculative nature of biology). He believes in the immutability of species, and separates, in his pedigree of sciences, biology from physics by a twofold division, making them agnates rather than cognates. It would therefore have been easy for him to admit the specific difference between man and atom, and to find this difference in self-consciousness, and in the moral freedom of man's will.”

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Adams | James
It seems to be that Gryzanowski may have adopted this ‘human molecule’ logic from American historian Henry Adams, who himself had previously became acquainted with French philosopher Hippolyte Taine’s 1869 ‘human molecule’ point-of-view of history, at least as early as 1873, where as editor of the North American Review, Adams had accepted an article on “Taine’s Philosophy” by James Bixby, wherein the human molecule concept is discussed. Adams and Gryzanowski were associates. Adams and his wife, for instance, had visited Gryzanowski at his house in Florence, Italy, during their 1872 European honeymoon, where the three discussed Hegelian metaphysics. [2] Adams commented that he esteemed Gryzanowski as his best contributor to the North American Review. [3]

Gryzanowski also exchanged letters with William James. (Ѻ)

1. Gryzanowski, Ernst. (1875). “Comtism” (human molecules, social molecule, pg. 276; inorganic nature, pg. 277). The North American Review, 120: 237-80, April.
2. Samuels, Ernest. (1989). Henry Adams (Ernst Gryzanowski, pg. 101). Harvard University Press.
3. Scheyer, Ernst. (1970). The Circle of Henry Adams: Arts & Artists (Ernst Gryzanowski, pg. 41). Wayne State University Press.

External links

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