Science and passion |  INRAE ​​INSTIT

Science and passion | INRAE ​​INSTIT

All researchers know the intellectual pleasure, curiosity and surprise associated with their professional activity. Most of them are very committed to their work and take it seriously to convince the community and/or the general public of its importance and relevance. However, few researchers realize that their emotions can have an effect on the way they approach their research topic, nor on the way they practice it. However, emotion is a way of accessing knowledge that reason does not fully compensate for.

Do emotions modify the choice of the subject of study or the choice of tools? Does it affect the reading and interpretation of scientific findings or facts? Should the researcher control his or her emotions or can they try to keep them away? Should we, on the contrary, give them a place in the search process itself? Is emotion an appropriate source of scientific knowledge? How do you rate feelings? This book aims to answer all of these questions. Two portraits were drawn for the researchers: Barbara McClintock, a geneticist, and Gerard Debreu, a mathematician.

Emmanuel Small Professor of Economics and Research Fellow at Purdue University Economics (CNRS). For fifteen years he was interested in the role of emotions in economic analysis.

Editions Quæ – coll. Science Questions in English – 80 pages, June 2022 – € 9.50 (paperback), available free in PDF format on the website Quæ . editions.


[…] In fact, there are very few studies that shed light on what constitutes the psychology of the world. In the absence of specific works on this question, the psychology of the researcher is ideal. Research will be where the rational being, open to the world, possessing superior intelligence and integrity, as well as being able to cooperate with his fellows by sharing his knowledge, seeks out. An example that hardly corresponds to the highly competitive and sometimes irrational world in which researchers develop. Like everyone else, the scientist pursues career goals, encounters obstacles and tries to overcome them. It also relates to the ideal we have of the seeker […] His ability to be objective and impartial. Skinner tells us that science (1953, p. 12), “is a willingness to accept facts even when they conflict with beliefs. [du chercheur] This means that the scientists see the data as such (that is, without distortions harmful to the investigation) and that they are able to control or not display emotions that might somehow influence the course of their research.

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