Non quid sed quando valet

John A. Michon

Selected Writings 


Introductory text forthcoming

  • Jean-Marie Guyau (1854-1888): Life and ideas (2008)  [PDF 690kB] vlag GB
    Guyau was one of the leading philosophers of the spiritualist movement in France in the second half of the 19th century. He influenced Henri Bergson and Marcel Proust and has been compared with Herbert Spencer (for his views on social evolution) and Friedrich Nietzsche (for his views on the force of life). Here is a somewhat revised version of the chapter on the life and ideas of Guyau I wrote with Viviane Pouthas and the late Janet L. Jackson as an introduction for our volume on Guyau and the idea of time in 1988. It is presented here specifically as an in memoriam of Guyau who died 120 years ago, 33 years old. Guyau's ideas received attention in the period known as 'la belle époque', he largely disappeared from sight in the course of the 20th century. There are, however, recent signs of a modest reappraisal; among the reasons may be the renewed interest in 'spiritualism' and the growing distrust of organized religion.

  • Negen jaren in een luchtballon (1997) [PDF 110 kB]  vlag NL
    From its inception in 1977 until the middle of 1986 I have been a member of the RVV, the Raad voor de Verkeersveiligheid [National Traffic Safety Council] in the Netherlands (from 1980 onward as its Vice Chairman). The RVV was discontinued in 1996 and succeeded by a much weigthier National Safety Research Board. This article is my contribution to the 'Final Report' of the Council which appeared in 1997 and in which members -- past and (then) present -- each gave a personal impression of what their membership had signified to them.

  • The life and opinions of Mr. and Mrs. Average (1996) [PDF 240kB]  vlag GB
    Address to the Académie Royale de Belgique, on the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of Adolphe Quetelet (22 Februari 1796). This presentation traces the various personifications of l'homme moyen through history since his conception by Quetelet in 1869. It reaches the conclusion that the answer to "what it is like to be an average person ought to be based on evidence about mechanisms and processes that generate behaviour rather than on the observed behaviour itself."

  • Instrumented vehicles as a research tool: A histerical review (1973) [PDF 710kB] vlag GB
    This review was originally published as a Very Special Report of the Traffic Research Centre at the University of Groningen. It constitutes the opening address to the International Workshop on‘The Use of Instrumented Vehicles in Traffic Research’ held at the TNO Institute for Perception, Soesterberg, The Netherlands, 15-17 October 1973. It is reproduced here with minor stylistic and editorial changes.

  • Lo specchio che fugge (1958)  [PDF 125kB] vlag NL
    Original contribution to Het Verschijnsel [The Phenomenon], aperiodical of the Utrecht Association of Psychology Students. It deals, in the customary style of the 'Utrecht School', with the problem of the ever fleeting present, on the basis of a short story by the the Italian author Papini. As such it anticipates my later fascination with the 'Faustian moment' the 'making of the present'