brass-instrument empiricist

changeling

Senior Member
Russia, russian
Hi everybody!

I came upon an interesting phrase “brass-instrument empiricist” and definitely need a native speaker’s assistance. Bennis used this vehicle to describe Leary in his pre-LSD MTI period. The sentence runs like That was in Leary's antediluvian (pre-LSD) days, when he could accurately be described as a brass-instrument empiricist.

Thanks in advance
 
  • Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I think most of us would need more context before being able to answer that.

    Leary: is that Timothy Leary?
    What's "MTI"?
    Who's Bennis? His biographer?
    Is this really about music or do you have reason to believe that it's a metaphor?

    My guess is that it means he liked to experiment with brass instruments.

    EDIT: Wow, p_v. Very, very impressive.
     

    changeling

    Senior Member
    Russia, russian
    Warren Bennis is a respected management-guru who actually laid down the foundation for now well-thumbed topic of leadership.

    MIT – Massachusetts Institute of technology.

    The passage runs

    “The other was Timothy Leary, who was developing an observational scale based on Harry Stack Sullivan's interpersonal theories to elucidate the dynamics of groups. That was in Leary's antediluvian (pre-LSD) days, when he could accurately be described as a brass-instrument empiricist. Schutz became a guru and pioneer at Esalen and now leads a management consulting business. About Leary, well, I'm not really sure.”
     

    changeling

    Senior Member
    Russia, russian
    Wow. You have asked a QUESTION!
    I think you will find it refers to the fact of a mixture of philosphy and psychology. I have included some fairly detailed pages explaining empiricist philosophy and brass instrument psychology. The best of luck.
    Maybe a wandering philosopher can give you a more consise definition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricist
    http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/museum/biblio.htm
    From the article you kindly gave a link to – the one about brass-instruments – I would suggest that brass-instrument empiricist, esp. in connection to the person of Timothy Leary, should mean extremely “experimental person”, like rebellious or even avant-garde empiricist to make sense for those who have no idea about University of Toronto “new psychology".
     

    changeling

    Senior Member
    Russia, russian
    oh just struck me! May be Timothy has a mind of a pioneering empiricist, like 18th century breed of empiricists?
     

    Bunnicula

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I don't know that much about Leary's work but I'm wondering if the comment is intended to be mildly sarcastic, saying that he had the mind of a pure researcher on the cutting edge but, at the same time, belonging to a byegone era?
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    A "brass instrument" would be an old-fashioned scientific instrument, such as a pair of scales, or a microscope, which many years ago were frequently made of brass. It implies science based on visual observations, or weighing and measuring, rather than science based on surveys of emotions, or taking drugs to see how "creative" one "feels".
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Brass-instrument probably has nothing to do with musical instruments. Instead, I'm guessing that it is a symbol for a style of empiricism that is blunt, of the 'brass age'.
     

    paul_vicmar

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Yes, I think Bennis was stating the fact that Leary enjoyed experimental pyschology and was an empiricist philosopher so Changeling your assumption is correct.
     

    cirrus

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Brass-instrument probably has nothing to do with musical instruments. Instead, I'm guessing that it is a symbol for a style of empiricism that is blunt, of the 'brass age'.
    I would assume a brass instrument empiricist would be set in their ways, the sort of person who would have no time for new technology.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top