Paul Branton (1916-1990)

Although not a professional philosopher, Paul Branton played a noteworthy part in the history of the Neo-Friesian School. Mr. Branton left Austria after the Nazi takeover and went to Palestine. During World War II he joined the Royal Navy to fight against the Germans but curiously carried around with him a book in German: Leonard Nelson's great Kritik der praktischen Vernunft. When the war was over, his interest in Nelson led him to seek, with some difficulty, to be demobilized in England and join some of the Nelson people there. His contact with one of Nelson's students, Mary Saran (1897-1976), helped him get started in England and eventually led to his marrying Mary's daughter Rene. Although Mr. Branton chose a career in ergonomics rather than philosophy, he remained active in Nelson circles in England and Germany, continued to be involved in Friesian thought, and administered the funds in England, through the "Society for the Furtherance of the Critical Philosophy" (whose activities Rene has continued), to subsidize the journal Ratio until it was taken over by Basil Blackwell.

Kay Herrmann in Conversation with Rene Saran

The Paul Branton Meritorious Service Award, The Ergonomics Society

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