ABSTRACT

The aim of this research is to present the life and research of Alfred Rittmann (1893–1980). He was an Earth scientist in the broadest sense: a petrographer, mineralogist, magmatologist, tectonist, geodynamicist, planetologist, volcanologist and, what is more, a philosopher of geosciences. He is considered the founder of contemporary, volcanology by combining in his interdisciplinary research the study of volcanic phenomena at the surface with tectonic activity and magmatology. In his books, Rittmann discussed the first correlations between volcanism and tectonics; his geodynamic model comprises complex studies of geology, volcanology, magmatology and geodynamics. We propose to name his scientific worldview ‘Magmatological Tectonics’ (MT) and to describe it as a Kuhnian paradigm. The leading concept of all geological processes is the fundamental law. Rittmann also made abundant use of Chamberlin’s method, the method of multiple working hypotheses. Some brief interpretations will be proposed regarding the importance of Rittmann in the history of geosciences in the twentieth century and the emergence of some philosophical problems deriving from this research.

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