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Analysis Of Feyerabends Against Method Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1784 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Paul, Karl Feyerabend (1924-1994) – is one representative of the post positivism, studies Philosophy and Methodology of Science. He formulated a number of fruitful methodological ideas, developed the anarchist theory of knowledge, which has received great attention in the international philosophical community.

Paul Karl Feyerabend was born January 13, 1924 in Vienna. He received an excellent education. His interests were very different: in Weimar, he studied drama in London, and in Copenhagen he studied philosophy, microphysics, and in Vienna – history. His teaching career began in Vienna as an assistant professor of the Vienna Institute of Arts and Sciences. From 1951 he lectured at the University of Bristol, from 1958 he worked in the U.S. (because of this it is usually ranked among the American Scientists). 

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Name Feyerabend has acquired international fame thanks to the concept of “epistemological anarchism”. Furthermore, Feyerabend criticizes the view that the theory is just a convenient scheme for organizing facts. He emphasizes that every scientific theory has its own special way of viewing the world. Her perception is influenced by people’s shared beliefs and expectations, and through this – the experience and our perception of the real. It turns out that the “facts” and “experimental results”, serve as a measure of reliability theory in the classical science, is not so infallible, but rather due to the original setting of the researcher. On the basis of this statement, Feyerabend introduces the rule, which states that it is necessary to introduce and develop hypotheses that are incompatible with the well-grounded theory that existed previously with the facts and the experimental data. Because it is often the evidence that can disprove a theory, it can be obtained only by using an alternative that is incompatible with this theory. The recommendation to use an alternative only after a denial has discredited the orthodox theory, puts, according to Feyerabend, the cart before the horse. The rule of the Feyerabend puts the basis of its pluralistic methodology. In the article against the methodological constraint (Against Method, London: Verso, 1975) Feyerabend wrote that a true scientist should “compare ideas with other ideas, not experience, and seek to improve those concepts that were defeated in the competition, rather than discard them”. In doing so, he retains the concept of man and cosmos as contained in the book of Life or Pomander, and will use them to gauge the success of the theory of evolution and other innovative concepts. Feyerabend gained fame largely due to the requirement to develop incompatible with the facts of the theory on the grounds, that there was no single more or less interesting theory, which is consistent with all known facts. It was for the possible existence of a pluralistic methodology to the lack of established standards, propaganda, coercion. Hence the thesis that “everything is permissible” (“anything goes”).

Feyerabend said that science is a relatively new form of knowledge that occurred two hundred years ago, which was born in a fierce conflict with religion and, perhaps, itself sooner or later be barred from forward positions in any other form of knowledge. Science is much closer to myth than willing to allow philosophy of science. It dazzles only those who have already decided in favor of a particular ideology or not at all reflect on the advantages and limitations of science. After all, modern science is dominated not by virtue of its merits, but because of the organized for her advocacy and promotions. This is a form of ideology, and it, according to Feyerabend, should be separated from the state, as is already done in regard to religion. How can be organized the state, in which there is an approach to science?

First of all, Feyerabend rejects the idea that to solve the problems there should be a theory, developed by experts, for example, intellectuals who explain what is possible and what is impossible. In a free society, intellectuals, and ideas that their value, and the ways that they deem most appropriate, represent only one of many traditions. Problems are solved by non-specialist (though their advice is not ignored). Feyerabend writes: “But take, for example, the idea of motion of the Earth. It originated in antiquity, was defeated by arguments and then was considered an incredible absurdity of Ptolemy, and, nevertheless, returned in triumph in the 18 century. One can cite many other examples to prove the following moral: the time lag in the development of some ideology (which is a bunch of theories, connected with a specific method and more general philosophical concept) should not be considered grounds for its removal.”

To create a free society, there should be provided equal rights to all traditions, but in order to implement this project to change the structure of society from the ideological to the protective (do not impose a theory as required, but supporting all theories). Of course, Feyerabend often has been accused of outrageous and utopian, but we cannot deny the positive influence of his critics on the academic, an established and dogmatize science.

In his book Against Method and Science in a free society, Feyerabend defended the idea that there is no methodological rules, which are always used by scientists. He opposed a single, tradition, scientific method, arguing that any such method of putting some limits on the activities of scientists, and thus limits of the progress. According to his view, science would benefit most from a “dose” of anarchism in scientific theory. He also believed that anarchism in theory is desirable, because it is more humanistic approach than the other scientific systems, since it does not force scientists to rigid rules.

Can we exclude the possibility that the presently known science, or “search for truth” in the style of traditional philosophy, will turn a man into a monster? Is it possible to exclude the possibility that it will be waning man turned into a miserable, moody, arrogant mechanism, devoid of charm and sense of humor? “Can we rule out the possibility – asks Kierkegaard – that my work as an objective or rational critical observer of nature weakens my human nature?” “I believe that the answer to all these questions must be negative, and I am sure that Reform of Sciences will make them more anarchistic and more subjective (in Kierkegaard’s sense) is essential.” (Against Method)

Feyerabend’s position in the philosophical community is radical enough, since it implies that philosophy cannot successfully describe science as a whole, nor can it develop a method of separating scientific papers on nonscientific entities, such as myths. It also suggests that developed and recommended by the philosophy of “common course” of science should be rejected by scientists, if it is necessary for further progress.

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To support his contention that adherence to methodological rules does not lead to success in science, Feyerabend cites examples to refute statements that would (correctly) help the science is valid corresponds to certain fixed rules. He considers some of the episodes in the history of science considered as the indisputable examples of progress in science (such as the scientific revolution of Copernicus), and shows that in these cases violated all accepted rules of science. Moreover, he argues that if these rules are adhered to, then in these historical situations scientific revolution could not happen.

One of the criteria for evaluating scientific theories, which have been actively criticized by Feyerabend – is a criterion for consistency. He points out that the insistence on the fact that the new theory has consistently continued the old theory that gives undue advantage of the old theories, and that the sequence with respect to the old theories does not lead to the fact that the new theory describes reality better than another new theory, which is a sequence not in compliance. That is, if you need to choose between two equally compelling theories, the choice of one of them, which is compatible with the old, already invalid theory will be more aesthetic choice, rather than rational. After the “acquaintance” with such theory, scientists can also be harmful because they do not discard much long-standing bias in the transition to a new theory.

Many critics agree with Feyerabend . He states that everyone has the right to choose. And the option “do not drown” is not necessarily true. In other words, it seems that Feyerabend does not believe the pursuit of truth and objectivity, knowledge of concepts about the really important goal. The first step in the critique of conventional human concepts and responses is to get out of the circle and either to invent a new conceptual system, such as a new theory that comes into conflict with the most firmly established observational results and reverses the most plausible theoretical principles, or to transfer a system of what is science, of religion, mythology, from the ideas of incompetent people, or from the ravings of a madman. – Feyerabend 1993. One problem is the concept that blurs the line between Feyerabend process of the invention of a scientific theory and its justification. Arguing that the source of the theory can be “anything goes”, he denies the need for rational justification of the theory, thus diverting their concept to the region of extreme relativism.

For all the apparent humanity of the concept, the desire to create a society where everyone will be developed individually, and the state will protect all forms of knowledge, Feyerabend provisions are too general and abstract. In any of his works he does not explain what in fact is bad in this or that theory, or whether the generally accepted concept about the world order are false.

Towards a theory of epistemological anarchism, Feyerabend push its social and political beliefs. He always came to the consideration of science and its methodology from the standpoint of humanism, happiness, and the free development of all people.He opposed to the spiritual enslavement of people, and rebels against the science when it dogmatization is used as a bondage. Anarchism of Feyerabend – is, in fact, a rebellion against the spiritual slavery, which keeps people’s bourgeois culture.


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