Paul Karl Feyerabend was a scientist, philosopher and methodologist of science. Feyerabend became known for his anarchist views on the process of scientific knowledge, and claims that in science there are no universal methodological rules. He was an influential figure in the philosophy of science and the sociology of scientific knowledge.
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Epistemological anarchism (anarchist theory of knowledge) – is a relativistic concept, created by the philosopher of science, an American of Austrian origin, Paul Feyerabend and he disclosed in his paper “Against Method”. This approach declares that there are no universal criteria for true knowledge, and the imposition of such criteria, the state or society considers to be an obstacle to the free development of science. Each scholar is free to develop their idea, no matter how absurd or out of date it may seem, and each of us, in turn, should be free to choose, which of these theories agree and adhere to any views.
He likes the epistemological anarchism, which does not substantiate any of his positions and does not commit to any public organization or the type of ideology. He is opposed to all programs at all. Science is essentially an anarchist enterprise: theoretical anarchism is more human and progressive than its alternatives, based on law and order. – Paul Feyerabend, “Against Method.”
Feyerabend believes that the establishment of clear universal standards in the department of real knowledge of the false is artificial and detrimental effect on the development of knowledge. “The idea of the method containing the rigid, unchanging, and absolutely binding principles of scientific activity, is facing considerable difficulties in comparing the results of historical research. In this case, it appears that there are no rules – no matter how plausible and epistemologically justified it may seem – that at any given time it would not be infringed. ” – Paul Feyerabend. “Against Method”.
“Anything goes”. According to the epistemological anarchism, the only principle which should adhere to this is the principle of “anything goes”. According to it, every scientist is free to invent their own concept and defend it. And the arguments are selected at random, in agreement with the personal interests and the desire to impress others, boredom, etc. They are not obliged to comply with the request confirmation experience, falsification or something else, apart from the requirement of maximum credibility to other people.
In turn, each of us should be free to decide – to support or not support a theory or hypothesis, advocated by a scientist. Neither the state nor society can impose on a person criteria for separation of true knowledge from false. In this regard, Feyerabend speaks specifically for the separation of science from the State. According to him, standardized education, as well as some taken for public research institutions views, scientific dogma was imposed on people working in this field, which led to stagnation in science, they are driving it into the narrow framework.
In light of the fact that modern society was made to separate science from religion, to consider them irreconcilable opposites, Feyerabend cites the example of such an outstanding personality as Newton. As you know, the great physicist was inspired by the idea of God, religious cosmogony. The fact that Newton was the prerequisite of divine science, points out that loyalty to the strict separation of science from religion and myth, at least is not unique.
Critique of Feyerabend had a significant impact on the development of theories of science Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, and others. In his books “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 the progress. He also believed that anarchism in theory is rather desirable, because it is more humanistic approach than the other scientific systems, since it does not force scientists to rigid rules. 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 “common course” of science should be rejected by scientists, if it is necessary for further progress. To support his contention that adherence to methodological rules does not lead to success in science. He considers some of the episodes in the history of science that are considered indisputable examples of progress in science (such as the scientific revolution of Copernicus), and shows that in these cases there were 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, as stated in Hump-Day History: Paul Feyerabend and Epistemological Anarchism.
In his book Against Method and Science in a free society, Feyerabend defended the idea that there are 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 the progress, as described in Paul Feyerabend’s Against Method: A Brief Take. According to his view, science would benefit most from a “dose” of anarchism in scientific theory. “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?”
Against Method is a critique of the logic of rational scientific method, based on a detailed study of key episodes in the history of science. Historical research concludes that contrary to have a method with fixed principles, that there is a rule that is broken, indicating that the infringement is not accidental but necessary for the advancement of science. Feyerabend claims that, despite this, there is a continuing effort to confine the scientific process within the limits of rationalism, a specialist so that a person ends up being voluntarily submitted to a series of restrictions on his way of thinking, acting and even to express. Science education today is seen as a simplification of rationality that is achieved through simplification of the people involved in science, as described in For and Against Method by Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend.
An essential part of all theories of induction is the rule that says that the facts measure the success of a theory. Feyerabend suggests proceed inductively, but with contradictions, for example, introducing hypotheses inconsistent with theories, or well-established facts.
Feyerabend argued that no theory could ever be consistent with all relevant facts. For example, with a theory of gravitation Newton’s institution have had serious difficulties from the outset quantitative variance with observed facts. This has not stopped the key for centuries and is considered a model of scientific theory. In these cases, instead of discarding the theory because he disagreed with the facts is used to approximate or invents a hypothesis (“an ad hoc hypothesis,” says Feyerabend) that covers the inconsistency. The usual approach in philosophy of science is to dismiss such ad hoc hypotheses to go against the rationalistic method. However, according to Feyerabend, it is a fact that such assumptions are abundant in the body of science. Lakatos also one of the main followers of Popper, believes that any new theory that proposes to replace a refuted theory in the background is not more than (and could not be otherwise) an ad hoc theory.
Most critics agree with the opinion of Feyerabend about the abstract consideration of the scientific method. However, its epistemological anarchism Feyerabend criticized previously in positivist philosophy, comes, in their view, to an extreme relativism, on the one hand destroying outdated dogma, but on the other hand turning into nonsense. Feyerabend’s original assertion about the existence of a single principle does not impede progress, the principle of “anything goes” is illogical: All methodologies have their limitations, and the only “rule”, which preserves the value is: “anything goes”. – Feyerabend, 1979.
Taking as a starting point a correct statement of – “All methodologies have their limitations – Feyerabend makes the leap to a false conclusion: “Everything will come down.” For example, there are many ways to swim, they all have their limitations, but not all movements of the body in the water are equally good (unless of course you do not want to drown). There is no one single way to the police investigation, but that does not mean that all methods are equally reliable.