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Tightrope-Walking Rationality

In , Feyerabend entered the Weimar Music Academy, where he studied theater science. He also began to take singing lessons again and was told that he was not a bass but a tenor.

Critics compared him to the Austrian-Czech tenor Leo Slezak - In the late s, Feyerabend joined an informal philosophy group, named the Kraft-Kreis after Viktor Kraft, a member of the old Vienna Circle. Its meetings took place in Alpbach, a small mountain village near Brixlegg in the Tyrol. The visiting speakers included Elizabet Anscombe, Georg Henrik von Wright , and Ludwig Wittgenstein, who enjoyed the disrespectful attitude and impudent questions of the students. Before they actually met, Feyerabend had skimmed through Popper's Logik der Forschung , and had formed a mental image: "he would be tall, thin, serious, slow and deliberate in his speaking.

He was the very opposite. He considered Popper's philosophy as internally inconsistent, in that Popper did not support methodological pluralism, though he advocated theoretical pluralism.

Moreover, Feyerabend stressed the impossibility of comparing theories. Feyerabend married his first wife, Edeltrud, a student of ethnology, in After receiving his Ph. For a year, he worked as an assistant to Arthur Pap, and then, in , he went to Bristol, where he taught philosophy of science and the philosophy of quantum mechanics. The course weas a disaster, confessed Feyerabend in his autobiography. In , Feyerabend married Mary O'Neill, his former student — "a masterful performance on my part, full of passion and despair, finally brought her around," Feyerabend said later.

Feyerabend and Scientific Values - Robert P Farrell - Bok () | Bokus

However, soon after the honeymoon was over the marriage started falling apart, and Mary moved to the second bedroom. From to , until his retirement, Feyerabend was a professor at the University of California in Berkeley. On the wall of his Berkeley home he hung giant King Kong poster. During these years he became acquainted with Thomas Kuhn, the writer of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions , who first coined the phrase "paradigm shift" Kuhn argued that scientific progress is not gradual, but crisis in "normal science" is sometimes resolved by a revolution that replaces the old paradigm with a new one.

The competing paradigms are incommensurable.

Feyerabend and the Cranks: On Demarcation, Epistemic Virtues, and Astrology, Jamie Shaw

The American philosopher Hilary Putnam has argued that if Kuhn's incommensurability thesis were true then we could not translate other languages at all. Feyerabend went even further and suggested that the new theories are not only inconsistent with the old theories, but at the same time a corresponding change takes place in the concepts and the so-called scientific observation terms. There is, in other words, no permanent neutral framework of meanings.

I would also recommend her book because it's a way to engage with the idea of scientific pluralism without getting caught up in some of the I think dead end debates that were sometimes more academic screaming matches over post-modernism. Also I think feminist philosophy of science has done a much better, nuanced job of responding to positions like Feyerabend's than a lot of 'mainstream' philosophy of science has.


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Now a days, a lot of Fem Phil of Sci is basically mainstream Phil of Sci, but back in the 90s, it wasn't. The best response to Feyerabend that I've read is Feyerabend and Scientific Values: Tightrope-Walking Rationality by Farrell, although he is more interested in explaining Feyerabend's views than challenging them.

Feyerabend And Scientific Values Tightrope Walking Rationality

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2. Feyerabend's Early Life

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