Against method : outline of an anarchistic theory of knowledge

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  • Pages: 339
  • Support: Print
  • Format: 22 cm.
  • Languages: Anglais
  • Édition: Original
  • Location: London
  • ISBN: 0902308912
  • URL: External link
  • Creation date: 04-01-2011
  • Last update: 12-11-2015



In this work, Feyerabend argues that science is an anarchic enterprise. In the context of this work, the term anarchy refers to epistemological anarchy. Feyerabend divides his argument into an abstract critique followed by a number of historical case studies. – The abstract critique is a reductio ad absurdum of methodological monism (the belief that a single methodology can produce scientific progress). Feyerabend goes on to identify four features of methodological monism: the principle of falsification, a demand for increased empirical content, the forbidding of ad hoc hypotheses and the consistency condition. He then demonstrates that these features imply that science could not progress, hence an absurdity for proponents of the scientific method. – The historical case studies also act as a reductio. Feyerabend takes the premise that Galileo's advancing of a heliocentric cosmology was an example of scientific progress. He then demonstrates that Galileo did not adhere to the conditions of methodological monism. Feyerabend also argues that, if Galileo had adhered to the conditions of methodological monism, then he could not have advanced a heliocentric cosmology. This implies that scientific progress would have been impaired by methodological monism. Again, an absurdity for proponents of the scientific method. Feyerabend summarises his reductio with the phrase "anything goes". This is the only overarching methodology he can offer which does not inhibit the progress of science. M.-M. V.