Paul Karl Feyerabend: Anarchy in Science

Paul Karl Feyerabend: Anarchy in Science

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Born in Austria, Feyerabend was a student of Karl Popper at the London School of Economics, but he clearly differed from Popper’s rational science model.

During his 1960s and 1970s at the University of California, he befriended the German-born philosopher Thomas Kuhn, who argued that scientific development was not gradual, but rather leaps in the form of “paradigm shifts” that led to entirely new frameworks for scientific thought. Feyerabend goes further and argues that when this happens all scientific concepts and terms change, so there is no permanent framework of meaning.

Anarchy in science Feyerabend’s most famous book, “Method Versus: An Anarchist Theory of Knowledge,” was first published in 1975. Feyerabend here introduces his vision of what he calls “epistemological anarchism.” Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with questions and theories about knowledge, and Feyerabend’s “anarchism” stems from the idea that all the methods used by the sciences are limited in scope.

In conclusion, there is no such thing as the “scientific method”. If we look at how science progresses and develops in practice, the only method we will discern will be “anything is possible”. Feyerabend argues that science has never developed according to strict rules, and that philosophy of science will limit scientific progress if it demands such rules.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook