Feyerabend's Philosophy

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Walter de Gruyter, 2006 - Philosophy - 321 pages
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Paul Feyerabend ranks among the most exciting and influential philosophers of science of the twentieth century. This reconstruction of his developing ideas combines historical and systematic considerations.
Part I examines the three main influences on Feyerabend's philosophical development: Wittgenstein's later philosophy, Popper critical rationalism and Ehrenhaft's experimental effects.
Part II focuses on Feyerabend's development and use of the notion of incommensurability at the heart of his philosophical critiques, and investigates his relation to realism. Feyerabend initially developed the notion of incommensurability from ideas he found in Duhem. He used the notion of incommensurability to attack many different forms of conceptual conservativism in philosophy and the natural sciences. He argued against many views on the grounds that that they would constrain the freedom necessary to develop alternative points of view, and thereby hinder scientific advance. Contrary to widespread opinion, he was never a scientific realist.
Part III reconstructs Feyerabend's pluralistic conception of knowledge in the context of his pluralistic philosophical method. Feyerabend was a philosophical pluralist, who practiced pluralism in pursuit of progress.

 

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Contents

Introduction
17
Feyerabends Philosophical Development
25
Ludwig Wittgenstein Meaning and ontology
43
Karl Popper Using and abusing critical rationalism
77
Felix Ehrenhaft The impotence of experiment
116
Feyerabends Assault on Conceptual Conservativism
123
Incommensurability and scientific realism
180
Feyerabends Philosophical Pluralism
206
The role of alternatives in promoting progress
227
Feyerabends philosophical pluralism 1950s1990s
262
Feyerabends Philosophy? Pluralism for Progress
284
Index
317
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About the author (2006)

Eric Oberheim, Humboldt-Universit t, Berlin, Germany.

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