Science in Modern World

Topics: Scientific method, Philosophy of science, Epistemology Pages: 7 (2153 words) Published: March 4, 2013
At the sight of the “image of science”, what immediately comes to mind is a regimented pattern of thought/process of attaining knowledge but Paul Feyerabend, an Austrian-born philosopher of science presents one of the most thought provoking accounts of science in contemporary times in his “anarchism” which has seriously challenged the supposed rational image of science. Fundamentally, Feyerabend believes that the whole notion of a methodology of science is illusive, arguing that science is essentially an archaistic enterprise. Therefore, “theoretical anarchism” according to Feyerabend, is a more humanitarian and more likely to encourage progress than its law-and order alternative. In any case, we shall see later that Feyerabend upheld this view only as a means to argue for a more viable and pragmatic philosophy of science. In doing this, we shall assume the following steps: * Brief History of Feyerabend

* The Meaning of Anarchism
* The Principles of “Anything Goes”
* Epistemological Anarchism
* The Views of Some Scholars
* Critique of Feyerabend
* Evaluation/Conclusion
Brief History of Feyerabend
Paul Feyerabend (b.1924, d.1994), having studied science at the University of Vienna, moved into philosophy for his doctoral thesis, made a name for himself both as an expositor and (later) as a critic of Karl Popper's ‘critical rationalism’, and went on to become one of this century's most famous philosophers of science. An imaginative maverick, he became a critic of philosophy of science itself, particularly of ‘rationalist’ attempts to lay down or discover rules of scientific method. The Meaning of Anarchism

Anarchism is a derivative of the Greek word “anarchos” which means “without government”. It is opposed to all forms of government and its primary claim is that individual freedom should be absolute. A hard core anarchist would be therefore, uphold that the highest attainment of humanity is the freedom of the individual to express himself unhindered by any form of repression or control from without. Thus, one of the ideals of political anarchism is the assumption that the perfection of humanity will not be attained until all forms of government are abolished, and each individual is left absolutely free. The 19th century French writer Pierre Joseph Proudhom who is generally regarded as the father of philosophic anarchism has upheld, for instance, that anarchism excludes authority from society. The obvious implication of this standpoint is that anarchism, if applied in the strict sense of it, sets up extreme individualism. And this is why anarchism as a political theory portends some negative tendencies. Hence, when Feyerabend thought of applying anarchism in philosophy of science, he carefully distanced himself from its negative aspects. That was why he stated that “….anarchism is certainly excellent medicine for epistemology and for the philosophy of science. The Principle of “Anything Goes”

A proper way to get an initial foothold of Paul Feyerabend’s position is to answer the question. What is Feyerabend against? What is he for? Why is he for the one and against the other? Basically, Feyerabend is opposed to Methodism in science and philosophy. This involves the idea of a method that contains firm, unchanging, and absolutely binding principles for conducting the business of science and philosophy. The idea that science can, and should be run according to fixed universal rules: the law-and-order view of science, among other methodical discourses. Here, the rules of Methodism are conceived as universal, fixed and prescriptive. Feyerabend claims that none of the methodologies of science has lived up to expectation. Specifically, he argues that none of them is compatible with the history of Physics. He avers that all methodologies of science have not provided adequate rules for the guidance of scientific activities. According to him, all scientific methodologies have their limitations...

Bibliography: A. F. Chalmers, What is this Thing Called Science? Buckingham: Open University Press, 1990.
Feyerabend P. K, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge, London: New Left, 1975.
Jerry Obi-Okogbuo, Philosophy and Logic, Owerri: Advanced Graphic, 2007.
Peter Alexander Kropotkin, Modern Science and Anarchism, Kropotkin’s Revolutionary Pamphalets, R. W. Baldwin(Ed), New York, 1970.
Paul Feyerabend, Against Method, London: Verso, 1975.
Stumph and Abel, Elements of Philosophy, New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2002.
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[ 3 ]. Feyerabend P. K, Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge, Pg. 1975
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