Paul Feyerabend and science

For those of you who dont know him, he was a philosopher of science. He wrote well into the 90s, he was strongly againts scientific method and questioned the truth value of science. The paragraphs below should give you a flavor of his understanding of science. I putting this up because most of us are unaware of any criticisms that have been levelled againts science; infact some of the ‘intelligent’ people I have spoken to about this issue, because they have no idea about what they are talking about, start talking about all the technologies that have come out of science … out of their addiction for the comforts from these technologies they passionately defend science.

I am not saying I agree with everything he is says, I am just saying, where science is concerned I am not a believer, nor an unbeliever but an agnostic.


Feyerabend saw himself as having undermined the arguments for science’s privileged position within culture, and much of his later work was a critique of the position of science within Western societies. Because there is no scientific method, we can’t justify science as the best way of acquiring knowledge. And the results of science don’t prove its excellence, since these results have often depended on the presence of non-scientific elements, science prevails only because “the show has been rigged in its favour” (SFS, p. 102), and other traditions, despite their achievements, have never been given a chance. The truth, he suggests, is that

science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. It is one of the many forms of thought that have been developed by man, and not necessarily the best. It is conspicuous, noisy, and impudent, but it is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favour of a certain ideology, or who have accepted it without ever having examined its advantages and its limits (AM, p. 295).

The separation of church and state should therefore be supplemented by the separation of science and state, in order for us to achieve the humanity we are capable of. Setting up the ideal of a free society as “a society in which all traditions have equal rights and equal access to the centres of power” (SFS, p. 9), Feyerabend argues that science is a threat to democracy. To defend society against science we should place science under democratic control and be intensely sceptical about scientific “experts”, consulting them only if they are controlled democratically by juries of laypeople.


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