File feyerabend/feyerabend.0601, message 5


Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 07:11:35 -0000 (UTC)
To: feyerabend-AT-lists.driftline.org
Subject: [PKF] There's no such thing I tell you!


Hi folks,

Feyerabend believed there to be no such thing as the scientific method.
That’s what *they* say about him if you care to google a bit. And
why shouldn’t they? He wrote a book entitled "Against Method" after
all.

The funny thing is that, I don’t remember Feyerabend using those
words --"there is no scientific method". But my memory is bad, and most of
my Feyerabend books are back in Sweden where I used to live. In any case
I’m stuck, for a moment, with a sense of discomfort when I see this
routine introduction.

I’m wondering what I should attribute that discomfort to. Is it that
I’m offended at the gross simplification of Feyerabend’s
philosophy?  It could be that, although it’s in the nature of
introductions to simplify. Or possibly I find it disheartening that
Feyerabend rarely gets more attention than this meagre reference.

It is possible though, that putting these words into Feyerabend’s
mouth doesn’t do him justice even as an introduction. It might be
going too far to call the words misleading, but "no such thing as
scientific method" doesn't seem to strike the nail squarely on the head.

What would that mean: "no such thing"? Perhaps it has something to do with
the lack of a good definition. Historical exponents of scientific method
like Francis Bacon, Descartes and Newton did not produce identical, or
even similar, methods. And the modern day, bullet point version of the
method changes in detail with every presentation. But I can’t
imagine Feyerabend getting hung up of definitions. If this really is what
he thought, then it must be in practical terms that we see there is "no
such thing".

Anyway, I thought that by writing things out like this I would achieve
some kind of clarity. But now it’s late and the only thing that
I’m clear on is that I should get some sleep.

Goodnight to you all,

/Chris Steinbach

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