Author Archives: Paul Newall

Feyerabend and historiographic proliferation

In the introduction to his Against Method, Paul Feyerabend paraphrased V.I. Lenin by claiming that history is “always richer in content, more varied, more many-sided, more lively and subtle” than “the best historian and the best methodologist can imagine”. He … Continue reading

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Anything goes? Feyerabend and method

This entry looks at Paul Feyerabend’s reductio ad absurdum of specific rationalist conceptions of scientific method, perhaps one of the least understood arguments in the philosophy of science. I explain the structure of the reductio before considering how Feyerabend applied … Continue reading

Posted in Feyerabend, Galileo, History and Philosophy of Science, History of Science, Philosophy of Science | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

On Lutz on Laudan and demarcation

In his (draft) paper On an Allegedly Essential Feature of Demarcation Criteria of Science, Sebastian Lutz claims that demarcation does not require a criterion that is both a necessary and sufficient condition, as had been discussed in Laudan’s famous paper … Continue reading

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The politics of demarcation

Abstract: Is it better to have demarcation criteria that allow us to demarcate in practice rather than ones that are philosophically rigorous? This entry looks again at the demarcation problem and considers the criticism that philosophical treatments of it fail … Continue reading

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Ockham’s Razor

Ockham’s Razor, otherwise called the principle of the economy of thought, is often invoked in debate or arguments, usually to discard or count against one or more theories on the basis that another exists that is simpler or more parsimonious. … Continue reading

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Feyerabend on Kuhn and Historiography

This entry looks at some comments from the first of two letters of 1960-61 that Feyerabend wrote to Kuhn concerning a draft copy of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (SSR), on which Feyerabend was commenting. He objected that in SSR … Continue reading

Posted in Feyerabend, History and Philosophy of Science, History of Science, Philosophy of History, Philosophy of Science | 3 Comments

Astrology and its problems: Popper, Kuhn and Feyerabend

The merits or otherwise of astrology have been subject to much discussion recently, resulting in attacks that have been critiqued by Rebecca Higgitt, amongst others. The problem, according to Higgitt, is that astrology is “rubbish” but not because of the … Continue reading

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Demarcation’s revisited demise

The latest edition of Synthese is dedicated to “Evolution and its rivals” and includes a contribution by Robert Pennock entitled Can’t philosophers tell the difference between science and religion?: Demarcation revisited (originally published in 2009). This piece is highly critical … Continue reading

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Rejecting collective guilt

Hans Kundnani commented on a cover story in Die Zeit, which reported on attitudes among German teenagers toward the Nazi past. The general sentiment, it seems, was “Was geht das mich noch an?” (Perhaps “why would it still matter to … Continue reading

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Expertise and participation

In his discussion of experts and democracy, Peter uses an article by Philip Kitcher to begin asking questions about the role of experts in democracies, particularly with regard to decision making. Kitcher’s review reports the belief that “genuine democratic participation … Continue reading

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