Given any rule, however �fundamental� or �necessary� for science, there are always circumstances when it is advisable not only to ignore the rule, but to adopt its opposite.

— Paul Feyerabend

The most informative Paul Feyerabend quotes you will be delighted to read

The only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths.

44

The only principle that does not inhibit progress is: anything goes.

32

The separation of state and church must be complemented by the separation of state and science, that most recent, most aggressive, and most dogmatic religious institution.

27

My intention is not to replace one set of general rules by another such set: my intention is, rather, to convince the reader that all methodologies, even the most obvious ones, have their limits.

21

The best education consists in immunizing people against systematic attempts at education.

20

Traditions are neither good nor bad, they simply are.

.. Rationality is not an arbiter of traditions, it is itself a tradition or an aspect of a tradition.

19

Yes, the academic world is screwed up, and there is nothing you can do about it.

But don't worry about that. Just do what you want. If you know what you want to do and advocate for it, no one will put any energy into stopping you.

18

Teachers' using grades and the fear of failure mould the brains of the young until they have lost every ounce of imagination they might once have possessed.

18

No single theory ever agrees with all the facts in its domain

17

Without a constant misuse of language there cannot be any discovery, any progress

14

Early Chinese thinkers had taken variety at face value.

They had favored diversification and collected anomalies instead of trying to explain them away.

13

Science is essentially an anarchic enterprise: theoretical anarchism is more humanitarian and more likely to encourage progress than its law-and-order alternatives.

13

About Paul Feyerabend

Quotes 62 sayings
Nationality Austrian
Profession Philosopher
Birthday October 16

Taking experimental results and observations for granted and putting the burden of proof on the theory means taking the observational ideology for granted without having ever examined it.

10

Rationalism... is a secularized form of the belief in the power of the word of God.

10

Ultimate Reality, if such an entity can be postulated, is ineffable.

10

The church at the time was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and also took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo's doctrine. Its verdict against Galileo was rational and just.

7

Today science prevails not because of its comparative merits, but because the show has been rigged in its favour... It reigns supreme because some past successes have led to institutional measures (education; role of experts; role of power groups such as the AMA) that prevent a comeback of the rivals.

7

The separation of science and non-science is not only artificial but also detrimental to the advancement of knowledge. If we want to understand nature, if we want to master our physical surroundings, then we must use all ideas, all methods, and not just a small selection of them.

5

I do not see why I should be polite to tyrants, who slobber of humanitarianism and think only of their own petty interests.

5

Rational discourse is only one way of presenting and examining an issue and by no means the best. Our new intellectuals are not aware of its limitations and of the nature of the things outside.

5

The validity of usefulness, adequacy of popular standards can be tested only by research that violates them.

5

Science is only ‘one’ of the many instruments people invented to cope with their surroundings. It is not the only one, it is not infallible and it has become too powerful, too pushy and too dangerous to be left on its own.

4

It is often assumed that science starts from facts and eschews counter-factual theories. Nothing could be further from the truth. What is one of the basic assumptions of the scientific world-view? That the variety of events that surrounds us is held together by a deeper unity.

4

No theory ever agrees with all the facts in its domain, yet it is not always the theory that is to blame. Facts are constituted by older ideologies, and a clash between facts and theories may be proof of progress. It is also a first step in our attempt to find the principles implicit in familiar observational notions.

3

An anarchist is like an undercover agent who plays the game of Reason in order to undercut the authority of Reason (Truth, Honesty, Justice and so on).

3

So far Unitarian realism claiming to possess positive knowledge about Ultimate Reality has succeeded only by excluding large areas of phenomena or by declaring, without proof, that they could be reduced to basic theory, which, in this connection, means elementary particle physics.

3

The attitude of the Church was not as dogmatic as is often assumed.

Interpretations of Bible passages had been revised in the light of scientific research before. Everyone regarded the earth as spherical and as freely floating in space though the Bible tells a different story.

2

First-world science is one science among many;

by claiming to be more it ceases to be an instrument of research and turns into a (political) pressure group.

2

When Western civilization invaded the Near and Far East and what is now called the Third World it imposed its own ideas of a proper environment and a rewarding life. Doing this, it disrupted the delicate patterns of adaptation and created problems that had not existed before.

2

A Universal Good should reflect the reality of the individual benefits that are collected under its name, not the other way around.

0

Knowledge is not a series of self-consistent theories that converges toward an ideal view; it is rather an ever increasing ocean of mutually incompatible (and perhaps even incommensurable) alternatives, each single theory, each fairy tale, each myth that is part of the collection forcing the others into greater articulation and all of them contributing, via this process of competition, to the development of our consciousness.

0

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.

0

Not only are facts and theories in constant disharmony, they are never as neatly separated as everyone makes them out to be.

0

A scientist, an artist, a citizen is not like a child who needs papa methodology and mama rationality to give him security and direction, he can take care of himself, for he is the inventor not only of laws, theories, pictures, plays, forms of music, ways of dealing with his fellow man, institutions, but also entire world view, he is the inventor of entire forms of like.

0

The idea of a method that contains firm, unchanging, and absolutely binding principles for conducting the business of science meets considerable difficulty when confronted with the results of historical research. We find, then, that there is not a single rule, however plausible, and however firmly grounded in epistemology, that is not violated at some time or another.

0

A free society is a society in which all traditions have equal rights and equal access to the centers of power. A tradition receives these rights not because the importance the cash value, as it were) it has for outsiders but because it gives meaning to the lives of those who participate in it.

0

Science is neither a single tradition, nor the best tradition there is, except for people who have become accustomed to its presence, its benefits and its disadvantages. In a democracy it should be separated from the state just as churches are now separated from the state.

0

I had studied Dadaism after the Second World War.

What attracted me to this movement was the style its inventors used when not engaged in Dadaistic activities. It was clear, luminous, simple without being banal, precise without being narrow; it was a style adapted to the expression of thought as well as of emotion. I connected this style with the Dadaistic exercises themselves

0

Science is not sacrosanct. The mere fact that it exists, is admired, has results is not sufficient for making it a measure of excellence. Modern science arose from global objections against earlier views and rationalism itself, the idea that there are general rules and standards for conducting our affairs, affairs of knowledge included, arose from global objections to common sense.

0

Every profession has an ideology and a drive for power that goes far beyond its achievements and it is the task of democracy to keep this ideology and this drive under control. Science is here no different from other institutions.

0

Arguments hardly affect the faithful- their beliefs have an entirely different foundation.

0

Facts are constituted by older ideologies, and a clash between facts and theories may be proof of progress.

0

The sciences of today are business enterprises run on business principles.

Research in large institutes is not guided by Truth and Reason but by the most rewarding fashion, and the great minds of today increasingly turn to where the money is - which means military matters.

0

Copernicanism and other essential ingredients of modern science survived only because reason was frequently overruled in their past.

0

Unanimity of opinion may be fitting for a church, for the frightened or greedy victims of some (ancient, or modern) myth, or for the weak and willing followers of some tyrant. Variety of opinion is necessary for objective knowledge. And a method that encourages variety is also the only method that is comparable with a humanitarian outlook.

0

Experience arises together with theoretical assumptions not before them, and an experience without theory is just as incomprehensible as is (allegedly) a theory without experience.

0

Confronted with such a variety most philosophers try to establish one approach to the exclusion of all others. As far as they are concerned there can only be one true way- and they want to find it. Thus normative philosophers argue that knowledge is a result of the application of certain rules, they propose rules which in their opinion constitute knowledge and reject what clashes with them.

0

Science is an essentially anarchic enterprise.

0

What is surprising is that almost all the trends that developed within the sciences, Aristotelianism and an extreme Platonism included, produced results, not only in special domains, but everywhere; there exist highly theoretical branches of biology and highly empirical parts of astrophysics. The world is a complex an many-sided thing.

0
famous quotes