Paul feyerabend berkeley

Paul Feyerabend (January 13, 1924 - February 11, 1994)

  • Early Life

    Early Life
    Feyerabend was born in Vienna and struggled as a child with sickness. Upon starting school his sickness seemed to disappear, excelling as a student he quickly became a master in physics and math with a passion for the theatrical arts. As a distinguished singer and took an interest in philosophy as well. Upon graduating the second world war had broken out. He was drafted into the Arbeitsdienst (the Nazi's creation of a civil work service). Attaining the rank of major by the end of the war.
  • Feyerabends Return to Vienna

    Feyerabends Return to Vienna
    Upon his return to Vienna, this is where his philosphical journey started. He became focused as a radical positivist with an outlook that "science is the basis of knowledge; that it is empirical; and that nonempirical enterprises are either logic or nonsense" (Preston). It was during his time here that he was introducted to Karl Popper. He took an interest in Popper views and ideologies and was a major influcence on Feyerabends work both positive and negative.
  • Development of His Theroies

    Development of His Theroies
    During this period he developed his philosophy in his most famous papers on the ideas of realism stating that "science needs realism in order to progress, and that positivism would stultify such progress" (Preston). This development came after his time at the Alpbach symposium as a student, lecturer, and seminar chair, and finally took up the post of scientific secretary. He describes this as the most defining moment in his life and the start of his career.
  • Colston Research Symposium

    Colston Research Symposium
    A long-running contribution to his work was his iteration that "there is no separate and neutral “observation-language” or “everyday language” against which the theoretical statements of science are tested, but that “the everyday level is part of the theoretical rather then something self-contained and independent”" (Preston). This showcased a different path from his positivist conception of theories and furthermore took a step forward on Popper's conception of the matter.
  • Epistemological Anarchism

    Epistemological Anarchism
    Considered his major contribution to science Feyerabend introduced this terminology in his book the Against Method in which his thesis states that "there is no such thing as the scientific method. Great scientists are methodological opportunists who use any moves that come to hand, even if they thereby violate canons of empiricist methodology." (Preston). His out-of-the-box thinking on the scientific method was not very well received by his peers and was labeled as an irrationalist.
  • Philosphical Viewpoints and Death

    Philosphical Viewpoints and Death
    With his book Against Method, he wanted people to see that there is no linear path to the pursuit of knowledge. He wanted people to think and see in a manner that didn't narrow their vision or the way how things are in the world. His accounts were viewed in a very negative manner and so he replied in kind. Writing the book Science in Free Society he titled a section "Conversations with Illiterates" in which he took all his frustrations out. Falling into a deep depression after the fact.