Feyerabend

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Wed Jun 21 14:10:50 MDT 1995


Ron situates Feyerabend a bit--a renegade Popperian, and notes that his
politics are hard to classify--"lefty anarchist"--and his philosophical
views deliberately provocative, even more his expression of them. I think
this is quite right, although he musn't be regarded as an
attention-seeking Bad Boy. He makes fun of the stuffed shirts in
philosophy and their ignorance of science, art, and litertaure, nevetr
mond politics. (Feyerabend is a cultivated European of a sort which no
longer really exists, knowledgeable in science and the humanities.) He
also makes fun of pretentious politics, especially that which claims a
scientific mantel. This means a lot of Marxism. But he's deadly serious
about human liberty. If he has views which would classify hiom on a
right-left spectrum beyond that, I don't know them. I tghink he would
regard the right-wing libertarianism of Hayek and Mises as antagonistic to
liberty, and would hate the company they keep. That might mean more to him
than their concrete views. He would have no truck with Popper's
conservative defense of social engineering--exactly the sort of thing he
attacks as hateful. But he would regard Leninist and Stalinist schemes for
social reconstruction with similar contempt. He's dismiss the pretentions
of Marxism to scientifity. I think we should take hom at his word that he
thinks the last word in political philosophy (and epistemology) is Mill's
On Liberty.

None of this tells that much on the tenability of his critique of
empiricism, his attack on Latakos' Rationalism (belief that there is a
Scientific Method), etc.

Feyerabend should be read. He's a blast.

--Justin Schwartz




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