Against Method, Against Science?: On Logic, Order, and Analogy in the Sciences

Against Method, Against Science?: On Logic, Order, and Analogy in the Sciences

Raymond Aaron Younis (University of Notre Dame – Sydney, Australia)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2443-4.ch010

Abstract

This chapter will focus on two questions, first, the question of Feyerabend's use of analogy, in Against Method, in order to give an account of science, scientific research, and/or scientific institutions in terms of fairy tales; second, it will focus on the question of whether the analogy holds up to critical scrutiny. Feyerabend uses “fairy tale” in a number of senses in Against Method; for example, he uses it to capture some misleading indeed erroneous views about methodology; he insists that the truth is at odds with the fairy tale and that the truth is that “all methodologies have their limits” (1980, p. 32); he takes it to mean not just an erroneous narrative but an erroneous or at the very least, questionable, narrative, which is promoted as true; he uses it in at least three other senses in the book. This chapter will then offer a detailed critique of the use of such analogies in Against Method in order to clarify the strengths and weaknesses of Feyerabend's argument.
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Background (And Literature Review)

Much has been written about Against Method but there has been relatively little research first on the use of analogy in the book and second, on the extent to which these analogies are convincing. This chapter will focus on both areas. “Analogy” will be understood conventionally, in a logical sense, as a likeness or a similarity between two or more things. “Science” will be understood conventionally also in the sense of a discipline that seeks to produce hypotheses which when tested empirically lead to theories, which in turn produce effective explanations of phenomena and allow us to make successful predictions, which in turn can be tested empirically also. It is acknowledged that there are other possible definitions of science, for example, Kuhn’s emphasis on the production of paradigms or Popper’s emphasis on methods of falsification (see for example Kuhn 2000, 1977, 1962 and 1957, among others, and Popper, 1959, 1963, 1966, 1972, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1992 and 1994B, among many others, for discussions of falsification, realism, objective knowledge and rationality in the sciences).

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