The book traces the evolution of Feyerabend's thought, beginning with his early attempt to graft insights from Wittgenstein's conception of meaning onto Popper's falsificationist philosophy. The key elements of Feyerabend's model of the acquisition of knowledge are identified and critically evaluated. Feyerabend's early work emerges as a continuation of Popper's philosophy of science, rather than as a contribution to the historical approach to science with which he is usually associated.
In his more notorious later work, Feyerabend claimed that there was, and should be, no such thing as the scientific method. The roots of Feyerabend's 'epistemological anarchism' are exposed and the weaknesses of his cultural relativism are brought out.
Throughout the book, Preston discusses the influence of Feyerabend's thought on contemporary philosophers and traces his stimulating but divided legacy. The book will be of interest to students of philosophy, methodology, and the social sciences.
* Exam copies only available to lecturers for whom the book may be suitable as a course text.
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'Preston provides a sympathetic but critical account of Feyerabend's work. The scope is comprehensive and the treatment is fair-minded, sensible and thoroughly professional. The content is certainly better than anything I have encountered on Feyerabend. It can be read by those who have not read Feyerabend and by those whose acquaintance with philosophy of science is limited or non-existent.' William Newton-Smith, Balliol College, Oxford
'John Preston has done us a signal service in charting the chages in Feyerabend's thought and in sympathetically explaining why he thought what he did.' Mind
Notes on References.
Introduction: Feyerabend's Life and Work.
1. Philosophy and the Aim of Science.
2. Meaning: The Attack on Positivism.
3. Theories of Observation.
4. Scientific Realism and Instrumentalism.
5. Theoretical Monism.
7. Theoretical Pluralism.
9. Science without Method.
10. Relativism, Rationalism and a Free Society.