Feyerabend on the Ineffability of Reality
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Asa Kasher & Jeanine Diller (eds.), Models of God and Other Ultimate Realities. Kluwer. 849-860. (2013)
This paper explores the account of ‘ultimate reality’ developed in the later philosophy of Paul Feyerabend. The paper has five main parts, this introduction being the first. Part two surveys Feyerabend’s later work, locates it relative to his more familiar earlier work in the philosophy of science, and identifies the motivations informing his interest in ‘ultimate reality’. Part three offers an account of Feyerabend’s later metaphysics, focusing on the account given in his final book, Conquest of Abundance. Part four then assesses Feyerabend’s related claims that ‘ultimate reality’—or ‘Being’—is both ‘ineffable’ and ‘abundant’, and tries to reconcile these two ‘doctrines’ with one another. I conclude in part five that into his later period Feyerabend offers a positive account of ‘ultimate reality’ which identifies it as receptive to a radical plurality of modes of inquiry and forms of knowledge. Such ‘abundance’ arises from the interaction of human cognitive and creative capacities with ‘ineffable Being’ on the other, such that ‘ultimate reality’ itself remains ‘forever unknowable’.
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