The abundant world: Paul Feyerabend's metaphysics of science

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 57:142-154 (2016)
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The goal of this paper is to provide an interpretation of Feyerabend's metaphysics of science as found in late works like Conquest of Abundance and Tyranny of Science. Feyerabend's late metaphysics consists of an attempt to criticize and provide a systematic alternative to traditional scientific realism, a package of views he sometimes referred to as “scientific materialism.” Scientific materialism is objectionable not only on metaphysical grounds, nor because it provides a poor ground for understanding science, but because it implies problematic claims about the epistemic and cultural authority of science, claims incompatible with situating science properly in democratic societies. I show how Feyerabend's metaphysical view, which I call “the abundant world” or “abundant realism,” constitute a sophisticated and challenging form of ontological pluralism that makes interesting connections with contemporary philosophy of science and issues of the political and policy role of science in a democratic society.



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Matthew J. Brown
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

Citations of this work

Was Feyerabend a Postmodernist?Ian James Kidd - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):55-68.
John Dewey's pragmatist alternative to the belief-acceptance dichotomy.Matthew J. Brown - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 53:62-70.

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References found in this work

Realist Ennui and the Base Rate Fallacy.P. D. Magnus & Craig Callender - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (3):320-338.
Mind-body identity, privacy, and categories.Richard Rorty - 1965 - Review of Metaphysics 19 (1):24-54.
Materialism and the mind-body problem.Paul Feyerabend - 1963 - Review of Metaphysics 17 (1):49-67.
How to defend society against science.Paul Feyerabend - 1975 - Radical Philosophy 11 (1):3-9.

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