Conquest of Abundance: A Tale of Abstraction versus the Richness of Being

Philosophy 75 (294):618-622 (2000)

Abstract
From flea bites to galaxies, from love affairs to shadows, Paul Feyerabend reveled in the sensory and intellectual abundance that surrounds us. He found it equally striking that human senses and human intelligence are able to take in only a fraction of these riches. "This a blessing, not a drawback," he writes. "A superconscious organism would not be superwise, it would be paralyzed." This human reduction of experience to a manageable level is the heart of _Conquest of Abundance_, the book on which Feyerabend was at work when he died in 1994. Prepared from drafts of the manuscript left at his death, working notes, and lectures and articles Feyerabend wrote while the larger work was in progress, _Conquest of Abundance_ offers up rich exploration and startling insights with the charm, lucidity, and sense of mischief that are his hallmarks. Feyerabend is fascinated by how we attempt to explain and predict the mysteries of the natural world, and he looks at the ways in which we abstract experience, explain anomalies, and reduce wonder to formulas and equations. Through his exploration of the positive and negative consequences of these efforts, Feyerabend reveals the "conquest of abundance" as an integral part of the history and character of Western civilization. "Paul Feyerabend... was the Norman Mailer of philosophy.... brilliant, brave, adventurous, original and quirky."—Richard Rorty, _New Republic_ "As much a smudged icon as a philosophical position holder, [Feyerabend] was alluring and erotic, a torch singer for philosophical anarchy."—Nancy Maull, _New York Times Book Review_ "[A] kind of final testament of Feyerabend's thought... Conquest of Abundance is as much the product of a brilliant, scintillating style as of an immense erudition and culture.... This book is as abundant and rich as the world it envisions."—Arkady Plotnitsky, _Chicago Tribune_
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Inevitability, Contingency, and Epistemic Humility.Ian James Kidd - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55:12-19.
Models and Perspectives on Stage: Remarks on Giere’s Scientific Perspectivism.Matthew J. Brown - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):213-220.
Feyerabend on Science and Education.Ian James Kidd - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 47 (3):407-422.

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