Feyerabend, Pseudo-Dionysius, and the Ineffability of Reality

Philosophia 40 (2):365-377 (2012)

Authors
Ian James Kidd
Nottingham University
Abstract
This paper explores the influence of the fifth-century Christian Neoplatonist Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (Denys) on the twentieth-century philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend. I argue that the later Feyerabend took from Denys a metaphysical claim—the ‘doctrine of ineffability’—intended to support epistemic pluralism. The paper has five parts. Part one introduces Denys and Feyerabend’s common epistemological concern to deny the possibility of human knowledge of ultimate reality. Part two examines Denys’ arguments for the ‘ineffability’ of God as presented in On the Divine Names . Part three then explores how Feyerabend imported Denys’ account of divine ineffability into his own metaphysics to provide a novel argument for epistemic pluralism. Part four explains the significance of an appreciation of Dionyius’ influence for our understanding of Feyerabend. I conclude that Denys was a significant and neglected influence upon the later Feyerabend
Keywords Feyerabend  Pseudo-Dionysius  Pluralism  Realism  Ineffability  Humility
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-011-9322-9
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References found in this work BETA

Against Method.Paul Feyerabend - 1975 - London: New Left Books.

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Citations of this work BETA

Pliability and Resistance: Feyerabendian Insights Into Sophisticated Realism.Luca Tambolo - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):197-213.
The Abundant World: Paul Feyerabend's Metaphysics of Science.Matthew J. Brown - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 57:142-154.
Introduction: Reappraising Paul Feyerabend.Matthew J. Brown & Ian James Kidd - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 57:1-8.
Feyerabend's perspectivism.Ronald N. Giere - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 57:137-141.
Feyerabend on Politics, Education, and Scientific Culture.Ian James Kidd - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 57:121-128.

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