Objectivity, abstraction, and the individual: The influence of Søren Kierkegaard on Paul Feyerabend

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1):125-134 (2011)
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This paper explores the influence of Søren Kierkegaard upon Paul Feyerabend by examining their common criticisms of totalising accounts of human nature. Both complained that philosophical and scientific theories of human nature which were methodologically committed to objectivity and abstraction failed to capture the richness of human experience. Kierkegaard and Feyerabend argued that philosophy and the science were threatening to become obstacles to human development by imposing abstract theories of human nature and reality which denied the complexities of both. In both cases, this took the form of asserting an ‘existential’ criterion for the assessment of philosophical and scientific theories. Kierkegaard also made remarks upon the inappropriateness of applying natural scientific methods to human beings which Feyerabend later expanded and developed in his criticisms of the inability of the ‘scientific worldview’ to accommodate the values necessary to a flourishing human life. I conclude by noting some differences between Kierkegaard and Feyerabend’s positions and by affirming the value of existential criticisms of scientific knowledge.Keywords: Feyerabend; Kierkegaard; Objectivity;ion; Human nature



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Ian James Kidd
Nottingham University

Citations of this work

Paul Feyerabend.John Preston - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Feyerabend on Science and Education.Ian James Kidd - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 47 (3):407-422.
Introduction: Reappraising Paul Feyerabend.Matthew J. Brown & Ian James Kidd - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 57:1-8.

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References found in this work

Against Method.Paul Feyerabend - 1975 - London: New Left Books.
Consolations for the Specialist1.Paul Feyerabend - 1970 - In Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.), Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge University Press. pp. 197.
Against Method.Mark Wilson - 1978 - Philosophical Review 87 (1):106.
More Letters by Paul Feyerabend to Thomas S. Kuhn on Proto-Structure.Paul Hoyningen-Huene - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (4):610-632.
Hegel and Prussianism.T. M. Knox - 1940 - Philosophy 15 (57):51 - 63.

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