“anarchistic” ideas. Jung asks if they had their origin in some special negative experience (of frustration or constraint). Feyerabend reiterates his basic experience of freedom and declares thathis motivation for dealing with science and philosophy was
, the active interest of someonewho plunges into a new activity and learns by immersion: “Interest. Like somebody who starts playing the piano” (p161). This emphasis on the positivity of his experience and of his motivescomes as a necessary corrective to the widespread conception that Feyerabend’s work is essentiallynegative. This is far from being the case, but unfortunately some of his terminology and his general provocative attitude have contributed to this misunderstanding.Feyerabend’s abandon of rationalism stems from a dissatisfaction with a certain type of rationalitywhch submits action to universal rules (here many would agree) or even, more liberally, to a set of conditional contextual rules (the
nec plus ultra
of most relativists and multiculturalists). He definesrationality as: A set of rules which you are supposed to follow, and which says: “If so then it will bethis and that”. (p162)In Deleuzian terms these rules (universal or contextual) are transcendent to the field that theyconstrain or regulate. What Feyerabend rejects is transcendent rationality and rules astranscendences imposing actions and hindering us in our research and in our life. To go back toFeyerabend’s conversion experience, von Weizsäcker did not abandon all argument. He refused toaccept Feyerabend’s abstract arguments and treated them as irrelevant to the historical process of invention and adjustment that characterised the development of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory. He argued historically, and not abstractly, allowing the methods to emerge in theimmanent field of research. Feyerabend remarks elsewhere (FAREWELL TO REASON, p317) thatthis attitude was not new, and constituted in effect a “return to Mach”.Indeed, we are confronted here with a case of “the negation of the negation” (Feyerabend wouldhave been comfortable with this formulation as he admitted to being a Hegelian, but of a specialsort: a pluralist Hegelian, or a Machian Hegelian). According to Feyerabend it is the rationalist whohave abandonned (immanent) reason and replaced it with an abstract phantasm that they callReason. So abandoning the phantasm of transcendence and returning to immanent reason looks likeyou are abandoning reason and defending irrationalism:“some thinkers, having been confused and shaken by the complexities of history, have said farewellto reason and replaced it by a caricature…they have continued calling this caricature reason (or Reason…to use my own terminology). Reason has been a great success among philosophers whodislike complexity and among politicians…It is a disaster for the rest, i.e. practically all of us. It istime we bid it farewell” (FAREWELL TO REASON, p17).So we must read “farewell to Reason” as in fact “farewell to the farewell to reason”, or “Helloreason, my old friend”.
3) THE ARROGANCE OF TRANSCENDENCE
Methodological Preamble: Deleuze remarked on several occasions that an important difference between Continental philosophy and anglophone analytic philosophy lay in their respectiveattitudes to the creation of concepts. Of course, Deleuze maintained that all good philosophy, bothcontinental and analytic, is creation of concepts. However, whereas Continental philosophy preferred to highlight this creation by giving familiar terms unfamiliar meanings or by inventingnew terms, Anglo-american philosophers would mask their conceptual creation behind ordinaryvocabulary as far as possible. Continental philosophy’s concepts are signposted in a very conceptualstyle, and run the risk of being more rigid. Anglo-American philosophy is less conceptual inappearance (but this is, according to Deleuze, a false impression) and more fluid, harder to naildown.[Aside: this is why translating a text from English into French can seem to "clarify" it. This is not because of any intrinsic superiority of Gallic vocabulary (
le mot juste
!) or syntax (plethoric