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Criticism of the notion of universal methodology in science

In contrast to existing belief that science follows a universal methodology Feyerabend


maintained there are no such rules universally used by the scientists.
o He says history of science shows there is not a single rule which has not been
violated.
o Further such violation is not just accidental but in many cases deliberate without
which science couldnt have progressed.
He says propaganda, interests, and brainwashing techniques play a far more important
role than it is supposed to in the growth of science.
o He says many scientific theories start as unclear, unreasonable, and with incoherent
parts and it is only in course of time gather evidence and argumentative support.
He even maintained uniformity in methodology puts restriction in scientific progress. And
that science needs a dose of theoretical anarchism.
o Gave instance of Copernican revolution as an instance where breaking of scientific
rules led to progress in science.
Criticism of consistency criterion. He points out that to insist that new theories be consistent
with old theories gives an unreasonable advantage to the older theory.
o He says scientists often insist on consistency criteria out of their cherished
prejudices.
Criticism of falsificationism. Feyerabend said no theory is ever consistent with all relevant
facts. Thus he rules out falsification, which states scientific theory should be rejected if they
do not agree with known facts.
Feyerabend's position implied philosophy of science can neither succeed in providing a
general description of science, nor in devising a method for differentiating products of
science from non-scientific entities like myths.
Criticism of sciences role as the preeminent means to knowledge.
Science has been separated from other domains of knowledge and given a logic of its own. A
thorough training in this logic conditions the practitioners of science. As a result their actions
become more uniform and the vicissitudes of history is often ignored.
He says one of the essential part of training of science is inhibiting intuitions, restraining
imagination, and ones metaphysical/religious beliefs.
Science thus is a conservative fashion builds a tradition. Feyerabend accepts that it is
possible that such a tradition might be successful. However he questions whether it is right
to support such a tradition to the exclusion of all other.
o Should we transfer to it sole rights for dealing in knowledge, so that any results
obtained by other methods are ruled out?
o And did scientists themselves always remain within the bounds of this tradition?
Why science should not have a preeminent position in the domain of knowledge
o Much is still left to be known so we shouldnt epistemologically restrict ourselves.
o Scientific education cannot be reconciled with humanitarian approach.
It curtails imagination, inhibits freedom of thought and tries to fit everyone
and everything with a fixed, universal framework of understanding.
Sciences dominant role curtails freedom of thought. And he says it is important to defend
freedom over truth as freedom brings happiness and freedom itself is the condition for
truth.
Asks for considering science at par with astrology, voodooism, etc.
Role of Science in the society
Science a repressing ideology. Feyerabend maintained that science is obsessed with its own
mythology and prone to show condescending attitude towards other disciplines. According
to him science often makes claim well beyond its true capacity.
o For instance, he said negative opinions about astrology or rain dance is not justified
by scientific research.
Separation of science from state.
o Like religion etc are separated from a secular state.
o All traditions having equal rights.
o Parents should determine the ideological context of childrens education rather
being forced to train them within the scientific viewpoint.
o Upheld the case for democratic control over science. Considering it to be necessary
to force science to focus its resources in areas in which is more essential to society.

In the 17
th
and 18
th
century science had libertarian consequences but in our present world
science itself is a tradition.
o Truth that reigns without checks and balances is a tyrant who must be overthrown
and any falsehood that can aid us in the overthrowing of this tyrant is to be
welcomed.
Says there was never a period of normal science as Kuhn proposes.
Response to criticism that abolishing the hierarchical view of knowledge will result in
reduced competency of science- Says that genuine science is a creative enterprise. When
people come to science out of free choice, having chosen science from a mix of various
other fields of rational and irrational knowledge then they will contribute much more.
Criticism
Comparison between science and religion do not seem to stand up. Faced with experimental
evidence in contrary scientist do eventually change their story unlike religion.
Some historians have questioned Feyerabends over use of Galileo examples to make his
case. Feyerabend has tried to show Galileo as a rebel scientist. But the historians have
argued that what he mean by scientific method was not at place during Galileos time it is
only after sophisticated scientific tools like telescope, etc were invented science as it is know
today developed. Hence Galileo as the rebel within science may not be a great example.
Scientist have accused F