Jayesh 's Reviews > Against Method

Against Method by Paul Karl Feyerabend
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really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction

Captures the chaos and "law-less"-ness actually involved in science that most proponents and practitioners fail to realize and accept. For example, goes into heavy detail about how Galileo won wasn't because he came up with a theory and explanation that was strictly "better" than the previous one on all accounts. Rather it was because he was good at propaganda and inventing new tools, while also being willing to ignore any inconvenient data points.

As a researcher a lot of this rings true. How we actually do science and how we present it are completely different enterprises. There is no clear set of rules that make the method scientific. There is a lot of play and coffee involved. Even with empirical results there are a lot of degrees of freedom in how to interpret them.

Some parts of the book feel very dated, so much so that it's funny when you are almost agreeing with everything the author is bringing up and suddenly he starts talking about alternate medical systems like traditional Chinese medicine which can be even "better" than "Western medicine" that makes you question everything he said previously (good thing in my opinion). To be fair, in my copy Feyerabend accepted that some of the stuff should be taken as a product of its time in the 70s and since then with the change in time, we need to be more careful:

This was my opinion in 1970 when I wrote the first version of this essay. Times have changed. Considering some tendencies in US education ('politically correct', academic menus, etc.), in philosophy (postmodernism) and in the world at large I think that reason should now be given greater weight not because it is and always was fundamental but because it seems to be needed, in circumstances that occur rather frequently today (but may disappear tomorrow), it create a more humane approach.
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Reading Progress

March 25, 2019 – Shelved
March 25, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 1, 2020 – Started Reading
February 1, 2020 –
page 20
February 4, 2020 –
page 63
February 9, 2020 –
page 120
February 27, 2020 –
page 158
March 8, 2020 –
page 200
March 13, 2020 – Finished Reading
March 16, 2020 – Shelved as: non-fiction

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