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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index F > Paul K. Feyerabend Quotes

Paul K. Feyerabend
(13 Jan 1924 - 11 Feb 1994)

Austrian-American philosopher of science who became an American citizen in 1935, but spent parts of his his life in other countries, including England and New Zealand. He wrote about the philosophy of science in Against Method and Science in a Free Society.


Science Quotes by Paul K. Feyerabend (8 quotes)

Everywhere science is enriched by unscientific methods and unscientific results, ... the separation of science and non-science is not only artificial but also detrimental to the advancement of knowledge. If we want to understand nature, if we want to master our physical surroundings, then we must use all ideas, all methods, and not just a small selection of them.
— Paul K. Feyerabend
Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975), 305-6.
Science quotes on:  |  Idea (226)  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Nature (534)  |  Understanding (231)

Given any rule, however 'fundamental' or 'necessary' for science, there are always circumstances when it is advisable not only to ignore the rule, but to adopt its opposite. For example, there are circumstances when it is advisable to introduce, elaborate and defend ad hoc hypotheses, or hypotheses which contradict well-established and generally accepted experimental results, or hypotheses whose content is smaller than the content of the existing and empirically adequate alternative, or self-inconsistent hypotheses, and soon.
— Paul K. Feyerabend
Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975), 23-4.
Science quotes on:  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Scientific Method (101)

It is clear, then, that the idea of a fixed method, or of a fixed theory of rationality, rests on too naive a view of man and his social surroundings. To those who look at the rich material provided by history, and who are not intent on impoverishing it in order to please their lower instincts, their craving for intellectual security in the form of clarity, precision, 'objectivity', 'truth', it will become clear that there is only one principle that can be defended under all circumstances and in all stages of human development. It is the principle: anything goes.
— Paul K. Feyerabend
Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975), 27-8.
Science quotes on:  |  Hypothesis (150)  |  Objectivity (8)  |  Truth (450)

No theory ever agrees with all the facts in its domain, yet it is not always the theory that is to blame. Facts are constituted by older ideologies, and a clash between facts and theories may be proof of progress. It is also a first step in our attempt to find the principles implicit in familiar observational notions.
— Paul K. Feyerabend
Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975), 55.
Science quotes on:  |  Fact (325)  |  Theory (353)

Science is an essentially anarchic enterprise: theoretical anarchism is more humanitarian and more likely to encourage progress than its law-and-order alternatives.
— Paul K. Feyerabend
Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975), 9.
Science quotes on:  |  Progress (200)  |  Science (875)  |  Theory (353)

The only principle that does not inhibit progress is: anything goes.
— Paul K. Feyerabend
Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975), 23.
Science quotes on:  |  Progress (200)

The separation of state and church must be complemented by the separation of state and science, that most recent, most aggressive, and most dogmatic religious institution.
— Paul K. Feyerabend
Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975), 295.
Science quotes on:  |  Government (50)  |  Religion (120)

Unanimity of opinion may be fitting for a church, for the frightened or greedy victims of some (ancient, or modern) myth, or for the weak and willing followers of some tyrant. Variety of opinion is necessary for objective knowledge. And a method that encourages variety is also the only method that is comparable with a humanitarian outlook.
— Paul K. Feyerabend
Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge (1975), 46.
Science quotes on:  |  Knowledge (679)  |  Myth (24)  |  Scientific Method (101)  |  Unanimity (2)


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  • todayinsci icon 13 Jan - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Feyerabend's birth.

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Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
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Charles Babbage
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Euclid
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Bible
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Erwin Schrodinger
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Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
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Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
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Avicenna
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