Feyerabend (1924-1994) was the preeminent antisystemic philosopher. His most famous work is the aptly titled Against Method. This posthumous work--half unfinished manuscript, half related essays compiled by Bert Terpstra with the help and support of Feyerabend's widow--attempts to understand how the scientific worldview gained its foothold and at what cost to experiential richness. Feyerabend is enthralled by the posited split between appearance and reality that exploded in the philosophies of Xenophanes, Parmenides and Plato and that was countered by Aristotle's insistence that specific practices involve specific virtues, divorced from any transcendent good. From that starting point he explores the scientific worldview--the reigning view of Western civilization--and articulates what he believes has been gained and lost by such a commitment to categorization and abstraction. Feyerabend's habit of repeatedly returning to key examples--heightened by textual overlaps between essays and unfinished manuscript--should draw readers into his idiosyncratic exploration of how knowledge is acquired and named, radically deepening their understanding of the issues at stake. Feyerabend displays a marvelous knack for bringing alive fully rounded views. The result is a first-rate and consistently pleasurable meditation on epistemology. 19 illustrations. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Best known for Against Method (1975), his critique of the philosophy of science, and for his autobiography, Killing Time, Feyerabend (1924-94) was working on this tentatively titled volume when he died of a brain tumor. Completed via Feyerabend's notes, letters, and lectures, it is a fascinating work. Feyerabend argues that humans have an innate desire to simplify reality into stereotypes and that since the Renaissance this has been done largely through the methods of science, resulting in the loss of a rich part of reality. Using examples from various disciplines, he argues persuasively that no one epistemology has priority over others. The ascendancy of science has been examined in greater detail--in Morris Berman's The Reenchantment of the World, for example--and Feyerabend does not carry his arguments as far as Berman. However, as an antidote to the claim that a particular epistemological paradigm is superior to others, Feyerabend's book warrants serious consideration. Recommended for all libraries.
-Terry C. Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.