The Legacy of Paulus Empiricus. Philosophical Aspects of Origin, 20(2), 2023.

Paul K. Feyerabend was a sceptical master and iconoclast about the philosophy

of science. He denounced the break between the abstract, normative, philosophical

accounts of science and the actual, complex and context-dependent scientific

practice. Feyerabend’s first iconoclastic enterprise was directed against

philosophical empiricism: roughly, the view that what is to be believed is what experiences

establishes, and no more. In fact, Feyerabend’s line of attack is broad

and applies to any foundationalist epistemology. A naïve appeal to experience assumes

that what experience delivers is evident and unequivocal, and thus scientific

theories can be grounded on independently meaningful observations. To Feyerabend,

this view is at variance with actual scientific practice. Empiricism in the

form in which is theorised by some Logical Empiricists philosophers cannot fulfil

the hope of the progress of knowledge; on the contrary it is bound to lead to

“a dogmatic petrifaction” of theories and “the establishment of a rigid metaphysics”

Matteo+Motterlini,Letter to the Editors The Legacy of Paulus Empiricus


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