Darwin-L Message Log 7:11 (March 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.

<7:11>From Kim.Sterelny@vuw.ac.nz  Mon Mar  7 20:33:21 1994

Date: Tue, 8 Mar 1994 15:33:11 +1300
To: Darwin-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
From: Kim.Sterelny@vuw.ac.nz
Subject: Re: Paul Feyerabend dies in Geneva

Let me add a note of discord before Feyerabend sentimentality gets out of
hand. His early work in my view was powerful and interesting, contributing
to the dismantling of logical empiricism, and leaving the door open to a
more naturalistic and historically realistic conception of science. But
from Against Method on, his work instanciated little more than
self-indulgent relativism. It is healthy to fart in church, when the object
of that derision has undeserved prestige, or, even if deserved, is the
object of an uncritical veneration. It would be absurd to claim that that
is the status of the natural sciences in recent times. Many contributors to
the list have complained about the incurability of crank views, their
astounding prestige, and the utter ignorance of many of even elementary
natural sciences. Some of this crankery is harmless; much of it is not:
Creation Science, and New Age superstions of various stripes. Yet
sentimental and respectful noises are being made about someone who
advocated, as seriously as he advocated anything, chairs in astrology and
no doubt, in creation science or crystal medicine too.

Count me out.

Kim Sterelny
Victoria University of Wellington

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