Darwin-L Message Log 7:4 (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.

<7:4>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Fri Mar  4 21:42:22 1994

Date: Fri, 04 Mar 1994 22:45:19 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Paul Feyerabend dies in Geneva
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

The _Chronicle of Higher Education_ reports this week that Paul Feyerabend,
noted philosopher of science and controversialist, died on February 11th in
Geneva.  Although Feyerabend's work did not often touch on the historical
sciences, he was one of several philosophers of science (along with Thomas
Kuhn and Stephen Toulmin) who in the 1960s and 1970s placed a new emphasis on
the historical character of science itself, and chided other philosophers for
ignoring the actual facts of scientific history.  I myself found Feyerabend's
book _Against Method_ an exceedingly encouraging and intellectually liberating
book when I read it as a graduate student, so I here pay homage to the late
professor with a quotation I am very fond of, and which ought to resonate in
the mind of anyone who studies the products of history:

  Science "is a complex and heterogeneous _historical process_ which contains
  vague and incoherent anticipations of future ideologies side by side with
  highly sophisticated theoretical systems and ancient and petrified forms of
  thought.  Some of its elements are available in the form of neatly written
  statements while others are sumberged and become known only by contrast, by
  comparison with new and unusual views."  (_Against Method_, second edition,
  1988, p. 111.)

Who shall take his place?

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

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