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The Tyranny of Science Paperback – 1 Apr 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; Tra edition (1 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745651909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745651903
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 438,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"The lectures are engaging, educative and entertaining – public lecturing at its best. Feyerabend offers an intriguing, entertaining and very original application of the history and philosophy of science to contemporary social, intellectual and public issues."
British Journal for the History of Science

"Each of the four lectures is excellent and interrelateswith the others. Feyerabend′s appealing and evocative entrances to scientific ideological claims permeate, and their lucidity will make identification and extraction of key concepts readily possible for scholars."
The Year′s Work in Cultural and Critical Theory

"Offers intrepid scholars much to go on (on the relationship between Wittgenstein and Feyerabend), as well as being an entertaining and vigorous philosophical exercise in itself."
Philosophical Investigations

"In this posthumously published book, the maverick philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend questions the dominance of abstract, theoretical, objectivist science over more human modes of thought."
New Scientist

"Stimulating, thought–provoking, and hugely entertaining."
Morning Star

"Its clear conversational style makes the book a useful introduction to Feyerabend′s thought."
Claremont Review of Books 

"Both the style of presentation, and the question and answer sessions, will make this book accessible to a popular readership. It will be met with enthusiasm by those with a prior engagement with Feyerabend s work."
Metascience

"Feyerabend is not attacking science but rather the ideology of science and the metaphysical pronouncements of philosophers and theoreticians. He makes an eloquent and imaginative plea for the importance of the diverse forms of knowledge embodied in the practicalities of everyday life."
David Bloor, University of Edinburgh

"The Tyranny of Science is no work of arid scholarship or technical philosophy. It is the work of a philosophical story–teller who recounts ′fairytales′ to situate the ideas he discusses. Feyerabend brings science and philosophy down from the heights of abstract theory to the ground of practice and experience which animates them."
Howard Sankey, University of Melbourne

From the Back Cover

Paul Feyerabend is one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century and his book Against Method is an international bestseller. In this new book he masterfully weaves together the main elements of his mature philosophy into a gripping tale: the story of the rise of rationalism in Ancient Greece that eventually led to the entrenchment of a mythical scientific worldview .

In this wide–ranging and accessible book Feyerabend challenges some modern myths about science, including the myth that science is successful . He argues that some very basic assumptions about science are simply false and that substantial parts of scientific ideology were created on the basis of superficial generalizations that led to absurd
misconceptions about the nature of human life. Far from solving the pressing problems of our age, such as war and poverty, scientific theorizing glorifies ephemeral generalities, at the cost of confronting
the real particulars that make life meaningful. Objectivity and generality are based on abstraction, and as such, they come at a high price. For abstraction drives a wedge between our thoughts and our
experience, resulting in the degeneration of both. Theoreticians, as opposed to practitioners, tend to impose a tyranny on the concepts they use, abstracting away from the subjective experience that makes
life meaningful. Feyerabend concludes by arguing that practical experience is a better guide to reality than any theory, by itself, ever could be, and he stresses that there is no tyranny that cannot be resisted, even if it is exerted with the best possible intentions.

Provocative and iconoclastic, The Tyranny of Science is one of Feyerabend s last books and one of his best. It will be widely read by everyone interested in the role that science has played, and continues to play, in the shaping of the modern world.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Many Beans VINE VOICE on 19 July 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a transcript of a series of lectures given towards the end of Paul Feyerabend's life, and at first I found it hard to get into. Quite often lectures don't make good books, and this felt a bit like being harangued by a really opinionated chap in a pub. But, I gave it a second go, and it's actually good stuff. The professor clearly knows his material, and has planned this well, so it does come together.

I can't do full justice to his overall thesis but it's along the lines that "science" isn't as logical or sound as it's presented to be - and he makes a good case. In keeping with his theme, Professor Feyerabend avoids the two valued logic that in essence he's pointing up as flawed - this can be unsettling, and I did feel I'd have like more structure - but I suspect that would conflict with the message. Ultimately is consistent and intelligent, if challenging: and definitely worth a read.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Based on series of 5 lectures, `The Tyranny of Science' challenges the rise of scientific world views. Readers are encouraged to be open-minded and independent in their own thoughts, and to challenge the scientific worldviews that are presented in everyday life. Feyerabend proposes that belief in one perspective as `the truth' will inevitably shut our minds off to other explanations of experiences. He goes further to say that some basic scientific assumptions are simply false, whilst some are based on superficial generalisations, leading to misconceptions.

This is a thought provoking book that is expertly written. Whilst you may not agree with the presented arguments, they are delivered well and challenge your views.

An interesting read for those who enjoy debates and deep thinking.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gerryg VINE VOICE on 10 May 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is described as attacking the "ideology" of science.

My review is framed in a strong commitment to the scientific method tinged with a sketicism that there is any evidence beyond mathematical symmetry for the idea that we live in a 10 dimensional universe (string theory) and that M-theory is anything more than yet more mathematics. Further M-theory has been "criticised" for lacking predictive power or being untestable - whch could sound suspiciously like being criticised for "making it up as you go along" but for the politeness of the scientific establishment.

And so to the book. It appears to be a collection of transcripts of lectures rather than a written narrative and accordingly I found it very difficult to follow the thread. However my overall impression is that it is inconsistent in its criticisms and weakened as a result. I suspect but cannot claim to know that he was some form of deconstructionalist (we all have our own realities and each is valid).

Whatever the scientific method is or shortcomings it has, the concept of experimental proof of hypotheses probably began (in the Western world anyway) with Bacon in the twelfth century. Citing Aristotle in an attack on science is a bad place to start. He was a great philosopher but I don't think you'd get very far in science by relying on anything he said (e.g., women having a different number of teeth to men, without ever feeling a need to look inside anyone's mouth and counting them).

The author strayed into some territory such as some suggesting that because the theories of planetary motion don't model the atmosphere this was some form of "science: in your face!
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Nadim Bakhshov VINE VOICE on 29 April 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
At last an antidote to the stupidity of scientism and its invidious variations. Yes, I do understand why science has tried to create its own cathedrals to secular reason, I entirely dislike the religious fundamentalisms but their manner of engagement falsifies science. And, to be honest, Dawkins is so philosophically naive it gets boring listening to him + his detractors.

Feyerabend, for those who don't know him wrote the marvelous Against Method which provoked an enormous debate with his close friend, Imre Lakatos over the concept of scientific methodology (see For and Against Method: Including Lakatos's Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence.

THis might sound like dry stuff but believe me it isn't. What defines science as opposed to, say, pure dogma? What defines scientific rationality? Or, broadly speaking, what defines reason? These are critical questions at the heart of making science the marvel it is. Forget the technology, it is this philosophical heart to the question of what defines the essence of science that needs a wider audience.

But, be wary. Feyerabend isn't out to get your agreement - let him provoke your thought.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Wylie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 May 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The problems of philosophy is the problem with philosophy. No matter what the subject, it will mean different things to different people; so there is no simple definition, approach or solution to problems which arise in most matters. It is no different with Science. Philosophy is the art of checking out an array of conflicting arguments and opinions, and travelling in never decreasing circles, in the vain hope of finding an always elusive, simple answer. This little book is most unlikely to provide answers for anyone in respect of Science, or, rather, the Sciences. It should, however, stimulate, entertain and, hopefully, help you to be more critical in your appraisal of the assumptions, the data and the extrapolated conclusions reached by modern scientists so that you might form your own considered opinions. As a Science fan, I personally think that, in the more extreme cases, a leap of faith at least as great as any demanded by religion is needed nowadays and, more and more, find myself repeatedly thinking about Andersen's tale of the Emperor's new clothes!
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