For and Against Method: Including Lakatos's Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 1, 1999 - Science - 451 pages
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The work that helped to determine Paul Feyerabend's fame and notoriety, Against Method, stemmed from Imre Lakatos's challenge: "In 1970 Imre cornered me at a party. 'Paul,' he said, 'you have such strange ideas. Why don't you write them down? I shall write a reply, we publish the whole thing and I promise you—we shall have a lot of fun.' " Although Lakatos died before he could write his reply, For and Against Method reconstructs his original counter-arguments from lectures and correspondence previously unpublished in English, allowing us to enjoy the "fun" two of this century's most eminent philosophers had, matching their wits and ideas on the subject of the scientific method.

For and Against Method opens with an imaginary dialogue between Lakatos and Feyerabend, which Matteo Motterlini has constructed, based on their published works, to synthesize their positions and arguments. Part one presents the transcripts of the last lectures on method that Lakatos delivered. Part two, Feyerabend's response, consists of a previously published essay on anarchism, which began the attack on Lakatos's position that Feyerabend later continued in Against Method. The third and longest section consists of the correspondence Lakatos and Feyerabend exchanged on method and many other issues and ideas, as well as the events of their daily lives, between 1968 and Lakatos's death in 1974.

The delight Lakatos and Feyerabend took in philosophical debate, and the relish with which they sparred, come to life again in For and Against Method, making it essential and lively reading for anyone interested in these two fascinating and controversial thinkers and their immense contributions to philosophy of science.

"The writings in this volume are of considerable intellectual importance, and will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the development of the philosophical views of Lakatos and Feyerabend, or indeed with the development of philosophy of science in general during this crucial period."—Donald Gillies, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (on the Italian edition)

"A stimulating exchange of letters between two philosophical entertainers."—Tariq Ali, The Independent

Imre Lakatos (1922-1974) was professor of logic at the London School of Economics. He was the author of Proofs and Refutations and the two-volume Philosophical Papers. Paul Feyerabend (1924-1994) was educated in Europe and held numerous teaching posts throughout his career. Among his books are Against Method; Science in a Free Society; Farewell to Reason; and Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend, the last published by the University of Chicago Press.
 

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User Review  - Fledgist - LibraryThing

A classic text on the philosophy of science, improved by the addition of an imaginary debate by the editor. Along with the work of Kuhn and Popper, this is essential reading for the social scientist interested in theory and metatheory. Read full review

Contents

LECTURES ON SCIENTIFIC METHOD
19
THE DEMARCATION PROBLEM
20
THE THEOLOGICAL NATURE OF SCIENTIFIC STANDARDS
31
INDUCTIVISM AND ITS HISTORICAL MYTHS
40
COMPARING DEMARCATION CRITERIA VERIFICATIONISM AND CONVENTIONALISM
52
THE LIMITS OF CONVENTIONALISM
63
POPPER AND THE RULES OF THE GAME OF SCIENCE
64
FALSIFICATION AND INTELLECTUAL HONESTY
86
THE LAKATOSFEYERABEND CORRESPONDENCE 19681974
119
APPENDIX A ON REARING SCHOLARS Imre Lakatos
375
LETTERS TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY
382
THE INTELLECTUALS BETRAYAL OF REASON
393
LETTER TO His EDITORS
398
BIOGRAPHY
401
BIOGRAPHY
406
Bibliography
409

THE METHODOLOGY OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PROGRAMMES
96
Editors Note THE VALUE OF NOVELTY
109
THESES ON ANARCHISM
113

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About the author (1999)

Imre Lakatos (1922-1974) was professor of logic at the London School of Economics. He was the author of Proofs and Refutations and the two-volume Philosophical Papers. Paul Feyerabend (1924-1994) was educated in Europe and held numerous teaching posts throughout his career. Among his books are Against Method; Science in a Free Society; Farewell to Reason; and Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend, the last published by the University of Chicago Press.

Paul Feyerabend (1924-1994) was educated in Europe and held numerous teaching posts throughout his career. Among his books are Against Method; Science in a Free Society; Farewell to Reason; and Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend, the last published by the University of Chicago Press.

Matteo Motterlini is a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Trento and visiting assistant professor in social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. He is author of Imre Lakatos: Science, Mathematics, and History.

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