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 Post subject: Intersubjective verifiability; Paul Feyerabend
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:40 am 
so many thots and so little time.

Was reading wikipedia on pseudoscience and encountered one of many ways to distinguish pseudoscience and science: Intersubjective verifiability. First time I've read about the idea. My impression is the term is offered to help us find truth. But it appears to me that it only achieves agreement between human beings (or, speculatively, any beings who can communicate). Such an achievement, it seems to me, falls a bit short of "truth".

But then i read the wikipedia page on Paul Feyerabend. Egads, i read some of my own recent, private musings about science there. Most strongly, that many of the innovations that we hail as monumental scientific achievements, and without which the current state of science would be significantly regressed, were accomplish by non-scientific means, particularly inspiration.

So, TFBW, welcome your thots on any of pseudoscience, Intersubjective verifiability, Feyerabend.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:57 am
Posts: 204
Location: Sydney, Australia
Ah, Feyerabend. You touch on a matter near and dear to my heart. I have yet to find a point on which I disagree with his philosophy of science. Perhaps that is because it can be expressed so simply: "there is no scientific method". Science, ultimately, is a matter of taste. All those who rant about "pseudoscience" on whatever basis -- usually failure to be falsifiable, in my experience -- are merely expressing their taste in the matter. "The scientific method" is whatever a collection of scientists agree upon at any given time to be an acceptable method for determining results. No one method is employed across the board, and most people are ultimately more impressed with some kind of utility in the outcome than the method itself.

There's a lot to be said on this subject -- too much, in fact. I haven't had the time to read "Against Method" in full yet, let alone wax lyrical about it. In short, my thoughts on philosophies of science other than Feyerabend's can be summed up as follows: they seek to exalt the field of science above other pursuits through philosophical validation. Feyerabend offers them no such glory: ironically, he offers them Darwinism for ideas -- a memetic battle for survival, not grounded in pristine rationality, but in human need and practicality. Science tracks "truth" only by coincidence, if at all: it actually homes in on a conflicting array of practical human needs.

If there is something in particular you want to ask, please do so. Otherwise, welcome to the Feyerabend fan club.

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