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Feyerabend’s Challenge – ‘Knowledge Without Foundations'

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Chapter Summary

Feyerabend's outlook at the time of Against Method is somewhere between Wittgenstein's instrumental theory of language and Sapir-Whorf 's conceptual determinism, naming his thesis the "contextual theory of meaning". In 1962, when Feyerabend introduces the theory, his super-realism makes his original use of the theory true to that of Wittgenstein, but when he cuts the ropes with realism, his untethered destination is more akin to that of Sapir-Whorf. Feyerabend is (again a standard tactic) playing on a weakness of logical positivism in order to defeat it. Feyerabend's view which emphasises the initially speculative quality of Einstein's theory is based upon the supposedly meagre empirical support enjoyed by that theory, and notably Feyerabend's assertion that Einstein's greatest qualities were somewhat against the historical evidence.

Keywords: Einstein's theory; Feyerabend; Sapir-Whorf; super-realism; Wittgenstein



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